Renovate or Relocate? 3 Questions To Help You Decide

Should I renovate my current home or relocate?

Renovate or Relocate? That is the million dollar question. If you find yourself at a crossroads, contemplating whether to move to a new house or embark on a renovation journey for your current one, you’re not alone. Making this decision can be quite challenging, as it entails careful consideration of various factors, such as potential expenses, long-term financial impacts, and the overall improvement in your quality of life.

Undertaking a significant remodel is no small feat. From engaging contractors and choosing materials to diligently managing your budget, it demands a substantial investment of time and effort. And let’s not forget the hassle of enduring construction chaos or temporarily relocating to another dwelling.

On the other hand, moving is notoriously taxing. In fact, in one survey, 40% of respondents viewed buying a new home as ”the most stressful event in modern life.”1

So, should you renovate or relocate? Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors you should consider before you decide.

1. What is your motivation to renovate or relocate?

It’s possible that some of the limitations of your current home can be addressed if you renovate, but others may require a you to relocate to achieve your desired outcome.


Outdated kitchens and bathrooms are among the common issues that can be easily resolved through a remodel, and the transformative results can be truly remarkable. Often, a relatively minor renovation can bring about a substantial increase in your overall satisfaction with your home.

However, there are certain shortcomings that may present more complex challenges but are certainly worth exploring. If you find your home to be lacking in space or specific rooms, there are options to consider. For instance, you could explore the possibility of incorporating an additional bathroom, creating a dedicated home office, or maximizing the potential of an attic or basement by finishing them. In some cases, you might even have the opportunity to construct an accessory dwelling unit or an extension to cater to the needs of a multi-generational family.

In fact, many Americans have remodeled their homes to meet changing needs since the start of the pandemic. According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, 90% of their members reported increased demand for renovations starting in 2020, and 60% reported that the scale of remodeling projects has grown.2

However, the feasibility and cost of these larger changes will depend on factors ranging from zoning and permitting to your home’s current layout. Speaking with an architect or a contractor can help you make an informed decision. Let us refer you to one of our trusted partners to ensure you receive the best possible service.


Undeniably, there are situations where rebuilding your entire home would not suffice to address the underlying problem. Consider scenarios where relocation becomes the only viable solution. For instance, if you have recently changed jobs and are now burdened with a long and arduous commute, or if you find yourself needing to reside in closer proximity to an elderly family member, moving may be the most suitable course of action.

Conversely, if the shift to remote work has opened up your location options, you may wish to seize the opportunity to relocate to a new locale. A 2022 study found that nearly five million Americans had already moved since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased flexibility from remote work, and nearly 19 million more were planning to move in the near future for the same reasons.3

In certain cases, moving can be the optimal choice, even when you’re content with your current geographic location. If you desire a larger backyard or significantly more living space, a local move may be a sensible decision. Likewise, certain challenges, such as residing on a bustling street or being far away from essential amenities like grocery stores, cannot be effectively resolved through a renovation alone.

As experts in this field, we possess extensive knowledge and experience to assist you in assessing whether a different neighborhood might better cater to the needs and preferences of you and your family. We can provide valuable guidance in determining if a relocation would be a more suitable option.

2. Which Option Makes the Most Financial Sense?

Whether you choose to renovate or relocate, they both come with costs, and it’s wise to explore the financial implications of each choice before you move forward.


The costs of a renovation can vary widely, so it’s vital to get several estimates from contractors upfront to understand what it might take to achieve your dream home.

Be sure to consider all of the potential expenditures, from materials and permits to updates to your electrical and plumbing systems. It’s also prudent to add 10-20% to your total budget to account for unexpected issues.4 If you plan to DIY all or part of your renovation, don’t forget to factor in the value of your time.

Renovations can also come with hidden expenses. These might include:

  • Additional home insurance
  • Short-term rental or hotel if you need to move out during the renovation
  • Storage unit for possessions that need to be out of the way
  • Dining out, laundry service, and other essentials if you can’t access appliances at home

Remodeling choices can also impact the long-term value of your home. Some projects may increase your home’s value enough to outweigh your investment, while others could actually hurt your home’s resale potential.

