Remodel or Move?
I regularly meet with many people who face the dilemma Joan and Joe had when trying to decide whether to remodel their current home or move to a new one. There are many factors to consider when making this decision.
When I first met Joan and Joe in January of 2018, it was to discuss the remodel potential of The Princeton Pearl.
They came to my office with pictures of their home along with a list of criteria they wanted to achieve and questions about what was possible. We discussed the remodeling that would be required, including what parts of the existing home they wanted to preserve or change, what the zoning ordinance would allow on their lot, what would be structurally feasible, and a general idea of what it would cost and how long it would take to do it all.
Often when people are considering their remodel or move options, budget is a major factor. Regarding budget, there are two considerations. . One of course is how much money you wanted to spend. The other is how much you “should” spend. You will pay a premium to do a custom remodel and the national average for breaking even on a major home renovation is 5-10 years. If you’re planning to stay in the home indefinitely, and the value of homes in your neighborhood can support significant financial investment, then resale value and overbuilding for the neighborhood are not major concerns.
Joan has since told me that after our initial meeting she realized that she didn’t have the stomach for the disruption that a remodel would cause to her life, so that’s when they started looking for another house within the neighborhood that would better meet their needs.
It’s a bit counterintuitive, but we have found over the years that people generally decide to remodel because of the things they can’t change about their current home. School district, access to shopping, commute time, unique features of their lot, and neighborhood quality of life all weigh heavily in the decision. If you love your location or something about your particular home, then remodeling makes sense. The additional benefit of remodeling is that anything you do change gets to be customized according to your preferences, so you really end up with the best of both worlds!
In Joan and Joe’s case, they essentially did just that. To stay in the location they loved they opted to remodel. They also happened to move, but only because a different house was better suited to the remodel they had in mind and this arrangement had the added benefit of giving them a place to live during the remodel.