Remodel or move?

<p>We've been in our house for just over 7 years now (it was a 3 year old spec home when we bought it, whose previous owners were building a new custom home) and I've always disliked the kitchen. It's just not very functional. I do not like the appliances, particularly the cooktop, oven and microwave. And is so often the case when you replace appliances, you have to replace the countertop and the cabinets. The cabinets look pretty from a distance, but to me they're not very functional and they're actually rather cheaply made. And if we get new cabinets in the kitchen, we're going to want to replace the matching built-ins in the adjoining family room. And while we're at it, extend the hardwood floors into the family room, too. So it turns into a big remodel.</p>

<p>We're not crazy about the rest of the house either, but can live with it. At what point do you say, hmmm, maybe we should just move? I'm having a realtor friend/neighbor come by later today to tell me at what price we might expect to sell our house. And a kitchen designer is also coming over this afternoon to look at the kitchen. Then at least I'll have some numbers to go on.</p>

<p>I just wondered what "remodeling vs. moving" experiences other people might have had.</p>

<p>We went through this several times. First time we had plans drawn, bids. Decided to not spend the money and live a bit longer with what we had with a few small changes. We lived with it for 7 more years during which my H refused to fix or put any money into the house since we would one day move or remodel.
About 13 yrs ago we started over. We put the house on the market. We looked at many houses. We did not see anything we loved plus we had no offers on our home. Decided to take our house off the market. That day we got an offer. Since we were having problems finding a house we liked we put in the counter offer that we had 45 days to rescind our acceptance of their offer if we did not find a replacement property. We looked and looked and finally came to the conclusion that while we found homes we liked they all needed something done. We were just trading one set of problems for another. We pulled out of the escrow. Had new plans drawn. In our case we came to the decision that it was cheaper to tear down the old house and build a new home for ground up.</p>

<p>I would suggest you look what is out there for sale in your price range and see if what you find is an improvement over what you have. My sister is presently redoing her living, kitchen and dining room. She has found getting multiple bids on each item to be the way to save money. The same cabinets by the same manufactors varied quite a bit between different cabinet shops.</p>

<p>Finding a house that you won't have to remodel is not always easy, though now is a good time to buy. The problem might be selling your house. It always costs to sell, buy and move, probably more than a new kitchen, so if the house is one that you would keep if it just weren't the kitchen, my advice would be to remodel it. That is an update that does increase marketability and price for future sales.</p>

<p>I'd love to sell our house, but the only way to do it would be with a structured deal, and I just don't have the stomach or brains to deal with one right now.</p>

<p>We've done several remodels and several moves. Remember that selling and purchasing a replacement home can easily cost 8-10%, of the sales price, which could go a long way towards paying for the remodel. I would advise remodeling if:</p>

<p>1) You like your neighborhood (and neighbors)
2) If, after your remodel, your house will still be consistent with the quality, size and amenities of the homes in your neighborhood. It usually doesn't pay to have the nicest, fanciest home in the neighborhood when it comes time to sell.
3) If you think your family life can handle the stress of remodeling, which can be quite disruptive.</p>

<p>It will be better for my family if we move. And there is a house for sale in the location where I want to live.</p>

<p>My wife and I looked at it yesterday.</p>

<p>It needs to be remodeled from head to toe. New roof, new floors, new kitchen, new baths, new deck, new siding...</p>

<p>It looked nicer in the pictures in the real estate web sites.</p>

<p>And the house is priced like most of the work is done.</p>

<p>And my house needs to be remodeled...</p>

<p>I told her...I don't want to remodel my house and then move to another house that needs to be remodeled.</p>

<p>Oregonianmom..I understand what you are going through.</p>

<p>I have done a lot of both, but I would not feel comfortable giving you an answer when I know so little.
Certainly, you will know far more after the realtor gives you a professional opinion. I think it unusual that a home only 7 yrs old has so many items you are unhappy with from the start.</p>

