Increase Your Square Footage By Moving or Renovating

RedBranch Realty
RedBranch Realty
Published on November 14, 2015

If your house is getting too small for your family you have two choices you can make, you can add on to your existing home, or you can move into a bigger one. Both options have their benefits and their drawbacks. Read on to find out some of the things you should consider before making your decision.

Think About Your Needs

Consider why you feel your home is too small, and then decide what your specific needs are. If your current home could meet those needs with a more efficient layout, then a renovation might be the better choice for you. Think about bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen, and shared areas. If you can add space by developing the basement or attic, then you may be able to make it work. Renovating works best if you really love the location of your house and your yard. If you don’t really care for the location, then you might prefer to move.

Don’t forget that if you are renovating, you may be limited in regards to what you can actually improve upon. Zoning and building laws can prevent you from making certain additions, and can even restrict the type of renovations you do inside your home. Once you look into your municipality’s regulations, you may find that an addition isn’t even a possibility.

If you do decide to move to a new home, be sure to make a list of all the things you love about your current home first. You don’t want to move to a new home that has everything you didn’t like about your old one but none of the things that made you buy it in the first place.

Don’t Stress

Whether you decide to renovate or move, you’ll likely encounter stressful situations. However, being well prepared and organized can help you avoid any and all potential pitfalls of the choice you make. If you decide to move, you will need to sell your current house and purchase a new one at the same time. Don’t loose focus on selling your home because you’re devoting to much time to finding a new one. Make sure its staged appropriately and everything is well maintained so you can keep up its appeal to potential buyers. Don’t let the Challenge of finding a new home impact your ability to sell your current one.

Ensuring that your sale and closing dates are compatible is another difficulty you might encounter. If your home sells before your new home is available, you will have to find a short-term place to live, and you may need to put your things in storage. This is not an issue if you foresee it as a possibility, talk to your friends and family and find a well located storage area just incase. If you purchase a house before your old one sells, you may need to carry two mortgages at the same time. If this is part of your plan, be sure that your bank is willing to offer you bridge financing before your make any firm decisions. If you’d rather avoid this just be sure you’re on top of your scheduling and keep an open line of communication with all parties involved to avoid any confusion.

If you decide to renovate, you’re not off the hook for obstacles either. Although you won’t be shaking up with your relatives, living in a house while it’s being renovated means workers will need scheduled access to your home. You’ll most likely want to be present for a fair amount of the work as well to make sure it meets your expectations. On top of that, the work being done will often cause a lot of dust and dirt in your home. To minimize this possibly discuss some ideas of daily clean up with you contractor. Also remember that some days you may have to go without power or water if they need to shut down services to do work. Finally consider unexpected expenses and potential delays in time. Projects almost always run over budget and over the estimated time frame. The numbers your contractor gives you is just an estimate so plan accordingly.

Financially Speaking

If you decide to renovate, decide how you will fund the work before you sign any contract. Again, remember that any number your contractor gives you is really just an estimate – the job is almost guaranteed to cost more in the end. You may not be able to resist picking out expensive fixtures when the time comes, or you might encounter unexpected areas behind your walls that need repair. Make sure you can afford both the cost of the work and have a large contingency fund.

You will also want to consider the resale value of your newly renovated home. If you are hoping to recoup even some of the cost of your renovation, ensure that you are not over-improving your home when compared to the other homes in your neighborhood, or even on your street. If your house has significantly more bedrooms or square footage than the others around it, you still won’t be able to sell it for significantly more money than your neighbors’ homes. You have a lot of money invested in your home so if renovating it really wont add to its resale value enough to validate its resale consider the move.

If you decide to move, make sure that you can afford the type of new home that you want. Be sure that you have a realistic idea of what your current home will sell for. You will need to be pre-approved by your bank for a mortgage before you put an offer in on a new home. Also remember that the size of house you can afford will vary drastically depending on the location you choose.

Another expense to consider when moving is the closing costs. Commissions paid to real estate agents, transfer taxes, lawyer’s fees (uncommon but possible), and title insurance are some of the usual closing costs.

When looking to increase your living space, remember that both moving and renovating can be good options. While both can be stressful, knowing exactly what your requirements are, planning everything carefully and not trying to do more than you can handle, will make your upgrade go as smoothly as possible.

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