Are you outgrowing your current home? Perhaps the kids are getting older and you would like more space. Or perhaps you need an extra room for a home business or hobby.

The obvious answer is to move to a new property, but perhaps some adjustments to your current home are all that is needed.

In this guide, we look at the pros and cons of moving home, compared with upgrading your existing property.

Your Perfect Home

When considering a move, it is important to think about exactly what you are looking for, and why your current home doesn’t deliver.

Certain issues can be easily rectified, for example:

  • Modernising the décor
  • Updating the kitchen or bathroom
  • New carpets or flooring
  • New doors or windows

These simple changes can make a major difference to how you feel about your home. The timescale and budget will be relatively modest compared with moving, or more significant improvements.

Other modifications may take a little more planning, such as:

• Extensions or conservatories
• Loft or garage conversions
• Garden landscaping or swimming pools

How much value will these renovations add to your home? How will they be funded? Would moving to a property that already meets your requirements be a more cost-effective option?

Of course, in some cases, modifications to the property can’t help with your problem. If you are unhappy with the style of property, the area, or your neighbours, no amount of improvements will help the issue. It is definitely time to consider a move.

Verdict

Firstly, consider how you can achieve your dream home without moving. A new home is never the easy answer, particularly when a few small changes can make all the difference. Of course, the more complex the issue, the more attractive a move can become.

Cost

The second point to consider is how much the project is going to cost.

When you move home you have a number of expenses that don’t add anything to the value of the property. For example:

  • Stamp Duty
  • Estate Agency Fees
  • Survey Costs
  • Legal Fees
  • Mortgage Fees
  • Moving Costs

The costs can add up to a significant proportion of your budget. However, if you are selling your home and/or taking on a mortgage, many of the costs can usually be included in the final transaction. This can make the initial outlay a little less painful than if you were paying directly out of savings, but bear in mind that if added to a mortgage, you will be paying interest on the costs for many years.

If you decide to renovate instead, the assumption is that any work done will increase the value of the property. This is not always the case, and it is worth consulting a surveyor if the resale value of your home is important to you.

Renovating your home rather than moving can save money, although this depends on the size of the project. A new bathroom will almost certainly cost less. A two-storey extension might be significantly more expensive.

If you have equity in your property it may be possible to add renovation costs to your mortgage. This can be sensible providing the improvements add value to your home. Lenders’ requirements can change, so it is best not to assume that you can borrow all of the funds needed. Confirm this with the lender before starting work, or obtain independent mortgage advice.

Kitchen and bathroom designers sometimes offer interest-free credit and will manage the project for you. However, this can work out more expensive than contracting tradespeople and buying the components yourself.

Verdict

Small scale home improvements will usually cost less than a move, but you may need to think about funding options if you don’t have easily accessible capital. Improvements may add value to your home, or they may not. Always research your project thoroughly before starting.

Inconvenience

Moving house is widely acknowledged as one of the most stressful life events. After the excitement of choosing your new dream home, you have to think about:

  • Preparing your current home for sale
  • Keeping it clean and uncluttered for viewings
  • Dealing with estate agents and solicitors
  • Packing and unpacking
  • The logistics of moving day
  • Getting to know a new set of neighbours

The stress can be compounded if you are in a property chain, and need to sell your property before you can complete on your new home.

One way of dealing with this is to sell your house and rent for a few months before buying a new property so that you will be entirely free of chains. Of course, this means extra costs and two moving days instead of one.

If you are looking to buy a new build, many developers can offer part exchange on your existing home, removing the need to find a buyer. You may not achieve the full market price, and the new property will need to be of a higher value than your current home. Also, bear in mind that new builds have a premium attached and it can take many years to recoup the initial value.

Renovations are not without stress, and you may find yourself living in building site for weeks, or even months. You will need to get used to contractors coming in and out of your home daily. Complex projects, in particular, can easily go over the expected time and over budget.

Verdict

Moving home can create several months of low-level anxiety, followed by a few days of intense stress when undertaking the move itself.

A renovation is only likely to be stressful when the project is actually underway, and depending on the scale of the improvement, this could be a few days or several months. Carefully research how long your project is likely to take, and consider if you can cope with parts of your home being unusable during that time. If not, perhaps a move is a better idea.

Conclusion

The decision to leave or remain is a highly personal one, and will depend on your existing property, what you would like to achieve, your budget and timescale.

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the team if you would like to find out more.