Re-locate or Re-model?

By: Joe Pinto

We all realize that it is not the ideal time to try and list your home, but if you are buying in the same area, then your lowered house price will also be reflected when you buy your replacement house. Nothing is lost therefore - or is it?

Sometimes we can become aware of the fact that we really must move. Maybe the children are too big and we really need to move for that extra bedroom; perhaps there is a need for a bigger rec room, or an extra bathroom.

Many circumstances make house-moving come to mind, but have you worked out the cost of re-modeling as opposed to the cost of moving? When we think about moving, we often think of all the irksome things about our home, but we do not remember all the conveniences that might not be available in the next home.

What about the qualities you really like about this home? Even small things like the sun shining into your kitchen in the morning are priceless to some people.

One of the first things to consider is your 'gut feeling'. Do you want to move because you want to get away from something that is bugging you in that house? If so, think about including that in a re-modeling project (as long as it is not an irritating neighbor!)

Write down all the things that are missing in the house you are in, that you know you can afford to buy in the next house. For instance, a third bedroom is one reason you must move, and you would like a big yard. But have you checked the prices of three-bed roomed homes with a big yard in your area?

Cost is really the biggest factor that we all have to take into account. Obviously the comparative costs of moving versus re-modeling may play a part.

It is easy enough to calculate the cost of re-modeling, you simply ask a builder for a quote. (Use several builders.) If you are doing it yourself, then it will take longer to calculate everything you need to buy. Some hardware stores offer a quotation service. There are on line services for instance on the Home and Garden Web site, where you can pick out your kitchen or bathroom type, choose cabinets and colors of your choicer, one click and it all whizzes into place!.

So the cost of re-modeling seems straightforward, but what of the fact that by remodeling, you are also increasing the value of your house. Will you therefore deduct some of the value from your 'cost' of re-modeling? Statistics say that 80% of the renovating costs for a new kitchen or bathroom are re-couped in the sale price of the house.

There are also short cuts you can take to get your dream kitchen, like just ordering new cabinet doors and drawers instead of refitting the whole kitchen. These replacement doors come in various price ranges starting from inexpensive white laminate up to classy dark cherry wood.

The cost of moving is harder to calculate, as it contains many hidden costs. For instance all the small costs like a day off work to move, the cost of moving boxes, the paint costs to touch up the outside of the house and those extra shrubs you will buy to make the yard look good.

The larger expenses are easier to spot, for instance: the fee to the realtor, the difference between the cost price of selling your home and buying the new home, the closing fees and legal fees for both houses.

Then there is the actual cost of the physical move, will it be by a removal company or do you plan to do it yourself? Once in the new home, what of drapes and any extras that will be required.

Once all the figures are in, and you have done the math, you may find it easier to make a logical decision and you also feel better in knowing all the cost factors involved - so there will be no surprises.

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