For example, although you may enjoy the additional living space, garage conversions aren’t typically popular with buyers.5 Refinishing hardwood floors, on the other hand, brings an average return of 147% at resale.2 The specific impact of a renovation will depend on a number of factors, including the quality of work, choice of materials, and buyer preferences in your area. We can help you assess how a planned project is likely to affect the value of your home.


The cost of a new home, of course, will vary significantly depending on the features you’re seeking. However, you may find that it’s cheaper to move to a home that has everything you want than it is to make major changes to your existing one.

For example, adding a downstairs bedroom suite or opening up a closed floor plan could cost you more than it would to buy a home that already has those features. On the other hand, simpler changes and updates probably won’t outweigh the expense of a relocation.

If you’re considering a move, speak with a real estate agent early in the process. We can assess your current home’s value and estimate the price of a new home that meets your needs. This will help you set an appropriate budget and expectations.

It’s important to remember that the cost of buying a new home doesn’t end with the purchase price. You’ll also need to account for additional expenditures, including closing and moving costs and the fees involved with selling your current home. And don’t forget to compare current mortgage rates to your existing one to understand how a different rate could impact your monthly payment.

However, keep in mind that the interest rate on a mortgage is typically lower than the rate on other loan types—so you could pay less interest on a new home purchase than you would on remodel.6 We’re happy to refer you to a lending professional who can help you explore your financing options.

3. Which Option Will be the Least Disruptive to Your Life?

A final—but critical—consideration is the time and hassle involved with each option since both renovating and relocating involve a significant amount of each.


Don’t underestimate the time and effort involved in a large-scale renovation, even if you choose to hire a general contractor. You will still need to consider and make a number of decisions. For example, even a fairly basic kitchen remodel can involve a seemingly-endless selection of cabinets, tile, countertops, paint colors, fixtures, hardware, and appliances.

And don’t assume that you will get out of packing and unpacking if you stay in your current home. Most renovations—from kitchens to bathrooms to flooring replacement—require you to remove your belongings during the construction process.

The time frame for a remodel is another consideration. High demand for contractors and ongoing material shortages can mean a long wait to get started. And once the project is in progress, you can expect that it will take a couple of weeks to several months to complete.7

Contemplate whether you will be able to live in your home while it’s being renovated and how that would impact your routine. For example, being without a functional kitchen for months can be frustrating, inconvenient, and expensive (since you’ll need to purchase prepared food). Remember that delays are inevitable with construction, and consider what additional challenges they could present.


Of course, finding a new home and selling your current one also takes a significant amount of time and energy. According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2022 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the average buyer searched for 10 weeks and toured a median of five homes.8

However, in many cases, the timeline can still be shorter than a major renovation. Once you find a home that works for you, it typically takes between 30 and 60 days to close if you’re taking on a mortgage—and the process is even faster if you’re paying with cash.9 Plus, you can look for your dream home without the inconvenience of living in a construction zone.

However, a move comes with its own stress and disruptions. If you’re selling your current home, you’ll need to prep it for the market and keep it ready and available for showings. Once you’ve found a place, the packing and moving process takes time and work, as does settling into a new home—especially if it’s in a different neighborhood.

Fortunately, we are here to help make the moving process as easy as possible, if you choose to pursue that route. We can help you find a property that meets all your needs, sell your current one for top dollar, and refer you to some excellent moving companies that can help pack and transport your belongings.


Undoubtedly, the decision between whether you renovate your current home or relocate to another can be daunting. However, it’s important to recognize that this choice carries the potential to significantly enhance your overall quality of life.

With numerous factors to take into account, such as the potential impact of renovations on your home’s future resale value and the current market dynamics of your neighborhood, it’s natural to seek guidance. We are more than willing to lend a helping hand in navigating through your options. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation, where we can provide valuable insights tailored to your specific circumstances.