Brand Spotlight


Is it time to renovate or move?

Posted: 11:14 AM, Feb 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-12 13:29:52-05

One of the biggest decisions you can make is deciding where and how to live your life. Some people spend their whole lives in the same house, while others move as frequently as the needs of their family evolve.

When the time comes for you to make a change in your living situation, how will you decide what to do? Will you renovate or move out? Test yourself on the following criteria to help you make that big decision.

1. Neighborhood: Do you love where you live? If so, it might be hard to consider moving, even if it means going to a nicer or larger home. In such a case, it might be easier to renovate and skip the ordeal of selling, packing and uprooting. You'd be surprised how much of a difference a fresh coat of paint, new countertops and some updated appliances can make to a home that seems outdated.

If, however, your family has outgrown your home, you're unhappy with the quality of education in the area or you'd like to live in a neighborhood with nicer amenities, no amount of renovation will cure your complaints.

Rather than blindly pick a new neighborhood to move to, make sure you do some research when buying your next home. For instance, Neighborhood Scout ranked neighborhoods across the nation based on the quality of the public schools. You can also check up on neighborhood crime rates in the Milwaukee area by visiting the Milwaukee government website. There are similar websites for cities all over the country.

2. Qualities you love about your house: Are there qualities to your house that you won’t be able to replicate in a different house? These days, houses with property attached are becoming harder to come by. Odds are, if you move to a newer home, you'll have a smaller yard and the neighborhood may be further into the suburbs due to urban sprawl.

Other factors to consider include the design of your home or the maturity of its landscaping. A newer home may not have as established of trees or shrubbery and an older home may have more unknown issues to worry about. If there are things you don't love about your current home, though, you may be able to find a home that solves your problems without requiring you to live in a construction zone for weeks at a time.

3. Is your house a good candidate for a remodel: A big part of your decision to move or to remodel will depend on how good the bones are of your current home. The Equitable Bank suggests asking yourself these questions:

  • How old is your house?
  • Was it well built?
  • How’s the foundation?
  • Will remodeling one area require updates in other areas of the house?

Talking your answers to these questions through with a contractor will help you decide if remodeling would be a good choice for you.




4. Patience: How much do you have? Moving is stressful and requires organization and patience. Remodeling can be just as if not more stressful. Does the thought of your house torn apart or not being able to use areas of your house for extended periods of time sound like too much stress?

House Logic broke down how long some common renovation projects take and how much of an investment you'll be running into:

  • Refinishing hardwood floors: 2-14 days, $7 per square foot
  • Bathroom renovation: 2-3 weeks, $26,000
  • Total kitchen renovation: 8-12 weeks, $60,000
  • Kitchen upgrade: 1-2 weeks, $30,000
  • Asphalt roofing replacement: Up to one week, $7,600
  • Vinyl siding replacement: 1-2 weeks, $12,000

Of course, there's something to be said for the satisfaction you can feel in a renovation job well done. The question is, do you have the fortitude to see it through?

5. Budget: Consider all the costs associated with renovating and moving. Renovation costs can quickly grow. You need to consider the “what ifs” of each project and put money aside for the inevitable additional work that wasn’t planned for. You may need to live somewhere temporarily, depending on the scope of the renovation and you'll need to shop around for a contractor whose style fits your vision and budget. For a major remodel, you may consider drawing on a home equity loan to finance your projects.

Buying a new home has its costs, from realtor fees and moving fees to new furniture and decorating. There are also various service and installation fees when you start utilities or switch cable or satellite companies to a new address. Of course, there's also the issue of deciding how you'll afford a new house, and that will include taking into account the equity you have in your current home and any additional funds you have that could augment your deposit.

Whatever you decide, to renovate or to buy a new house, The Equitable Bank has financing to help you. For more information about home buying, building and remodeling or for today’s lowest mortgage rates go to