Every homeowner will, at some point, find themselves facing the classic conundrum:
“Should I improve my existing home, or move to a new one?”
This is a debate that most of us will be familiar with, and there seems to be no easy answer. The choice that one family makes may not necessarily be the right choice for your family; there’s no guiding principle that you can default to if you can’t make a decision for your own reasons.
So, if you find yourself asking yourself the move/improve question, you’re going to need to ask yourself a few more questions to define the right answer for you. If you’re wondering which decision is right for you, asking yourself the following questions should produce the results that you need to make the next step on your home ownership journey…
Are you considering a change for a specific purpose?
This should be the key guide when considering whether to move and improve. If you’re looking for a change for the sake of a change, then your options are far more open. If, however, you’re looking to make a change for a specific purpose — for example, you’re expanding your family and need more space — then you will need to be stricter in your decision-making.
If you don’t have a specific purpose, you can let your heart influence the move/improve decision far more than you can if you are making the decision with a specific purpose in mind. The decision that you make has to meet the purpose that you’re trying to fulfill, otherwise it’s not really a concrete decision. Here’s an example of how this can play out.
You need more space for a growing family. You can extend your current home, but not by much, and — probably — not by enough to meet your needs. As a result, moving is likely to be the best option, regardless of how you feel about the idea. You literally can’t achieve your primary reason for considering the move/improve question by choosing to improve, so move becomes the winner by default.
However, if you just want something different and to experience a change in your home setting, you can do either, because you’re not limited by necessity.
If you could extend your home in this scenario, then you are back to square one in terms of decision-making. However, worry not, there’s plenty more questions to ask yourself to help make your choice…
Can you really face the house hunting process?
If it’s been awhile since you’ve moved, you might have forgotten just home time-consuming and dominant the house-hunting process can be. Sure, there are nice parts; exploring the potential houses on your radar, browsing for even more at BuyersCorner.com, and touring the properties on your shortlist to see if they’re a good fit for your family. However, the good parts of the house-hunting process can be overshadowed by the less enjoyable parts. The stress; the worry; the competition; the lack of options, and all the other issues you may experience.
It’s easy to forget just how all-consuming the house-hunting process can be, so you need to know how sure you really are that you can handle going through that again before you make the decision to move.
Can you handle the stress of renovations?
However, the above does not negate the fact that home renovations can be extremely challenging and difficult in and of themselves. Ultimately, you might have to ask yourself which you can handle more: the stress of house-hunting and moving, or the stress of renovations. Neither are particularly pleasant experiences, so you’ll need to scrutinize which idea you find the most off-putting.
Are you truly going to be happy with renovations?
You may find yourself so worried about the idea of moving that you find yourself opting to improve. This seems like a sensible decision; if you don’t want to move, then improving is the only choice you have left… isn’t it?
Not necessarily. It’s more than possible that if you make the decision to improve just because you don’t want to go through with the hassle of moving, you’re not actually solving the problem— you’re delaying it. It would be a real shame to go through extensive renovations and then realize that you still want to live somewhere different.
On the plus side, if you do improve and then find you still want to move, your house will likely be more valuable now that it’s freshly renovated. This, however, is a small upside compared to a substantial downside. If you’re going to make the decision to improve, you have to be confident the improvements are going to be enough, or you could just find yourself facing the same dilemma in a couple of years time.
Are there benefits to moving or improving, outside of the property itself?
If you live in a wonderful neighborhood that is close to your work, then improving is likely to be a better option for you.
If you dislike your current area, or want to move closer to family, then moving becomes a more viable option than improving.
It’s important to factor these issues in to your decision making process. Where we live isn’t just about the properties we occupy; it’s also influenced by the communities around us and how we are able to live our lives as part of those communities. While it’s tempting to make this kind of decision based solely on the actual property in question, considering additional elements such as the neighborhood and local area are also valuable when selecting the right choice for you.
It’s important to be clear that there’s really, genuinely, no “right” or “wrong” answer to be found here. The only answer that is truly right is the one that suits your family and your circumstances. Hopefully, having considered the answers to the questions above, the best course of action for your situation should be becoming clearer.