Home Improving vs. Moving

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In this tough economic time, it’s important to make the most of what you already have. Because of the challenging real estate market, many people are choosing to remodel the home they have instead of trying to sell it and purchase a new home.

Advantages to Staying Put

If your home is located in a good neighborhood with nearby parks and decent schools for your kids, it may be an advantage to stay put, rather than moving to a different part of town. If your house is well-built and located on a lot that is big enough to allow for an addition, it would be a good candidate for remodeling. Deciding on strategic home improvement projects – rather than moving – can save a homeowner money that would otherwise have been spent on the expenses involved with selling one house, buying another one, and paying movers to relocate.

Adding Value

While adding value to your existing home will save you money in the long run, there are some important considerations before deciding on home improvement projects. First, take stock of the existing home and location. In what ways do the design and construction of your house lend itself to home additions or remodeling? Will the added value of a remodeled house fit with the neighborhood home values? Use wisdom in deciding how best to renovate certain parts of your home, since it would be a mistake to over-improve for the neighborhood.

It’s important to remember to balance what you’ll enjoy in a home improvement with what will give the home more monetary value. Installing a swimming pool in the back yard is risky, while remodeling outdated bathrooms is a winning home improvement. Renovating the kitchen, eating area, or master bedroom can add to your home’s future value. Replacing all the flooring in a house with flooring that is up to date is also a good move. Finishing or remodeling basements depends on the basement and the area of the country. Consult a local realtor for advice on what home improvements will add value to your home in this particular neighborhood.

Preparing for Home Renovation

Once the decision is made to remodel instead of move, a good contractor and architect should be located. If the architect is hired first, he or she may prefer to work with a particular building contractor. The success of a home remodeling project depends on the talent and skill of the professionals that are hired to do the designing and building, so choose carefully.

Spend time interviewing several architects to find the one who shares their vision for the remodeled house. The remodeling contractor should have references and good standing in building profession and the community. There should be firm estimates as to cost of the project and time line for work and job completion. Contracts protect the homeowner and spell out what the contractor will do, and at what cost, so there are no misunderstandings.


J. Steeple is writer, blogger, handyman, and homeowner. She wishes her garage was orange. Maybe someday.

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