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Remodel Or Move: Which Is Best For You?

7-Minute Read
Published on January 8, 2021

You're looking for a change in your house. Maybe you'd like a more modernized kitchen or a few more bathrooms. The question then becomes whether it's better to sell the house and look for a new one or save it through a remodel.

We've got to let you know: Should you stay or should you go?

Here's the bad news: Every situation is different. It becomes a math problem. The good news is there's no algebra involved, so we've got that going for us.

Let's look at whether it makes sense to renovate or go out and look for a new home.

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Remodeling: Pros And Cons

There are several pros and cons of choosing to remodel your current home rather than moving into a new home.


Maybe you like where you live. The neighbors are great, the school district is good, there's a 7-Eleven across the street for when you want that Friday night Slurpee. There could be any number of reasons for wanting to stay put.

There's an absolute satisfaction in being able to build something with your bare hands as well. This isn't the case for everyone. If your home renovation capabilities are zero, any help would be necessary. Still, if you're handy and have the time, there's something to be said for enjoying the fruits of your labor.

When you take on a housing project, your current home can feel more like your own. For example, if you don't like the porch that the original owners put on your home, building a three-seasons room can instill a sense of pride and make you feel more connected to your space.

Finally, renovating can be much more affordable than moving. Although renovations, whether you do them yourself or hire a contractor, can be expensive, moving to a new home will involve expenses such as closing fees, moving costs, and more.


Remodeling your home can mean that your living space is significantly altered, meaning you'll have to change your lifestyle. For example, if you're used to cooking dinner or eating as a family every night and you choose to remodel your kitchen, you might not have access to your appliances for weeks or months at a time. Additionally, your living room might turn in to a storage area for a while, or your whole space might take on some dust for a while.

Additionally, renovations can add up. For example, if you plan to redo a few walls in your house, you might find faulty wiring back there. Or the cost of materials might unexpectedly go up. Your hired laborer can increase their rates, or things might end up taking them longer than anticipated.

As you replace outdated decor or systems, you might find that your renovations take longer to accomplish than initially planned. When you choose to do renovations, it is essential to remember your project's timing and cost and plan for additional time and costs.

Moving: Pros And Cons

Of course, there are benefits and drawbacks to moving as well. Here are a few things to consider:


When moving rather than remodeling, one of the most significant benefits is ensuring you have room for everything you want in your new home. For example, if you were planning to remodel your kitchen and dining room to create an open concept area, you will be able to purchase a home with an open concept kitchen and dining room. You will be able to start fresh in a space that is as modern as you want.

Financially, it may make more sense to move than to remodel. For example, if you put $50,000 of renovations into your $200,000 home, your property value may only increase by $10,000, depending on the renovations. However, if you purchase a $250,000 home, you may come out ahead financially by moving.


It is common for people to have an emotional attachment to their homes. For example, if you raised your children in your home, you might miss looking into your living room and thinking of your kids' first Christmas celebrated there.

Additionally, you may end up paying more overall to move than you would to relocate. There are several fees affiliated with relocating, including closing costs, real estate agent fees, and more. Be sure to crunch the numbers before making your decision.

How To Decide Whether To Remodel Or Move

It would be best if you considered several things before deciding whether to remodel your current home or move into a new one.

Determine the Scope

The first and perhaps most crucial step is to determine the scope of what you want to do with your home improvement project.

To get started, make a list of rooms you'd like to makeover and what you'd like to do in each one. You may also number these to set your priorities. Then you can start pricing out what you want to do.

Although each situation is different, you may be able to get a rough idea of how much you'll pay to redo any given room by taking a look at what others have paid.

As with any project, there's a range depending on how far you would want to take a remodel. A new toilet and a tile backsplash in the bathroom will be cheaper than a bathroom with a heated tile floor and a programmable shower system.

Other things that might drive up the cost include structural changes like moving a wall or rewiring. You should also factor in the physical cost of materials.

You should keep in mind that individual rooms just cost more to renovate than others. According to HomeAdvisor, some of the more expensive rooms to renovate include the master bathroom, kitchen, master bedroom, and basement. This is because these remodels often require both electrical and plumbing work along with any structural changes you want in your new layout.

After that, you can start adding things up.

Do The Math

Math is a beautiful thing. Once you know how much a project is going to cost, you can determine whether it will be cost-effective to remodel or if you should start looking for a new home.

The tipping point will be different for every person, but taking a look at the market around you might help. If it's going to cost you as much or more to do a remodel as it would to get a different house, you may want to move.


It's a pain to live in a house that's being remodeled. Depending on how long it takes, you could be without whole areas of your home for quite a long time. It can be woefully inconvenient. There's also the additional cost associated with deciding to live in an apartment or hotel until the work is completed. If you're going to do a big remodel, you want to make sure you're fully committed to it.

On the other hand, it's essential to consider that property values are on an uptick. You may be able to spend less on the remodel and get what you want rather than spending more money on a new or existing house. To get a feel for whether this applies in your case, look at property values in your neighborhood. Additionally, look at home values in the areas where you might be looking to move.

Don't Downplay The Emotional Weight

Deciding whether to move or remodel is a serious consideration. You may want to think about how you'll feel after making the decision and after either remodeling or moving. This can help you decide what you want, rather than what makes the most financial sense.

Assess Your Long-Term Goals

You should also think about your long-term goals and discuss them with your partner or other people who live with you. Think about what kind of home you want to live in, what kind of home you can afford, and where you plan to be in 5, 10, or even 20 years. Then, you'll be able to decide what best aligns with your goals and stage of life.

Research Your Local Real Estate Market

It is wise to research your local real estate market to determine whether it would be an excellent time to sell your home if you choose to move rather than renovate or if renovating would ultimately end up being the more financially sound option.

The Bottom Line

Deciding whether to move or remodel is a significant life decision. Both house hunting and remodeling can take significant time and funds, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons and discuss them with your financial advisor, partner and others. Bouncing your ideas off other people who live with you can help you weigh the emotional aspects involved in moving or remodeling.

Additionally, be sure to check out more information about remodeling, increasing your home's value, and moving via the Rocket Mortgage® Learning Center.

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Call our Home Loans Experts at (800) 251-9080 to begin your mortgage application, or apply online to review your loan options.

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