Renovate Or Relocate? - March 2023
March 13, 2023 / Written by Rich Harvey
Decisions, decisions! There are multiple questions that need answering when you are considering your homeownership needs. Mostly, you want to be certain your residence ticks all the family’s boxes both for now and over the coming years.
But there will come a time when you outgrow your space. Expectations about the sort of lifestyle you want change as well. Your interests might alter, and you’ll need additional floor space or land area to accommodate those curiosities.
This all leads to a question asked time and again by homeowners – should I renovate the house I have, or relocate to another home?
Well, there are few things to weigh up before you can reach the right decisions.
The renovation equation
There are several benefits to renovating.
First and foremost is familiarity. You know your own home intimately. You know its quirks and attractions. You understand its faults and failings. Nobody knows your house as well as you and your family do. So, moving away from a “known quantity” to a new and unknown abode will feel risky.
You’re also well established in your location. The friendships formed and the local facilities utilised. You’re know where the good stuff is and what parts need to be avoided. Renovating to stay put seems like the answer to keeping “in” with your community.
The other big pro is that you get exactly the home you want. If you desire a larger outdoor area and bigger family room, that’s what you can create (within town planning guidelines of course). If you’ve had your eye on a certain brand of kitchen appliances and are drawn to the latest floor coverings and colour schemes, then a renovation can make that happen. You can finally get the house to look and feel just the way you imagined it.
Of course, renovation is not all wine and roses.
Renovations cost real money, and in times like now where inflation is driving rising building costs, construction work can be very expensive. Trying to get qualified trades in a timely manner has been challenging during the latest building boom.
It’s also very easy to overcapitalise. We tend justify outlaying extra dollars on our homes additions, but go too far and you will end up spending far more than you’re adding in value.
It also takes time to do a full renovation. You and your family need to be prepared for big disruptions. It’s not uncommon to be surrounded by half-built rooms and partially completed extensions for weeks on end. You might even need to move out for a while which adds to the stress and costs.
All these elements must be considered before you proceed.
The relocation attraction
Your second option is to forgo the highs and lows of construction, and simply secure a home that will meet your needs.
There are upsides to this approach. Most obvious is that you don’t need to deal with planning issues, contractor management and multiple decisions around fit out and finish. All that is taken care of.
Secondly, there’s virtually zero risk of overcapitalising. If you buy at market value, then that is what you pay. You don’t have to deal with high construction costs or justify spending extra for pool installation. All that is the previous owner’s problem.
Next – relocating is an instantaneous upgrade. You aren’t waiting for the construction period to be over to start enjoying all the features you want. Simply pack up, book a removalist and you’re on your way. As I mentioned above, most owners doing a build need to move out of their property for a period – and often this is extended due to building / weather delays. That means having to shift twice just to end up back in the same home once more.
There are some downsides to relocating too of course.
You may find it hard to get exactly what you want in your next home. You will probably need to make some compromises around either the position, location or the physical features of the property. You will also have someone else’s fit out rather than creating your own bespoke design.
The other downside is changeover costs. Buying a property involves stamp duty for a start. Then there’s professional fees and agents commission if you are selling your old home. Finally, there’s the opportunity cost of lost time spent researching, identifying and securing your new home. Hours, if not days, cumulatively devoted to the search.
Making the right decision
Deciding whether to renovate or relocate is ultimately a personal choice but it involves balancing myriad factors. The cost/benefit analysis required for making a smart choice can be complex.
If you want to ensure you are making the right move for you, then contact a professional. Buyers’ advocates are well placed to run the numbers and discuss the options. They can show you how to have the home you desire via the easiest possible path.
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