Home Selling in Seattle>Question Details

Lookingatsea…, Other/Just Looking in Seattle, WA

Should we renovate our house or sell it to buy a bigger home in the same area?

Asked by Lookingatseattle, Seattle, WA Tue Apr 2, 2013

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Hi Looking,
To be fair, as a group of people who get paid to help you sell and buy our advice may be biased. If you were to post this question on a home improvement site, you may see the opposite bias.
The main reasons I would recommend selling versus renovating is that I've seen so many of these that just turned out poorly. You can add a room or expand one room, but the other rooms, hallways etc are all still the same.
The costs of renovations are not just financial. You will be living in a construction site for an undetermined amount of time. This causes stress and discomfort for you and everyone going through it. Some folks just move out to get it done quicker and then you add the rent of your temporary location to the cost of construction. If you are doing your kitchen as part of the process, you'll be eating out more which while nice for a special occasion, gets old when it's every night.
One more factor is that by adding on you are not maximizing the current affordability gap, which is very favorable. Prices are starting to climb, but rates are still low. If prices go up 10% in the next year, a $300,000 house will be worth $330,000 but the home you may want to buy now at $400,000 will be worth $440,000 which means you are $10,000 further away than you are now. Add an interest rate jump to that and you could be pricing yourself out of the market.
Finally, few renovation projects return more than they cost. Cosmetic fix ups make a home marketable, but dropping $30,000 into a new kitchen may not get you $25,000 in a year.
All this said, it really depends on what you want out of the move or renovation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
It sounds like you love the neighborhood where you live but there are a few things you don't like about your house. Why do you want to renovate? Is the house stuck in the past? Will a few simple changes bring it up to date? Like new paint, resurfacing some of the flooring, cabinets, etc. then it is probably more cost effective to stay put and renovate. However, if you start talking additions to get more space, moving walls to make it more functional, etc. it might make more sense to move. Hire a real estate agent to educate you on the cost of selling and the cost of buying and then hire a general contractor and/or architect who specializes in remodels/renovations to get bids and then do the math to figure out what the best solution is.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
Thanks Kerstin (that's my cousins name!)
Flag Tue Apr 2, 2013
Such a very personal decision to make, it really all depends on the situation at hand.... how large is your lot, what will the zoning in your town allow you if you want to add, what is involved when thinking about renovating, just updating, new baths new kitchen, etc. etc.

If the home is too small as it is at this time, and you really will just renovate and update the existing
floor plan, but you really would want a bigger home, then you should probably look at two items
what will it cost to expand and upgrade the current home, and then compare to what the bigger home
will cost in your area, just depending on your market and whether you will find a home that you like
bigger and with the right floor plan and updated.... and then you know where your current home is
located, you still do not know where the bigger home will be...

you need to work with a local Realtor, who can first give you a written detailed market evaluation of
your current home, what you can list it for and what it will finally sell for, and deducting all your expenses, what the potential net to seller will be.
Then you know what finances you have to work with to look into the surrounding market for a larger
home that will fit your needs and your taste, and the Realtor will be able to provide you information
via e-mail and you can then also see some of these homes... Do not try to figure this out all by yourself. For upgrades to you own home, you may need several local builders to give you an estimate for the exact same things you will want to change, that number should also influence your final

Also it depends what you still owe the bank and for how much you can actually sell your current home.
Once you have all the insights, only then can you make an educated decision for your family.
If you need a recommendation of a good Realtor in your area in Seattle, let me know I gladly send
one your way.
Sincerely yours,
Edith YourRealtor4Life & Chicago and Northern Illinois Expert

Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients, Buyers, Sellers and Investors alike....
And always with a SMILE 
Covering for @Properties the city of Chicago, all N and NW suburbs, the fine homes on the
North Shore, and many of the W and SW suburbs, and with her trusted Partner Agents all of
the US and worldwide properties. Edith speaks French, German, some Spanish and other.....
@Properties ---- EdithSellsHomes@gmail.com
Check out my website at htttp://tinyurl.com/YourRealtor4Life
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
This is a difficult question to answer without knowing more information. First, if you love your house, your neighborhood, have great neighbors, and can envision staying there a long time, then you should seriously consider remodeling. That said, remodeling is usually more expensive than selling and buying a home which is more suitable to your needs. The question is; can you easily transition to a new home in the same neighborhood? Right now, the inventory of 'for sale' homes is at a 40-year low. It may be challenging to sell & buy simultaneously ---you could end up living in your car. However, waiting to buy means much higher prices in the future, higher interest rates, too. It's a tough call. My advice; consult with your trusted Realtor. Your Realtor knows you, and your situation, and he/she will have better advice than random agents on Trulia that don't know you. Good luck with your decision!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
If you're thinking about making it larger, then I would suggest to buy a new house. Generally increasing the size of a house ruins a house, but there are exceptions. If you are bound and determined to make the house larger, then hire an architect.

If it just needs updating, that may very well be the way to go. Just make sure you get the work done with permits that requires permits.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 2, 2013
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