Should You Sell and Buy a New Home or Stay In and Remodel?

Lucas Smith
Friday, September 16th, 2022
By Lucas Smith

If you're a homeowner you might have been balancing the idea of whether to move to a bigger or nicer house or just stay in and remodel. This is a question we often find when talking to our clients.

In the real estate industry, there's this thing we call the HGTV effect: Mr. or Mrs. Homeowners feel like they want or need something in a new home. They list their home for sale with an agent and after months of not only looking for a home but keeping their home show ready and making it available for showings, they decide that they just “can't find anything as good or better" than what they have for what they can afford.

This scenario is frustrating for the agents, and frustrating for the clients who often feel as if they had better advice from the get-go they might have made a better decision.

In fact, more than once I've been in the unenviable position of telling a potential seller that they should stay in their home because that's what was in their best interest.

Before making a decision, there are a few things you should ask yourself and consider your options.

Ask yourself, why?

Why are you making this move? Is it to be closer to work? Closer to family? It will bring you an improved quality of life?

If your "why" is not strong enough, you will not end up making a move period! I have seen lots of people who wanted to move but didn't have a strong "why" and decided to stay in the same homes they said they wanted to sell for years.

Ask yourself, what?

What is it that you are trying to achieve with this move? Is it a nicer house, better area, bigger yard, better schools, more room for the kids? What is it that you are trying to accomplish, and can you accomplish it without making the move? i.e. more bedrooms can you add on, or a bigger better kitchen can you build, or work from home office space.

Shop your options

Look at the cost of doing the add-on or the remodel versus moving. Get some estimates from reliable contractors and be reasonable with your wants and needs. Remember, it's easy to spend big money on a remodel, and it's also possible to get what you want for a reasonable budget.

Look at your long-term needs

One of the most common mistakes I see people making when looking to make a move is they are buying a house for their short-term needs, and those needs will soon diminish. For instance, a family with five teenage girls has a bathroom shortage. However, when those teenage girls graduate high school and start going to college in a few years the pressure of the need for more bathroom space will not necessarily exist in 3-5 years.

Run your budget

Sticker shock is one of the largest deterrents in making a move to a larger or nicer home. Everything sounds all good and well until we factor in the costs of buying, moving, and the increased payment and tax bill that comes along with that larger nicer home. Heck, I have seen people not buy based on the tax difference alone so do your homework.

Bottom line

Before making the decision to make that move make sure that you know why you are moving. What do you want to accomplish and is it worth it? What are the costs of moving vs the costs of staying? Look at your long-term needs, run the numbers, and make sure that it makes good financial sense for you and your family.

So if you are in this position and are thinking about making this move, let's chat for a bit and have that conversation to maybe help you decide if this is the best thing for you. You call me with any questions you might have about this at (714) 406-1414.