My husband and I became first-time homeowners of a slightly dilapidated 1,200 square foot bungalow in 2007. At the time, I was newly pregnant with our first child. Although this house was a major step up in space from our 700 square foot rental in Boston, we acquired a bathroom that was top to bottom mint green – toilet and all! With some elbow grease and paint brushes we cleaned every inch, painted walls and cheerfully called our little house home for two years.
Over time it became increasingly clear that this starter home needed several updates that we could no longer ignore. Yes, we could still manage with the mint green bathroom but the infrastructure was needing love too – our windows literally rattled when the wind blew. After a home energy assessment (which is free!) from MassSave, we realized our home had zero insulation and some lovely old knob and tube wiring to boot.
In order to make a well-informed decision about braving a home renovation or moving on, you need to look at both sides of the equation and ask yourself some vital questions. Many of these items cannot be measured monetarily but will help you weigh the pros and cons of whether to stay or go.
If you stay:
- Does the location work for you?
- Do you feel safe in your neighborhood?
- Would you raise your family in your neighborhood?
- Is parking an ongoing battle?
- Do you have shared laundry, private laundry, or laundry at all?
- How is the school system?
- How is your commute?
- Are there amenities you need close by?
- How much work needs to be done to update your homes electrical, plumbing, windows, etc?
- Will updating one room have a domino effect into other areas and are you prepared to handle that situation?
- Can you live in your house while renovating?
- Can you find short-term housing during a renovation if need be?
If you go:
- Will you be able to afford a bigger, more updated house in your chosen neighborhood or will you potentially be buying another fixer upper?
- What are the realtor fees associated with selling your house?
- What is the current market like? Is it a buyer or sellers market?
- Have you looked at a Comparable Market Analysis with a realtor to see how your house fits into the market?
- Are you willing to do any updates to your home to make it market-ready?
- What will the home staging costs be?
- How long are houses in your neighborhood typically on the market?
- Are you and your family able to keep your home show-ready at all times for potential buyers?
- Are you prepared to have two mortgages if you buy a new home before you sell your old one?
- Will you need to find short-term housing if you sell your home before you buy a new one or can you add a contingency to the sale?
- What are the average costs of moving companies in your area?
- Will you need professional assistance packing up your belongings?
Many of these items cannot be measured monetarily but will help you weigh the pros and cons of whether to stay or go. For my family, after doing the math and figuring out what was truly important to us, we decided to renovate. We were in our ideal location and the potential to renovate and make the space our own was exciting. If down the road we want to move, we felt the renovations would ultimately increase the property value. Drafty windows and outdated electrical would potentially lose us money and our mint green bathroom wasn’t going to help. It was a sound investment and easy decision to make.
We love our home and are very happy we braved the renovation process. Whether you decide to stay or go, we can help you get where you want to be. From move management to home staging to renovation management, we have all the details covered!