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  1. Introduction
  2. How Do You Want to Live?
  3. Can Your Current Home Handle the Renovation?
  4. What Would Remodeling Cost?
  5. What Would Moving Cost?
  6. Other Considerations for Renovating vs. Moving
  7. The Bottom Line

In deciding whether to move or remodel, there are several other factors that might tip the scales. 

Future Moving Plans

If you aren’t happy with your home as it is now, but except to move within a few years, the easiest and least expensive option is to sit tight and wait it out. The reasons you may move? Perhaps you’ll be expanding your family, or changing jobs, or moving closer to an older parent who needs help. 

Moving twice in a short period is likely to be a waste of money (not to mention a major hassle), and a home remodel probably won’t pay off when you sell unless your home won’t sell at all without certain updates. If that’s the case, you may be better off waiting to remodel until just before the sale, then getting at least one real estate agent’s opinion on the most cost-effective improvements that will attract a buyer. 

To make your home more enjoyable in the meantime, consider less expensive ways of making it more beautiful and functional, like hiring a professional decorator or a professional organizer.

Social Networks

This tutorial has assumed that moving for a more functional home would mean staying within the same general area, not moving to another city. Still, moving to a new neighborhood, even if it’s just on the other end of town, could entail some significant changes. It could mean, for example, that your kids have to switch schools and make new friends. Or that you would see your current set of friends and neighbors less often. It also could mean a longer drive to your religious institution, volunteer organization, book club or other social activity you now do regularly, which might be inconvenient or cause you to attend less often. 

If you have well-established social networks in your current location that you want to maintain, remodeling might be a better choice, even if it costs more or can’t give you exactly the home you want.

Emotional Attachments

A home that you’ve lived in for years can have lots of memories that you don’t want to part with: that swing set in the back yard where you played with your kids in the evenings, the threshold your husband carried you over after you got married, the dining room where you hosted your mother’s 70th birthday party with a lifetime’s worth of friends and family. You may not want to leave these memories behind at any cost, in which case remodeling might be a better choice than moving. 

If memories are the only thing weighing your decision toward remodeling, however, and moving is really a better option, think about ways you might preserve your memories without having to stay in your house. Impractical though it might be if your children are grown, you could take the swing set to your new home – maybe there will be grandkids to enjoy it someday. And photos of your mother’s birthday probably bring back more memories than simply standing in your dining room does.


Whether you choose to move or remodel, it’s going to cause a major upheaval. But given your personality and lifestyle, one choice might be less disruptive than the other. 

Living in a construction zone might be completely unappealing if you have young children or pets who will be disturbed or possibly harmed by the noise, debris and discombobulation. There’s also the time involved. Remodeling means developing a remodeling plan; vetting and selecting numerous professionals to do the work; shopping for furnishings, finishes and fixtures; dealing with unforeseen but inevitable problems and cost increases; and living in a construction zone for weeks or months. 

Moving means getting your home into saleable condition (which might feel like almost as much work as remodeling), trying to keep it in that condition while you still live there so it’s ready for showings, leaving the house every time a potential buyer wants to view it, shopping for a new home and probably a new mortgage, and all that packing and unpacking.

The Bottom Line
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