Feeling stuck between moving or improving? Your journey to your ideal living situation starts with the decision to buy a new home or renovate your current one. This decision is not just about moving to a new place or altering your existing space; it's about assessing your lifestyle needs, financial implications, and long-term objectives. We understand how important this decision is and how it can profoundly influence your quality of life and financial wellbeing.

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the decision-making process of buying a new home or renovating your existing one, exploring the reasons and advantages of each choice. We’ll provide you with a cost comparison and a decision-tree to ensure you’re well equipped with both options. We’ll address the strategic factors of remodeling before selling and provide you with the essential information to make the best decision for your life’s blueprint.

What You Will Learn 

Estimated Reading Time: 10 minutes

Identify Your Main Priorities

When contemplating the decision to buy a new home or renovate your existing one, it’s crucial to weigh your needs against what you want in a new space. This evaluation helps in understanding whether your current home can be adjusted to meet your needs, or if moving to a new home is the most feasible option.

Here are some probing questions to ask yourself to help clarify your goals and priorities:

  • What is my current home lacking? Identify the specific areas or features that your current home is missing. Start by taking a close look at your current living space. Consider the size, layout, location, and how it works for your life. This can be anything from needing more bedrooms to accommodate a growing family, to lacking a home office space for remote work. Can your current home be updated to meet your needs, or is it lacking fundamental elements that only a new home can provide?

  • What are my long-term plans? Consider how long you plan to stay in your home. If you’re thinking short-term, renovating might not be worth the investment. The substantial cost and effort of renovating may not provide the return on investment you seek. Short-term ownership typically doesn't allow enough time for home improvements to appreciate the full value or for you to enjoy the benefits of the renovation.

  • What are my non-negotiables? Determine the features and amenities you can’t live without. Start by assessing the basics, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, the size and layout of the kitchen, and the necessity of living spaces like a home office or a gym. Think about the importance of outdoor space, like a garden or patio, and whether garage or storage space is crucial for your belongings or activities.

Family Growth and Lifestyle Changes

After identifying your priorities, it’s important to also reflect on any lifestyle changes that could impact your living space requirements. For example, working from home may necessitate a dedicated office space, or new hobbies might require extra room for the activities. Similarly, retirement can lead to different needs, like fewer stairs or more leisure space. Considering these aspects is vital to ensure your home adapts to your evolving lifestyle and remains functional and comfortable.

Anticipating changes in family size is crucial when deciding between buying a new home or renovating your current one. An expanding family may require more bedrooms, bathrooms, or play areas, while a decrease in household size might make certain spaces unnecessary. Understanding how family growth and lifestyle changes affect your space needs is essential in making a housing decision that will serve you and your family well into the future.

Financial Circumstances

Navigating the financial landscape is a crucial step in the decision-making process of whether to buy a new home or renovate your existing one. It begins with a fundamental question: What is your budget? Understanding what you are comfortable spending and/or investing is paramount to making a decision that aligns with your financial reality and goals for the future.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Assess the equity in your current home: This is a vital component of this financial evaluation. Equity can be a significant source of funding for renovations or can contribute to the purchase of a new home, impacting your borrowing needs and financial planning.  
  • Exploring financing options: Whether you're considering a home equity loan, a line of credit for renovations, or securing a mortgage for a new home purchase, each option has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, and it's important to understand these in the context of your financial situation. 
  • ​Consider the long-term implications: Your choices have an impact on your financial health. For instance, the mortgage terms for a new home purchase can vary significantly from your current terms and may affect your long-term financial planning. Property taxes are another important factor to consider, as they can vary depending on the location and value of the property.

​Emotional Attachment

Reflecting on the memories and milestones you’ve experienced in your home can highlight the depth of your emotional attachment, making the decision deeply personal. This deep emotional bond can make the thought of leaving feel overwhelming, as each room echoes with laughter, tears, and growth. Think about your relationship with your neighborhood and community. The bonds formed with neighbors, the familiarity with local shops, parks, and schools, and the sense of belonging to a community can significantly impact your decision. If the thought of leaving these connections behind feels daunting, it could be a sign that renovating your current home to meet your changing needs might be the preferable option.

Change Can Be a Good Thing Too 

Embracing the possibility of a new home can be the start of an exciting chapter, offering fresh experiences and the chance to create new memories. While the idea of change can be daunting, it can also be a path to discovering unexplored joys and fulfilling unmet needs. As you weigh your options, consider how a new environment can provide the space and features that align with your evolving lifestyle, and remind you that sometimes, letting go of the familiar paves the way for something even better.

