Photo by Diana Parkhouse

Update: Now more than ever, homeowners are being much more cautious about what they do with their properties. The housing market is not as secure as it once was, and people have to make sure their money is working as best it can. If this means moving to a different area for economic reasons, or if remodeling a home is not practical in terms of cost, then people are choosing to take the plunge and search for new homes. And of course, there are still all the usual reasons people choose to move home!

To make the best remodel-or-move decision, it is important to understand the reasons one alternative would be better than the other.  This article reviews common reasons to move. As you read each of these reasons, consider how much it applies to you and note how strongly you feel about it.

The size of your family has changed

Of the many reasons to move, having a current home that is the wrong size is the most common. Many young couples start out with a cozy two- or three-bedroom, 1,000-square foot home that suits their situation perfectly. The home has a master bedroom, a guest bedroom, and possibly a home office. A single living area with couches and an entertainment center provides the couple with ample space for the two of them and their visitors. As they start a family, the first child moves into the guest bedroom and toys take over the living area. The perfect house for two becomes too small for three or more. On the other side, there are couples who have a large house for a large family.  Once their children move away, the house becomes too large for their current lifestyle.

You want better schools

Unless your children attend private school, where you live usually dictates which school your children attend. This is great for building a sense of community in the neighborhood, as children can walk or bike to school together. A school nearby can also cut down on the travel time required to drop off or pick up your children.

Your commute

A common reason to move is the change of a job, be it out of state or in another community. If you want to have a shorter commute, then moving may be the only answer.

You don’t like remodeling

Photo by Carol Mitchell

Remodeling is not for everyone. No matter how it is accomplished, two things are unavoidable: the inconvenience and the decision-making. The inconvenience can be as little as not using your kitchen for a day while it is being painted, or as much as moving out for six months while some major work is done. For some, any inconvenience is too much, so a move may be the way to go.

You don’t like your neighborhood

Each neighborhood has its own characteristics. Some have big yards; some have small. Some are full of 1,000-square foot houses; some only have 3,000-square foot houses. Some neighborhoods have kids playing on the street all day long and friendly neighbors stopping by to chat every day. In other neighborhoods, people keep to themselves and rarely wave as they drive by each other on the way to work. If the neighborhood doesn’t meet your needs, a move may be the only solution.

A remodel is not possible or practical

You may not be able to remodel your house to make it what you want, due to cost or other reasons. If you want the kitchen in front and the family room facing south, but your home has the kitchen in back and the family room facing north, a remodel may be too expensive to be practical. Building codes can limit the type and size of additions as well as their appearance. Lot size and physical barriers can also limit remodeling possibilities.

Your yard

For many, the yard is an integral part of a house. A yard is land to call your own, a place to plant flowers or vegetables, or an expanse of grass that you take pride in keeping green and manicured all summer long.  The question is, how big of a yard do you want? There can be good reasons for wanting a smaller yard as well as a larger one. For other people, however, any yard is too much, and they would prefer a house without one.

Remodeling is too expensive

You can profit from an intelligent remodel, but in reality, some remodeling projects are not worth the investment or effort. For instance, adding extra bedrooms or a family may require major structural work, beyond what you have in your budget.

Your home is already the largest and nicest in the neighborhood

If you love your neighborhood and plan to stay in your home for years to come, it may not make a difference to you that remodeling will make it even more valuable than those around it. Otherwise, it may may not make financial sense to add additional value to the house through a remodel.

You will likely move in the next few years

If there were a wrong time to remodel, it would be right before you move. Don’t go through the expense and inconvenience of a major remodel if you plan to put the house up for sale the next month or the next year. Moving right after a remodel can be costly, unless you manage your remodel project very carefully to minimize the cost and maximize the market appeal of the work. Also, moving immediately takes away one of the biggest benefits of remodeling: enjoying the results. If you think you might be moving in the next 24 months, it may be better to move now than to remodel.