By Joanne Richard, Special to QMI Agency
You can breathe new life into your drab and dreary house with an updated kitchen. (Courtesy of Cat Hackman; Room4Refinement.com)
Renovating is not for the faint of heart. But neither is moving.
Both require lots of thought, effort and due diligence, says Toronto design maven Jennifer Brouwer.
“I won’t sugarcoat it: renovating can be painful at times – but well worth it, too. Older homes were built better and you’ve likely acquired some equity. It may be more cost-effective to renovate and get what you want by investing in your current home.”
Few people are ever 100% satisfied even with a brand new home, as it costs money to finish it to their standards, says Brouwer, of Decor by Jennifer.
The bottom line: No home or space is perfect, and it’s not whether it’s new or old, it’s what works for you and your family.
“Sometimes moving is a quick fix but not necessarily better,” says design consultant Arlene Ladner.
New homes are farther out, [can] have smaller yards and sometimes bad design layouts, says Ladner, of Calgary’s Bronco Gray Design. “On the other hand, lots of people can’t live through a renovation or have the opportunity to move out during the renovations.” Plus, older homes can have “surprises” that blow budgets.
Homeowners need to weigh the pros and cons of moving versus renovating, keep an open mind and pick a home that best suits their family’s lifestyle, she says.
Ladner leans towards making the most of what you have: “By renovating, you can re-arrange your home’s configuration. Living in the home for several years gives you a chance to know what works and what doesn’t.”
While a flawed house set-up can cause some to feel confined and want to upsize, Ladner says that “with a few modifications, furniture choices and de-cluttering, you may actually enjoy living in the home.”
But sometimes families outgrow their space. “Best to evaluate what you do in your home, how you use it, what you want to do in it and then see if that is accomplished in either moving or renovating,” says Ladner. “Big doesn’t always mean better.”
Avoid costly mistakes by planning and researching, advises Brouwer. Figure out what kind of investment you’re willing to make, and establish the value or equity within your home: “No point in owning a million-dollar home on a $500,000 street.”
Get a quote on what it will cost to modify, and get your “musts,” not your “wants.”
Be sure to call in the reinforcements, including design professionals, says Brouwer. Various perspectives are invaluable, even if there’s a fee involved.
Whether renovating or moving, it costs! Brouwer sees a huge number of people who over-invest.
“When they move, they over-buy and can be stuck with an unfurnished or unaddressed house for years. With renos, I see so many homeowners trying to save or cut corners. They avoid hiring professionals who could have saved them thousands in the long run by helping plan it out.”
Meanwhile, if it’s more property you’re looking for, oftentimes moving is the only answer, adds Brouwer. But keep in mind, you don’t have to go big or go home when it comes to moving. “You must plan for the future and invest wisely.”
Before calling an agent or renovator, ponder these points:
• What’s the biggest reason I feel the need to move?
• Do I love my neighbourhood?
• Is my home spacious enough?
• Can I achieve my goals through renovating?
• Can I manage/survive a renovation?
• Will there be a return on my investment?
• Will I be able to afford finishing the new space?
– Courtesy of www.decorbyjennifer.com