Benefits of Renovating Your Current Home

Renovating your current home may help you avoid the financial and emotional costs of moving. This includes movers' fees, real estate commissions, and the disruption to family life while allowing for personalization that enhances its value and better suits your needs. While renovations often increase home value, they should be carefully considered to ensure it’s a worthwhile pursuit. Keep reading to learn if renovating is the better choice for you!

Avoid the Hassle of Moving 

Choosing to renovate rather than move may lead to more savings and less disruption for your family. By opting to update your current home, you avoid the myriad costs associated with buying a new property, including movers' fees, real estate agent commissions, closing costs, and other often-overlooked expenses like packing materials, utility transfer fees, and potential short-term storage. Including the little things like updating your mailing address. These savings can be significant, making renovation a financially attractive option.

Staying put means your family can maintain its routine without the stress and upheaval of moving. Children can continue in the same schools, and daily life can proceed with minimal disruption. This stability is especially valuable in maintaining a sense of normalcy and security, allowing your family to focus on enjoying the improvements to your home rather than dealing with the chaos and adjustment period that often accompanies a move.

Increase The Value of Your Home 

Renovating your home has the potential to significantly increase its market value, especially when updates are made in key areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor living spaces. Modernizing outdated features, improving the home’s efficiency with new appliances and systems, and adding square footage through expansions are all improvements that may  yield a high return when it’s time to sell.

However, not all renovations guarantee a valuable return on investment. Scenarios where renovations may not be worth the time and cost include, over-improving beyond the neighborhood's standard or focusing on highly personalized projects that don’t appeal to the general market. It’s important to consider the overall condition of your home and the current housing market in your area before committing to major renovation projects. Balancing the cost of renovations with the potential increase in home value and marketability is crucial to ensure that your improvements are  both beneficial and financially sensible.

Familiarity & Emotional Attachment 

Homeowners often develop deep emotional ties to their residence, with each room and corner holding special memories of family milestones, celebrations, and everyday life. These emotional attachments can make the thought of leaving a home feel like parting with a piece of personal history. Renovating allows homeowners to preserve these sentimental values while updating their living spaces to meet current needs and preferences.

Ultimate Customization

Renovating your current home offers unparalleled creative control, allowing you to tailor every aspect of your living space to your specific tastes and needs. This ultimate personalization enables you to select materials, finishes, and layouts that perfectly align with your style, while also upgrading functionality and efficiency with modern features like smart home technology and sustainable resources. By choosing to renovate, you can transform your home into a personalized space that reflects your unique preferences and enhances your daily life, all while maintaining the cherished memories and connections of your existing environment.

Benefits of Moving to a New Home

Buying a new home can open the door to exciting features like modern design, personalization through Shea Homes Design Studio, warranty assurances, and community amenities. New home communities also can offer quick move-in options that are available for a quicker sale and move-in date than a typical new home construction. Keep reading to find out if moving to a new home is right for you.

You Don’t Need to Live Through Construction
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Renovating your home can mean living in a construction zone, with daily disruptions from noise, dust, and workers. Homeowners often need to make temporary accommodations, such as setting up a makeshift kitchen or working from a different location, which can lead to a strained living situation. Especially for those who have children, pets, or work from home, the constant activity and disturbance can significantly impact productivity and comfort.

Moving to a new home allows you to bypass the hassle of living through construction. While you may have to wait for construction of your new home, you can do so in the comfort of your existing living space. By the time you move in, your new home will be ready for you, just the way you like it.

Modern Design and Personalization Options

New homes offer modern layouts and features tailored to your current lifestyle and preferences. Whether you need more space, specific design elements like an open-plan living area, a home office, or energy-efficient appliances, new homes can provide a fresh start with the latest in architectural trends and home technology.

Shea Homes Design Studio takes personalization to the next level, allowing homeowners to tailor their new space to reflect their style and needs. With a wide range of design options, from flooring and cabinetry to lighting and paint colors, you can truly make your new house feel like home from the start. This personal touch ensures that your new living environment will not only meet your functional requirements but also echo your personal aesthetics and lifestyle preferences, creating a space that is uniquely yours.

Potential New Home Warranties 

One of the significant advantages of purchasing a new home is the inclusion of warranties that many builders offer. These warranties may cover the home's structural elements or its plumbing, electrical systems, and appliances, providing homeowners with some peace of mind against potential defects or issues. Unlike renovating an older home, where unexpected problems can surface leading to costly repairs, a new home warranty ensures that any covered issues will be addressed and resolved by the builder or warranty provider without additional expense to the homeowner.

