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Does Your House Need a Makeover?

Decide to Sell As-Is or Updated

The decision to update needs to be weighed against what you hope to accomplish.

So maybe your family size has changed or you have taken a new job in a new location, the decision to sell or update may involve deciding on whether to update or just get moved quickly. According to the U.S. Census, Homeowners nationwide will spend over $200 billion this year to either remodel or repair their homes.
The National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Council, Remodeling Index, says minor alterations are at $25,000 or below and major alterations above that amount.

So is it worth $25,000-plus to update or should you sell? There are reasons in favor of both. We should talk about updating first.

1. Your community is great, why move? For some homeowners
they already live in the best community for their family and
lifestyle. The schools are great, it’s near their worship center,
shopping and they are plugged in with neighbors and the
community. So instead of moving, it might be best to expand or
2. Sometimes, it’s just time to upgrade the house — even if
you’re planning on selling in the future. If you bought a home
with 15-year-old appliances and décor, it may be time to switch
them out, now that they are 20 or 25 years old. I always get
frustrated with homeowners who want to remodel right before
they move — they’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy the
house they’ve just remodeled. Upgrades may include flooring,
bathrooms, kitchen, exterior facelift, paint, curtains, furniture —
not just the house itself.
3. It might be cheaper than selling. If you’re needing more
space, the remodel may actually be cheaper than selling,
especially if you’re looking at finishing or remodeling the
basement. The basement remodel is the easiest and most
affordable remodel available to homeowners because the
exterior walls, plumbing and most electric may have already
been run throughout.
4. You’re a do-it-yourselfer. Okay, you love those Old House,
Fix-It or Nix-It, Saturday morning programs. Living in a
dust-ridden environment with tools and power cords strewn
throughout is your vision of heaven on earth. Go for it.
5. You’ll have to remodel the new house anyway. Most new homeowners spend upwards to 30 percent of the value of the
new house they just bought fixing it up the way they want — so
why move? Just spend that money where you are.

Now, there are just as many reasons to move instead of
1. The move could take less time and hassle. Depending on the
condition of your local market, you may be able to list, sell and
move in a shorter period of time than it would take to actually
remodel your current home. Time is a major factor in our busy
lives, and many times it would be quicker to just move.
2. Remodeling would disrupt your lifestyle more than you’re
willing to deal with. You have to hire a designer, then a
contractor, move furniture from one area to another in your
house, find storage for the rest, live with dust, workmen, etc.,
for several months and then HOPE you like what you get at the
end of it. Better to buy the house that’s already finished the way
you want it than betting on a finished product you’re not sure
3. You don’t want the hassle of dealing with contractors in case
they don’t get it right. The challenge for remodelers is that they
are being told by a remodeling-challenged homeowner what
they want and then try to create that environment. If the
homeowner doesn’t like it at the end — it’s very expensive to
change once it’s done.
4. Remodeling could cost more than moving. For some people,
to get what they really want, they would have to double their
mortgage anyway — so it might be better to check out what’s
available in new construction or even in a move up in the
community. Plus, builders in some markets are starting to offer
free upgrades — including rec rooms, decks, and other add-ons
that usually are the subject of a remodel job.
5. Finally, you’re family has enlarged. You just may need a
larger home because you have more children or your
parents/au pair/adult children have moved in with you.
When it’s time to remodel, speak with your real estate broker
before making your final decision, it might be in your best
interest to make that move instead of knocking down a wall.