Friday 17 February 2012

Renovate or Relocate?

Purchasing an older house that requires it's fair share of updating projects could inevitably lead to this question.  It's easy to underestimate the depth and cost of renovations when initially purchasing a home, especially if it's your first time on the property ladder.  If after a few years, a few renovations and way more than a few thousand dollars there is still lots to be done, at what point should you consider whether you are going to love it or list it?

This is a dilemma that I have personally been wrestling with since we moved back from England and purchased our 3 bedroom bungalow nearly 8 years ago now.  While I can envision transforming each space into a designer showroom - adding skylights, high end finishes and beautiful landscaping  - the burning questions that run through my mind are:

1. Does this home have the potential to be all that we need (and want) it to be?
2. Will the hard work & money get us a decent return on our investment if we sell at a later date?

Now don't get me wrong, I understand that owning a home equates to ongoing maintenance and continuous decorating projects.  However, there are a few considerations to determine if those hard efforts are going to pay off in the long run and make it a functioning home for you and your family to create lasting memories in. 

Here is a short list I compiled while deliberating the issue for myself that you may find  helpful as a reference if you (or a client) is in a similar situation.

*Function - First and foremost you need a home that will function well for the purposes that you require.  Storage is a big issue for many of us, but choosing practical furnishings, multipurposing items and being well organised can help alleviate this problem.  If your still running out of space and putting on an addition is not an option, moving to a bigger home may be the solution. 

*Family & Friends-  For me, having friends and family close by is important so that we can gather frequently with little effort going into planning the time we spend together.   Also, because I do not have set working hours, having people I trust close by to watch the kids is very helpful and much appreciated.

*Amenities - Travel time to places such as work, recreational facilities, medical offices, restaurants and shops definitely impacts on your daily life.  Being close to these amenities can save time and make life that much easier.  However, you generally  get more bang for your buck if you are willing to move further out of the city limits.  

This is peaceful and dreamy to me

*Location, Location, Location - Be careful how much money you put into renovations because  all  neighbourhoods have a limit of how much houses will sell for, no matter how grand you make them.  Speaking to a Realtor for a free home evaluation and taking a look at comparables within the neighbourhood is a wise move before putting out the cash to rebuild your home.  

*Needs vs Wants - Ensuite bathrooms with double sinks, walk in closets, refridgerators with tv's and triple car garages - when going through your list of requirements be sure to prioritise what's a necessity and what's a luxury.  Once all that's been worked through if there's still money left over, then by all means indulge and shoot for the sky!     

*Costs - Be mindful of the costs involved when working through your pros and cons list for renovating or relocating.  Property taxes can vary depending on which area you live in and having a larger home will incur higher utility bills and require more furnishings.  Or if your an empty nester your house may be bigger than you require and downsizing could be the way to go.  

Either way, your home is the single biggest investment that you will ever make.  For this reason it's important to maintain and update it as and when you can afford to.  That way, if and when you decide to move you will have protected your investment wisely and helped retain its value.

If you are choosing to renovate and want advice for making your dreams for your home a reality, please contact me and I will be happy to help.  Alternatively, if you are looking to relocate and would like Home Staging advice, I can help with that too.  E-mail me:

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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