Decision Time: Renovate or Move?

We’ve spent a lot of time at home over the past 18 months, and in that time we’ve been able to discern what truly makes our homes feel homey while focusing on what matters most to us when it comes to our living situation. And for many of us, the question of whether to stay and renovate or move entirely has been top of mind. Of course, that’s a big decision to make with a variety of factors to consider, so let’s go over top considerations you don’t want to ignore.


According to the American Institute of Architects in their AIA Home Design Trends Survey, results for Q3 2021 showed that:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

Your current home may have some of these features, or none, which means deciding whether to renovate or move is step 1 in realizing your desires. Before even considering the data above, you want to start with answering three basic questions:

Am I in the right location?
Can this home make my life easier?
Is there enough space for all of our family as it grows?

If the answer is no to all these questions, then it’s simple, time to move! If the answer is yes to all these questions, we’re already leaning heavily toward renovating, but what are the costs associated with that?

Renovation Costs

Of course, pricing for any construction work varies by complexity, location, materials, and labor, but below are a few ballpark numbers we can work with.

Average cost of a minor kitchen remodel: $22,507
Average cost of a major kitchen remodel: $66,196
Average cost of a home addition (like a room/home office): Between $22,500 – $74,000
Average cost of outdoor living space: $7,670
Average cost of a mid-range bathroom remodel: $20,420

Now, if you’re looking to add a room, improve your kitchen space, remodel your bathroom, and spruce up an existing outdoor living area, that leaves you paying at LEAST $80,500, and that’s assuming no material cost fluctuation, supply chain issues, unexpected hiccups, or last-minute changes. If the plan is for this home to be your forever-home, and you’ve already built up some equity in the property, renovating will likely be the better choice for you.

However, if you’re unsure of whether you’ll be in the home long term, you’ll have to think again. In the grand scheme of things, $80,500 isn’t too much, considering the average cost of a home today is $271,300, but you can’t forget that the amount you spend on a renovation rarely translates to an equal amount in resale value. As mentioned above, construction prices vary by region, so be sure to speak to a property manager about pricing in your area.

Planning Ahead

Now, if you had mixed answers for the questions above (Am I in the right location? Can this home make my life easier? Is there enough space for all of our family as it grows?) then you’re going to have to give it a little more thought. If the location is right with regard to school districts, work commute, and family proximity, those are pros that are valuable to hold onto. But if the home isn’t big enough for a  growing family, you need to consider what kind of additions are necessary to make the home work. In the end, you may find that it’s easier and less expensive to find a larger home in the same neighborhood, without you having to go through the trouble of enduring construction on your property. 

The important thing is to ask all those questions, and to be sure you’re satisfied with the answers. You may also want to get guidance from a real estate agent. They can help you with an assessment of what your home’s value could be post renovation to help you decide on whether it’s an investment worth pursuing or not. 

We can help with that! We’re a full service brokerage with a deep understanding of the real estate market and its many complexities. We’re committed to helping individuals with their real estate needs, whatever they may be. Give us a call, and we’ll find out, together, whether you’re in need of a new home or a contractor recommendation!

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