Stay put and remodel or begin the search for a new home? It’s a common – and important – question that we receive from clients! The answer can depend on multiple factors; while it’s important to consider logistics like distance from work or family and friends, the homeowners who end up staying are typically happy with their neighborhood. They also see the long-term value of staying in their current home and building equity, whereas the homeowner who ends up leaving may have specific needs that can’t be met in the current house.
We spoke with Senior Project Developer Jennifer Norrington, CKD, to get advice for homeowners who are mulling over a move – she’ll help weigh the different options that are available.
How can a homeowner know whether it’s time to remodel or move?
“When you think of your 5-year plan, do you see yourself staying in the home?” Norrington said.
This can depend on a few different factors, like the ease of commute, distance from friends and family, or the potential to make adjustments for a growing family. If you’ve decided it could be a forever home, being located in a neighborhood that’s currently appreciating in value is also something to consider. And if your home’s value is appreciating, it’s worth staying – instead of overpaying for a new home, you’ll get ‘free money’ to remodel your home because there’s the potential to earn it back later on.
When does a home start depreciating, and how can remodeling help retain its value?
“If you’re living in a home that’s 25-30 years old, the value is likely starting to depreciate in some way, [whether that has to do with its design or function],” Norrington said.
Particularly for products that may be original to the home, like cabinets, countertops, and appliances, they’ll start to show age in quality and style. Swapping them out in a remodel will add on value instantly, for your everyday satisfaction of the space and resale value for future homebuyers.
Do you find that certain types of improvements encourage a homeowner to stay?
For some homeowners, it’s just a matter of pinpointing what needs to be improved and how it can be done. If they already love their neighborhood, it will come down to cost, convenience, and whether a remodeler can address these needs or they’re better served in another home.
“For the kitchen, [it could] be cosmetic or a full-on remodel. It’ll depend on the client’s needs. Walls may be able to come down as well.”
Norrington also highlighted the recent popularity of outdoor projects. “With people spending more time at home, outdoor living is becoming another “room”, essentially. We see a lot of three-season rooms, covered areas, screened-in porches, and fireplaces and pools.”
Do homeowners remodel more for size and function, or style?
Norrington acknowledges that it’s a combination, but lately, she’s seeing trends that favor basement and bathroom updates.
“Bathrooms typically break down first. But [even if they’re still functional], we’re seeing expectations change – an expanded footprint. People want more from them. [Style-wise] in the master suite, homeowners are swapping garden tubs for showers, but they’re also bringing back standalone tubs [that are more sleek and modern]”.
Norrington also mentioned the prevalence of basement remodels. “Homeowners care more about having entertainment, games, maybe a movie theatre type room at home. It’s very different from what people were asking for 10 years ago.”
General updates can include making a more open floor plan by removing the walls between the kitchen and living rooms, or repurposing an infrequently used space like the dining room to expand other areas of the home.
Would homeowners prefer to remodel instead of moving to a home that’s “move-in ready”?
“Not necessarily. Homeowners will stay because they like the convenience, the schools. Or maybe they feel a remodel is a better bang for their buck than moving, which oftentimes it is. On the flip side, a homeowner may consider moving if they’ve been wanting to leave their sub-division for a neighborhood, or if a different home just has everything they want,” Norrington said.
“Conversely, a pair of empty nesters may want to move. With the kids out of college, a house that had room for the whole family is now harder to maintain; they may be ready for a downsize [instead of a remodel].”
Anything else we should know about deciding whether to remodel or move?
“Ask yourself, do you feel that you can get a better deal [remodeling or moving], do you like where you live now, and what can you get out of moving or remodeling that you can’t get from your current home?”
We can help you answer these questions and more! Reach out today to schedule a call with a member of our team.