Should you move or improve?

Should you move or improve your home? If you are a typical home owner, you probably ask yourself this question every few years. The answer is seldom obvious or simple.

The are basically two reasons to take on home improvement projects. The first is for your own enjoyment. The second is to increase the re-sale value.  Believe it or not, it can be easier to calculate the value of your enjoyment than the value of a remodel.

Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey providing insight into the relative recapture value of various home improvement projects. You can download the 2014 report for free from their website:

Kitchen and bathroom remodels tend to provide the best return on investment both in terms of re-sale and personal comfort, but they don’t come cheap. You should anticipate an average price tag  of $30-40K to re-do your kitchen, and $20-30K for a full bathroom (i.e. neither high-end nor low-end).

Financial considerations aside, the question of whether  to move or improve should be decided by the things you cannot change about your current home: the school district, commute/transportation options, lot size, neighbors, neighborhood. If you love your location, then improvements make sense, but if a different location is the biggest improvement you can make, then trading up may be the way to go.

Posted by Alice Kuder on April 19, 2014






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