Photo by James Thompson

Update: With the current economic downturn, plenty of people are choosing to ride out the storm by staying put in their homes for the time being. With the property market in a slump, you may not receive the best price for your home and may even make a loss if you choose to sell right now. Conversely, the DIY home improvement market is booming! People are taking no chances and instead are investing wisely in the homes they already have. It’s an uncertain time for homeowners right now, and if you don’t know whether to remodel or move, here’s some advice to help you.

Remodeling, in a word, is fun — a lot of fun.

Remodeling can be very rewarding and enjoyable, especially a year after the work is done. It may not be a lot of fun while it is in progress, but a remodel can be a very satisfying experience. What makes all the pain, suffering and expense fun? The self-expression and control that you get when you undertake a remodeling project. To enjoy your remodeling project even more, you need to organize your goals, the project and the flood of paperwork that will be generated as the project progresses. The Complete Remodeling Workbook and Organizer will help you do just that.

You’ll get exactly the home you want

An advantage of remodeling is you most likely will end up with a home that more closely fits your needs than if you move. If you move, you will have to envision yourself living in one of five to 10 homes that best meet your requirements at the time you are house-hunting and it is unlikely that any one house is ideal. Each one will require you to make a variety of compromises such as the neighborhood, the yard, the floor plan; the list goes on and on. We can help you find a local prescreened architect who can help you design the homes of your dream.

You like the neighborhood and neighbors

Not all neighborhoods are created equal. Some have large mature trees, sidewalks, large front yards, and stately homes with well-kept yards. Other neighborhoods have few trees, cars parked in the front yards, and a highway behind the back fence. If you like the neighborhood you are in, then that is a powerful reason to stay and remodel and improve your home.

You can avoid buyer’s remorse

Remodeling a home is a lengthy process that requires months to complete. Almost everyone who remodels his or her home is happy with the results. They may not have enjoyed the process or the cost or may not have been satisfied with the contractor, but the result is most often what they wanted. This is because someone who is remodeling a home is only changing one thing: the house.

They are not changing the neighborhood, the yard or the schools – just the house. Contrast this with buying a new home and moving. Usually, a decision on which house to buy is made quickly, within hours or days. When the decision to buy a house is made, you have to make many compromises, including the location, size, yard, floor plan, and price. No home will meet all of your requirements perfectly. Making these important decisions quickly and under pressure frequently leads to buyer’s remorse.

Remodeling can be a good investment

If your home is medium to small for your neighborhood and is in need of improvements and your additions are appropriate in style and quality for the house, then remodeling could be a good investment. If you manage the costs well, it is very reasonable to expect that the value these improvements add to your home will be greater than the cost of the remodel. You can save on the cost to remodel and maximize your profit by finding the best contractor.

You like your yard

Many older homes are blessed with mature trees, a large lot and years of landscaping efforts. If you are fortunate enough to live in a home with a yard that you love, then it may be difficult to find a home with a yard that you like as much. As you look at homes that you may be interested in buying, don’t underestimate the cost and time required to take a yard that is no more than dirt and weeds and turn it into your dream garden. Large shade trees can take 10 to 20 years to grow from seedlings. Large mature shrubs can take three to 10 years to grow. If a yard is important to you, but your current home has a nicer yard than any of the houses you are considering buying, then a remodel may be the best solution.

Photo by Gerald Brazell

You like your location

You may now live in an older part of town that is close to your work, around the corner from downtown and has a view of the mountains in the distance. While you like the location, you have dreams of living in a new larger house with high ceilings, an expansive entry and a gourmet kitchen. A choice is to move to a new home that offers all of the styling and features you are looking for. But the new homes in your city are 10 miles away in the middle of a cornfield that was turned into a subdivision a few weeks earlier. With no schools, shopping or the other things you like nearby, the decision is difficult. You like the new house but not the location. In this case you can have the house of your dreams and the location you love by remodeling.

You like your home’s floor plan

How the rooms are positioned in a home — the floor plan — has a big impact on how you can use the rooms and how you feel about your home. If your current home has a floor plan that you like — a large kitchen with morning sun; an out-of-the-way spot where you can read a book without being interrupted; a perfect-sized bedrooms (small ones for the children or a den and a big one for you); a great place for a Christmas tree or a grand piano — it may be hard to replace these features when you move to a new house.