What Makes The Most Sense, Home Remodeling or Moving?

Which Is Best Home Remodeling or Moving?

Historically, homeownership is one of the key aspects of the American Dream. In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, 9 in 10 Americans will achieve it in their lifetime. However, sometimes circumstances change, and what was once your dream house, can slowly become less and less perfect as you have kids, or when aging parents move in.

The notion of moving up - i.e. buying a home, living in it for a few years, or until circumstances change, and then selling it for a profit and buying a bigger place is one option. Of course, when the market crashed in 2008 and housing prices came down, homeowners looked for ways to stay in their home. Today, homeowners are wondering...”should I stay or should I go?”

Ask And Answer Some Key Questions

The first step is to sit down and really think about the pros and cons of remodeling versus moving. This is a big choice and both options have pros and cons. Often, changes in your situation drive your decision.

Here are some questions to consider:

• Is staying in the neighborhood really important? If you like the neighborhood, the schools and the commute to work, your choice becomes renovating or buying another in the same neighborhood. Are there properties available? Do they fit within your budget and meet your needs?

• Do you have the budget? In locations with affordable homes, it might make more sense to buy new. If the homes in your area are expensive, remodeling may be a better choice. If you've lived in your home for a number of years, you may have built up equity.

• Can you renovate without changing the existing floor plan? Sometimes finishing the basement by adding a bathroom and a couple of bedrooms may solve space issues. If you have a garage, turning it into an in-law apartment could meet your needs. Renovation can cost much less (almost 50% less) if you don't need to address structural elements.

• Will remodeling increase your home's value? Remodeling can increase your home's value, or at least offer a good return on your investment when you do sell. Bathrooms and kitchens, as well as adding bedrooms, can serve your needs and pay for themselves when it's time to sell.

• What are your long-term plans? There are times when buying a new home makes sense. For example, if your kids have left the nest and you're looking to downsize.

Relocating or Remodeling: The Pros and Cons

Answering these questions may have you closer to a decision. If you need some more information the pros and cons of relocating versus remodeling consider these factors:


Selling your home and searching for a new place can be a long, complex process. While the end result can be exciting, it can also be stressful and arduous if you don't approach it correctly.

• A new start in a new place.

• You've been through the process before so going through the paperwork, and purchasing process is easier the second time around.

• There may be tax advantages for selling your home thanks to the capital gains exemption.


• High Costs – Selling a home means paying a commission to your agent and other fees throughout the process. It's long, complicated and expensive. Then you have to find a new place and go through it all again!

• Moving – Moving is stressful and problematic. You start by sorting everything, throwing away items you won't need and trying to pack everything up, paying a mover and then unpacking in a new place, all in a short time frame. It's an added stress that can be overwhelming.

• Renovation – Unless you find a move in ready place, there will probably be added expenses and time spent painting, buying new furniture, carpeting, window treatments, lighting and more.


If you've lived in your home for any length of time, it may seem drab, but the good news is remodeling can create new spaces, functionality and create your ideal home. Often with a little creativity, you can find the space you need. Whether it's opening up the living space to create an open concept, finishing the basement to add a media room or converting the two car garage into an in-law apartment, remodeling is a great option.


• Remodeling Costs Less! - If you've lived in your home for a long time, you may have built significant equity which can be tapped to improve your existing space. Remodeling can be accomplished in stages. That means spreading costs over a longer period. A good design-build contractor can work with you to develop a remodeling plan that can be implemented in stages over time. For example, year one you can update the kitchen and remodel the master bath, year two, convert the garage into living space etc. Moreover, there are ways to save money on your renovations so you can get a great end product without spending a fortune.

• Personalize Your Home – Remodeling allows you to personalize your existing home to meet your changing needs. It may be difficult to find a home that exactly meets your needs. Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a new home and then update, when you can stay where you are and remodel over time to create your dream home!


There are few cons to remodeling. The primary one is if it's absolutely not possible. For example, adding an addition is prohibited due to zoning laws, or all of the usable space – garage, attic, basement – is already completed, then remodeling may not be a viable choice.

Construction can be disruptive and stressful. But if you work with a quality professional design-build firm, like Forward Design Build Remodel, they will work closely with you to minimize disruption. A good firm understands the stresses of renovation and can work with you to perform work around your schedule, keeping you aware of the process throughout your project.


So what's the best decision? It depends on your needs. Buying a new home is sometimes the only choice. However, remodeling is a great way to create a home that perfectly meets your needs. Whichever choice you make, make sure to look at all of the options in terms of financing and work with a professional design-build firm! They can walk you through the process, and deliver you the home of your dreams.

Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.