There are many factors that might motivate a person to take on the challenge of remodeling a home. Some homeowners may have a specific event that finally pushes them over the edge to remodel (such as the last child leaving for college), while others may just feel it is finally time to execute the dream.
In an effort to help you evaluate your home and circumstances, we offer five signs that it may be time to remodel.
1. You have issues with your house but you don’t want to move
Every home renovation client, no matter their circumstance, has some affection or affinity for the location of their home. They want a change of circumstance but not of location. Therefore, they decide to make their current house work for them with a remodeling project.
This “move versus remodel” debate is an important part of the process. How important is your current location in terms of convenience or family activities? Does your current home allow options that cannot be duplicated in another location? Does your house have the potential to give you what you want with a home remodel? Is it possible to achieve your goals considering your lot size and the zoning ordinances in your area? Is your budget somewhat in line with the work you need to do? Consulting with an architect will give you more insight to these questions.
You may also want to consult a real estate professional in this decision-making process. They can help you determine how much your house is worth before and after a potential remodel and can also give you a list of available properties in your given area. If you don’t find what you are looking for on the market, then that is another sign to stay and remodel.
The other option is to move and remodel. Sometimes a client will decide they don’t necessarily need to stay in their current house, but they can’t find the dream house on the market. So, they find a house that will be easier to remodel to fit their needs and remodel it before they move in. That is a bit of the hybrid answer to the remodel versus move dilemma, but it may be an option.
2. Your house is bursting at the seams
One of the most common signs that it is time to remodel is that your house doesn’t work for your family anymore. Additional children or taking in aging parents can suddenly make your house too small. These life-changing circumstances can cause you to need a bigger house, more bedrooms, or a mother-in-law suite. Remodeling is a viable solution to such circumstances.
A few years ago, we helped a family that was literally bumping into each other at meal times. The kitchen was much too small and their dining area directly off the kitchen was not big enough for a table with chairs for all of the family members. They had finally had enough and decided it was time to remodel. We remember them saying they couldn’t believe they lived in a sardine can for so long. Needless to say, they love the new remodel and addition.
3. Your house feels empty
The other extreme is when your house feels empty. There is a reason they call it an empty nest when the children grow up and move out. This may be a sign it is time to remodel and repurpose some of the existing space to better meet your new needs. Those empty bedrooms could become part of a larger gathering space for when the children come home or when the family expands with new spouses and grandchildren. Or, the remodel may reconfigure empty bedrooms to become part of the master suite you have always wanted but never had room for.
Sometimes a remodel for the empty house results in making the house more universally accessible so retirees can age in place. This consists of creating a main floor living design by locating the master suite and laundry room on the main floor. In this scenario, the upper and/or lower levels become auxiliary spaces for visiting guests and family members, but all daily living requirements are addressed on the main level for convenience of living and access.
4. Your house screams time warp
This one is simple: If your house is completely out of date, it is a sign it is time to remodel! This can go well beyond looks. Older homes were designed for a completely different lifestyle; if you want to live in the 21st century, your house needs to support that style of more open, casual living. Letting your house become too outdated clearly has a negative effect on your property value.
5. The infrastructure has issues
Sometimes remodeling comes from a place of necessity rather than want. If your house and its systems are constantly breaking down and house maintenance projects are consuming your life, that is also a sign it is time to remodel. When the infrastructure of your house has issues, consider remodeling while you are addressing projects that require opening walls and ceilings. Rusty plumbing, bad electrical wiring, issues with the foundation or the actual structure of the house demand attention and may lead you in to remodeling “while you are at it.”
Combining remodeling with significant infrastructure updates will actually save you money if you do both at the same time. It doesn’t make sense to rip into the walls that you are planning to tear down in a home remodel next year.
If you notice any of these signs with your house, then it may be time to set up a consultation with a residential architect and get the process started.
Ann Robinson and Annie V. Schwemmer are the principal architects and co-founders of a residential architectural firm focused on life-changing remodeling designs at RenovationDesignGroup.com. Send comments or questions to