Re­model or Re­lo­cate? Crit­i­cal Ques­tions to Con­sider

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - HOME & GARDEN SHOW - BY NWA HOME BUILDERS AS­SO­CI­A­TION

Home buy­ing and home re­mod­el­ing tele­vi­sion pro­grams aren’t just a fad; their en­dur­ing pop­u­lar­ity in­di­cates that they’re here to stay. If you’re among the grow­ing masses of ded­i­cated view­ers, you might be­gin (if you haven’t al­ready) to look around and no­tice some of your own home’s short com­ings. In­ad­e­quate stor­age, lim­ited cook­ing space or sim­ply an out­dated de­sign might con­jure thoughts of one day re­mod­el­ing your kitchen, bath­rooms or liv­ing spaces. Or in­stead, per­haps you’ll be­gin to con­sider mov­ing into a big­ger or newer home.

Whether you de­cide to re­model or re­lo­cate, your de­ci­sion will in­volve a great deal of lo­gis­tics, emo­tions and, of course, fi­nances. Thor­oughly weigh­ing the pros and cons of each op­tion now will help you feel more pre­pared to act when the time is right.

Start by ask­ing your­self these ques­tions:

1. What’s in the bud­get? The first step is the most ob­vi­ous: you’ll need to crunch some num­bers to de­ter­mine what is fi­nan­cially fea­si­ble. Re­mod­el­ing can be a great in­vest­ment and save you the has­sle of mov­ing. But it re­quires a great deal of pa­tience and flex­i­bil­ity. On the other hand, buy­ing a home can be in­stantly grat­i­fy­ing, but the true costs of buy­ing (and sell­ing) – such as com­mis­sions, clos­ing costs and mov­ing fees – need to be part of the equa­tion, as that is money you won’t get back.

2. Is it a sim­ple fix that you can do your­self? Or a big­ger project that will re­quire a pro­fes­sional? Some home own­ers are es­pe­cially handy and want to tackle the job them­selves. But most oth­ers like hav­ing the assurance of know­ing a pro­fes­sional – who has the nec­es­sary equip­ment, ex­per­tise and re­sources – will get the job done right the first time.

3. What is the cur­rent value of your home com­pared to sim­i­lar homes in your neigh­bor­hood? If your home is al­ready the most ex­pen­sive one in the neigh­bor­hood, you might not see a sig­nif­i­cant re­turn on your in­vest­ment if you re­model. But if com­pa­ra­ble home val­ues are greater than your home’s value, you’re much more likely to see a strong re­turn by mak­ing im­prove­ments.

4. How might your de­ci­sion im­pact your taxes? Re­mod­el­ing your cur­rent home or mov­ing to a new home will have an ef­fect on your prop­erty taxes. The change may or may not be sig­nif­i­cant, so it’s good to keep it in mind.

5. How might your needs change in the next 3, 5 or 10 years? A grow­ing fam­ily, kids go­ing off to col­lege, an ag­ing fam­ily mem­ber mov­ing in – all are ex­am­ples of fac­tors that can sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact your fu­ture re­quire­ments for a home.

6. Is the lay­out of your cur­rent home con­ducive to a re­model? All other con­sid­er­a­tions aside, if you have lim­ited op­tions to al­ter your home in a way that will ad­dress your needs (such as load-bear­ing walls that can’t be re­moved, or space con­straints that will not al­low for an ad­di­tion), you may need to con­sider mov­ing.

7. Are there any zon­ing re­stric­tions that would af­fect the re­mod­el­ing project(s) you en­vi­sion? These laws vary widely by area, so go to your lo­cal zon­ing of­fice and ask for a copy of your lo­cal or­di­nance.

8. How do you feel about your cur­rent neigh­bor­hood? Even if you changed every­thing about your home, there are many things out­side of your home over which you have no con­trol. Give some thought to the school dis­trict, prox­im­ity to work, parks and shop­ping cen­ters, and the over­all look and feel of the com­mu­nity.

The an­swers to these ques­tions are dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­one, which is why it is im­por­tant for you to care­fully con­sider each one while keep­ing in mind your unique sit­u­a­tion. This will help you ef­fec­tively de­ter­mine which step is right for you so that next year, you can be con­fi­dent in your home’s abil­ity to not only sur­vive the hol­i­days, but to also keep up with the de­mands of your ev­ery­day life.

For ad­di­tional re­sources on re­mod­el­ing your home or buy­ing a new home, visit for­con­sumers.

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