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Can’t Decide Between Moving and Renovating? Here Are Four Things to Consider

Author: Charles Simmons

If you’ve lived in your home for any number of years, you might be thinking that it’s time for some updates. It might also be time to move on, particularly if your kids are getting bigger or if the space no longer works for your family. But before you call your real estate agent, there are a few things to think about. Here are the top four.


We’ll start with money since that’s the most obvious. Chances are, whatever house you buy today will be comparatively more expensive than the one you are in now. CNBC explains that housing prices remain high throughout much of the US. However, low interest rates may offset the additional price you’ll pay but only if there is enough inventory for you to find a home that you like.

Staying in your own home is a cost-effective option, and if you have home equity, you have access to cash that can help you pay for upgrades. If you need a new outdoor area, for example, you could use your home’s equity to build a deck; your options are usually wood or composite, and you can research cost vs. value to ensure you’re making the right choice for your home type. For example, a wood deck costs around $14,360 and offers a return of 72.1% of your investment. When the interior is dated, a coat of paint and refinished floors can quickly transform the look of your interior. Keep in mind that refinishing is a bit more involved than simply re-coating the floors, so it’s more expensive but much less than buying a new house.


When you have kids – and even if you don’t – the local school system will likely play a major role in your decision to move or stay put. If you currently live in an under-performing zone and want your child to have access to the highest-quality education, your options are to move or to pay tuition at a private school.

You can get a better idea of neighborhoods that you’d like to live in by researching school systems. You should keep in mind, however, that you will likely pay a premium to live in a neighborhood with top-rated schools.


Many people do not consider their local zoning ordinances before moving or staying put. But if you are looking to make changes because of a special circumstance, such as to add a granny pod or other extra dwelling to your property, you’ll want to take a crash course in local regulations.

Investopedia explains that zoning ordinances direct how a property may be used. If you run a business from home, you’ll also need to talk to your agent about this, so they can help you avoid buying in an area that forbids commercial operations in a residential home.


Finally, pull out your traffic map and make comparisons to the house you want versus the house you are in. That new, larger home might be convenient, but a busy street can reduce your home’s value by five percent or more, which is significant considering that homes in Rossmoor have an average sale price of $1.4M. Money isn’t the only issue here, either, as noise pollution can impact your quality of life.

Think about how you spend your time. Do you spend your spring, summer, and fall evenings in the backyard? If your current home is secluded and quiet, do you want to miss out on your outdoor time? On the flip side, if you currently live on a busy street, it may be time to relocate further out into the suburbs.

There are many other factors that go into the decision on whether to renovate your home or to buy a new one. If you’re happy where you are and just need a few minor updates, staying put is the most logical option. But, if you need more space or a change of scenery, contact your real estate agent today to discuss what’s available in your price range.

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