Community Amenities

Living in a new home community designed with well-planned amenities offers numerous benefits, primarily fostering a sense of belonging and connection among residents. These communities are intentionally crafted to bring people together, creating vibrant, interactive environments where neighbors can meet, socialize, and engage in communal activities. The presence of shared spaces and facilities enhances the living experience, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle while adding a layer of convenience and enjoyment to daily life.

Some Shea Homes communities provide a range of amenities that may contribute significantly to the quality of life. These amenities may include clubhouses, fitness centers, swimming pools, parks, and walking trails. Additionally, some Shea communities offer event spaces, community gardens, and sports facilities, catering to a wide array of interests and activities. Having access to such comprehensive amenities within your community may enhance property values, as these features could be highly sought after by potential buyers.

Quick Move-In Homes 

Quick move-in homes offer a unique blend of convenience and flexibility for homebuyers. Quick move-in homes are often at or near completion, potentially reducing the waiting time that is typically associated with purchasing a new home. This advantage is particularly appealing for those who need to relocate quickly due to job changes, family needs, or other time-sensitive circumstances.

Depending on the construction stage of the quick move-in home, buyers may still have the opportunity to personalize aspects of their new residence. This personalization can include choices in finishes, colors, and fixtures, allowing homeowners to add their personal touch and feel a stronger connection to their new home.

Costs of Moving Vs. Costs of Renovating: Which is Financially Better for You?
Costs of Moving

Moving to a new home involves various costs that can add up quickly. Real estate commissions, closing costs, which include fees for the mortgage application, title search, and home appraisal, can account for an additional 3% to 7% of the purchase price.

The logistical costs of moving  like hiring movers, renting trucks, purchasing packing supplies, and potentially storing belongings can also contribute to the overall financial burden. Additionally, the time and effort involved in packing, organizing, and physically moving your belongings should not be underestimated, as these can add to the stress and indirect costs of the move.

Costs of Renovating

Renovating your home involves various costs and timelines, which can vary widely depending on the scale and complexity of the project. Upfront expenses include the cost of materials, labor, and design, which can accumulate quickly, especially for extensive remodels like kitchen or bathroom renovations. It's crucial to get detailed quotes from contractors to understand the full scope of these initial costs.

Permits and fees are another significant aspect of renovation costs. Depending on the nature of the work, you may need to obtain building permits from local authorities, which can add to the total cost and extend project timelines due to the approval process. These regulatory requirements ensure that the renovation meets local building codes and standards, which is essential for safety and compliance.

Unexpected overruns are common in renovation projects, often due to unforeseen issues like structural problems, outdated electrical systems, or plumbing challenges that are discovered during the work. It's wise to allocate an additional 10% to 20% of your budget for such contingencies to cover these unexpected expenses without severely impacting your financial planning.

Accommodation costs also need to be considered if the renovation requires you to temporarily move out of your home. Whether it's renting another property or staying in a hotel, these costs can be substantial, especially if the project encounters delay and extends beyond the original timeline.

Making Your Home Market-Ready: Is a Remodel Worth it?

Deciding to remodel before selling requires careful thought. It's essential to know what buyers in your area are looking for. Are updated kitchens and bathrooms, open floor plans, or sustainable features in high demand? Knowing these preferences can guide your decision on which, if any, renovations could make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

Assessing the current state of other homes on the market in your area is also important. If most available properties are updated and modern, investing in renovations may be necessary to compete effectively. Consulting a real estate expert can offer insights into the market and whether renovations could truly benefit you.

Find the Home of Your Dreams with Shea Homes

Shea Homes designs for a variety of needs and goals, so no matter the life you lead, you always feel at home. With Shea Homes, buyers can enjoy the advantages of modern layouts, personalized design choices through the Shea Homes Design Studio, and vibrant new home communities designed with well-being and connectivity in mind.

We encourage you to explore the offerings of Shea Homes to find the perfect fit for your lifestyle and financial goals. Whether you're looking for a community that brings people together with fantastic amenities or a home that you can tailor to your exact preferences, we’re here to help you find your forever home.

Discover a new community near you or contact a Shea Homes representative for more personalized advice and take the first step towards finding the home of your dreams.

Decision Tree: Renovate or Relocate – What's Best for You?

Navigating the decision between renovating your existing home or relocating to a new one can be complex. To help make the choice that best suits your needs, we've created a decision tree that considers various factors such as financial considerations, lifestyle preferences, and future goals. This tool will guide you through a series of questions and scenarios, helping you weigh the pros and cons of each option based on your specific circumstances.


Discover a new community near you or contact a Shea Homes representative for more personalized advice today!

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