<p>Cpt is right it's a good time to buy, but the other side of the coin is it's a bad time to sell, particulary knowing you bought near an unusual high time in the market.
For now, you need to consider what you can realistically expect to sell this for, what a replacement would realistically cost you, and how long would you be willing to live as it is, and how long you'd stay if you spent thousands on a remodel. If you did all this on a 7 yr old home, and then 2 yrs later found yourself in the same position, you'd want to cry. So I'd add a #4 to dadx's list: Be sure that if you remodel you intend to stay in the home years afterward.</p>

<p>A friend going through this same gauntlet. Had house that needed updating and work. Husband gets dream job. Moves into a corporate apt while my friend, the corporate wife has to fix up house, sell it, find new house, move. Spends lots of time, money, effort to fix up house to sell. Sells house for far lower than expected due to market and wanting to get out soon. Finds that houses in new area need to be fixed up too. Buys house for more than intended. Is now living in a house that needs updating and work. All this for a net loss for last year and this one too. Sigh. That's life.</p>

<p>You might find the article about the cost benefits of remodeling in the current issue of Fine Homebuilding useful: Recovery</a> Remodeling - Fine Homebuilding Article</p>

<p>I think the list of questions in Post 4 is a useful starting place. Around here, remodeling is more often than not the way to go, but that may not be true where you are.</p>

<p>I had to bite the bullet and throw some money into this pit this year that I had hoped I could avoid. I, too, would love a kitchen mini remodel since it is arranged very awkwardly, but the idea of spending even more money in this house that is not going to be our permanent home rankles my sensibilities. We bought this house new and over priced with the hope that we would not need to do anything to it. It has held pretty much true, but now having hit the 10 year mark, we are finding things that need to be done.</p>

<p>When we bought our house 27 years ago- it was going to be a "starter" house.
However because of other expenses increasing and income staying the same/decreasing we are still here & have only done minor cosmetic changes ( but the bones are good ;) )</p>

<p>For me- staying small worked because I really like our neighborhood, our neighbors and our local community. The part of the city we live in- originally was a separate city when our house was built , with the amenities to support that.</p>

<p>It sounds that you wouldn't be happy without extensive remodeling- and assuming this is at a time in your lives when you project needing/wanting something different than you did 7 years ago- it may be in your best interests to find something else- although in some areas it might be better to rent than to buy.
Cheaper</a> to rent than buy homes in Seattle, Portland | | Seattle Area Local News</p>

<p>I was in this same position in 2008. We needed to do some remodeling to our home, including adding an additional bedroom and bath. Doing the remodel would not have priced us out of the market, our home was one of the smaller, older homes in the area. But although we loved the location and the neighborhood, we had one neighbor that we could not stand. My husband absolutely refused to spend a penny on the house as long as they lived across the street from us. Well they weren't going anywhere, so we finally did. I spent 9 months looking at houses and we finally found a house in a great neighborhood with a good layout for us. Unfortunately, it needed a lot of work. It didn't look too bad on the surface, but on closer inspection the bathroom cabinetry was low quality, the floors had severel cracked and mismatched replacement tiles and the bathrooms were not designed with functionalality in mind. But it had good bones, was well constructed, the roof in good shape, no major issues, so we bought it. We ended up replacing all the flooring, all the lighting, redoing all three bathrooms, the kitchen backsplash and replacing many of the appliances. Eventually we will remodel the kitchen also, but the cabinetry in there was very good quality and I couldn't justify the expense right away. When we do remodel the kitchen, we will be changing the layout somewhat, so it will require the purchase of new cabinet depth fridge and ovens. The plans are ready to go, just waiting for the money tree to bloom again, haha. </p>

<p>If I had it to do over again, I would do it in a heartbeat! Although I miss my old neighborhood, my husband is a lot happier not having to deal with our icky neighbor. And a happy husband makes for a happier wife. If the house you are in is not working for you, you can get out without taking a huge hit, and you can find an appropriate replacement, I say go for it! Remodeling a kitchen while living in the home is a nightmare. Did it once, won't be doing it again! </p>

<p>Best of luck to you!</p>

<p>Thanks for your input! To answer some of the questions raised:</p>

<p>1) We like our neighborhood and neighbors well-enough, but aren't compelled to stay here for any other reason except we already live here. Put it this way, if we didn't live here already, we wouldn't seek out this particular location.</p>

