Remodel or Move?

Remodel or Move?

Anyone who has tackled a remodeling project knows the feeling: what started out as a simple bathroom renovation becomes infinitely more complicated. Perhaps it’s something simple like an irreplaceable part. Perhaps the remodelers tells you the kitchen is in the same shape as the bathroom. Perhaps a decision to add on to the home now includes the county zoning board. Perhaps you’re pretty handy around the house and have decided you can handle the project, even though you’re expertise is confined to emergency repairs. Perhaps you think you can handle the project alone because you saw someone else do it on HGTV.

And then, in the midst of your messy remodel, someone shows you a house that already has everything you’re hoping to achieve in a remodel.

Dan Fritschen has created a Website that helps homeowners decide whether to
remodel or move.

“It’s well worth your time to pause and consider what your proposed project entails, and whether the commitment is worth the time, energy, and money you’ll end up pouring into it,” says Fritschen.

He’s come up with the Should I Remodel? Online Calculator which asks 15 pertinent questions ranging from personal preference to the hard numbers of your financial capabilities and compiles the answers.

But here are some entry questions that should be considered before undertaking the project.

Which are we more excited about: Hawaii or hardwood floors? If you pick hardwood floors, then by all means go ahead. This value clarification has shown how important the remodeling project is. Once the Hawaii vacation is but a memory, you’ll still come home to the outdated kitchen and cramped bedroom.

Are we remodeling to keep up with the Smiths? Not that there’s anything wrong with keeping up with the Smiths, but here’s a better question: can you calculate the increase in the value of the home post remodel.

Of course, some homeowners enjoy the remodeling process, shopping for tools, and know that when the project is completed, the house will have that one missing piece that makes it perfect. “If you really want to remodel because you love the design and remodeling process, then go ahead,” urges Fritschen.

But if it looks like the house is going to need a lot of renovation, then at some point the homeowners will be tempted to think about moving. However, the decision to move is also littered with potential land mines. But here’s the biggie: is the new house going to be the answer to your dreams, or does it too need improvements. If so, we may be trading one set of problems for another.

If nothing else, looking at other homes before you plunge in may give you better ideas about how to approach the remodeling job. You may come away with a totally new take on the remodeled kitchen by looking at someone else’s.

After seeing the alternatives, home owners can come away with a more realistic assessment of the problem, and maybe even a new appreciation of “home sweet home.”


  1. one
    Comment by Paul Foresman: Sep 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    This is a very relevant topic right now when home prices are so low. However, while you may be able to snatch a large discount on a nice home, it’s also hard to get a decent price when selling your current home. It’s definitely necessary to do some looking around to see what is out there and what you may be able to get for your home.

    Fritschen’s tool is a huge help. Thanks for sharing!

  2. two
    Comment by Peter: Sep 20, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Great topic and a good article! It might help some people to decide or at least will make them think before deciding to move.

  3. three
    Comment by Ricardo: Sep 21, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Great article; I al finding myself debating this very topic right now of renovation vs new home.

  4. four
    Comment by Leo@Accountant Salary: Sep 23, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    You also have to be careful about remodeling your house to way above the value of other houses in the neighborhood. Otherwise, you won’t get your money back. Of course, if you’re going to enjoy an addition for many years, then this value equation isn’t really necessary.

  5. five
    Comment by Tony@basement waterproofing new york: Oct 11, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    If your house id too old and various problems like cracks, leakage, mold etc you are facing than I think moving is the right option. Remodeling needs effort and you should consult experienced house inspector.

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