<p>2) After the remodel, our house would not be the nicest/most expensive house on the block (and that's a good thing). But it would be nicer than many of them. My neighbor across the street recently did a kitchen remodel and added HW floors to her family room. It turned out beautifully.</p>

<p>3) I think we could handle the stress of remodeling, although it would be very disruptive. Then again, so is moving.</p>

<p>4) Would we intend to stay here for years afterward, if we do remodel? Depends on H's job, but assuming he continues working where he's at, I don't see us moving away. My job is less of an issue. D is going to be a senior in HS and will be off to college in a year+, and S is already in college.</p>

<p>When we bought this house 7 years ago, we were downsizing from a larger, more expensive (too expensive) home. This one was never meant to be our permanent residence... we intended to stay here until the kids were out of the house and then... not sure what. Basically, that's what we're facing now. I feel like we're at a crossroads, and if we move, we would really need to move to someplace better/more special to make it worth our while - because selling a house and moving is very expensive! But I can't stand the thought of staying here for several more years with a kitchen that I dislike. Ideally I'd like to move to a completely different climate, but H says that's out of the question, job-wise, at least for now.</p>

<p>Cheaper to rent than buy? That seems odd. For us, we already have this house, with a very small mortgage, at a very low interest rate.</p>

<p>My sister went through this same question last year. What they did was get rid of the junk and do a major cleaning. Then they signed a short term contract with a realtor just to see what would happen. They were totally surprised that they got a good offer without having to do any updating. They had to act quickly to find another house, but in the end they were pleased and the fact that they could close quickly with the new house gave them some negotiating options. </p>

<p>My SIL did a major remodel a couple of years ago and says she would never go through that again. Because of the mess and because just about every change led to another and another.......</p>

<p>Get a rough estimate of the price of the remodel. Can you afford it? Will you like the house a LOT when you're done or just dislike things less?</p>

<p>Consider what your house would sell for. Don't forget to deduct all the commissions and moving expenses. </p>

<p>Check out the market where you would like to live. </p>

<p>Can you get the house you really want--whether it involves moving or remodeling--for a price you can afford?</p>

<p>My husband and I recently finished a major remodel--3 bathrooms and the kitchen--of a house we'd just bought. The first six months living in a new place were during a remodel. I couldn't be more thrilled. The house is ALMOST perfect. And it wouldn't be any fun if there were some things that needed a bit more work!</p>

<p>It sounds like a good idea to meet with a realtor to get an idea of how much you could get for your house. Next I would try some virtual and maybe actual househunting to see how a new house compares to your current one. We did a major kitchen renovation a few years ago. It took a very unpleasant 3 months, but we love the result. It was great to focus on that one project and finally get a kitchen I love. The difference is that I love my neighborhood and house and plan to live here for many years. I'm not sure if it would be worth it for a house and location I was unenthusiastic about.</p>

<p>Maybe you want the next move to be the last. So you might want to wait until H has a job change or retires. If renovating the kitchen makes it more marketable and you happier, it might be the better investment. You could go through the misery of trying to sell this house in this terrible market, and without the kitchen remodeled (and a remodeled kitchenare a definite draw), have to find another house, go through the expense of moving and maybe doing some remodeliing there, and then end up with your husband changing jobs and you having to move again! It seems to me, that it would be better to work with what you have now.</p>

<p>Well, now I'm even more confused. I had a kitchen designer/builder company here this afternoon to talk about what can be done. They did not give me a price yet (later this week) but it sounds like it is going to be much more expensive than I thought. It would be gorgeous, no doubt about it. For a price, anything is possible. Maybe I should scale back my thinking and just replace the appliances I don't like, add hardwoods to the family room, and call it good. It's not going to make me love this house, but it would make it more sale-able if we do decide to sell.</p>

<p>I'll wait and hear from my realtor friend. Also, I have another remodeler coming out on Friday to talk about a design.</p>

<p>And then it occurred to me that maybe H and I should consider building a house exactly what we want, instead of trying to turn this one into something we would be happy with.</p>

<p>That's one aspect of the tough choice I mentioned earlier..... if there are 10 things you don't like, so you fix 2, you still have 8 things you don't like.</p>

<p>^^ So true, younghoss.</p>