Perhaps you have outgrown your Greenville NC home. The children can no longer comfortably share a bedroom, you desperately need a home office, closet/storage space is overflowing, or your teenagers need room to entertain their friends--all valid reasons for thinking about moving to a larger home or adding on or renovating the one you're presently in. Making a decision like this in "normal" times has been difficult for homeowners, but given the current state of the economy, the increase in traffic and resulting longer commute times, and the uncertainty of the real estate market, deciding which option is better for you may seem to be an even greater dilemma today.
Of course you'll do research before you make a firm decision, and you certainly will look carefully at your current financial situation and the expenses associated with moving vs. improving, but it is also important that you anticipate any problems you may encounter with each one, evaluate your priorities in terms of lifestyle preferences, and realistically assess your temperament (and that of individual family members) and ability to adjust to changes brought about by either moving or improving your Greenville NC home. You should also identify your true purpose in doing one or the other.
IF YOU MOVE:
- Finances: Not only is it harder to sell a home in today's market, it is also more difficult to obtain a mortgage. Because of the extremely large number of foreclosures and short sales on the market, you will have to be realistic re: price and patient re: finding a buyer for your Greenville NC home. You can, however, take advantage of the current buyer's market when you buy the larger home you desire. Given the upheaval of the real estate market, lenders have tightened their standards considerably, and the loan process will not be as easy as it was a few years ago. You will need to show a good credit score, money for a down payment, evidence of job security, and your ability to make monthly payments in the future. Also remember to calculate all moving costs in your financial assessment.
- Lifestyle: Will you have a longer commute to work? Will the new schools be as good as the present ones? Can you adjust to a new neighborhood easily? How attached are you (and the family) to the present one? Can you tolerate the packing, moving, unpacking, etc., required to move?
- Purpose: If your reasons include a desire to live in a different neighborhood or type of home, having your children attend better schools, or shortening your commute time, then moving is most likely the better choice for you.
IF YOU IMPROVE:
- Finances: The new home construction slow down has resulted in lower prices for many building materials, and some contractors are charging less for their labor and are more readily available. Of course, you're going to need to come up with the cash for the project. You also need to beware of over-improving in terms of other homes in your neighborhood. It also helps if you have a pretty good idea of how your improvements will affect your house value.
- Lifestyle: Given the ages and personalities of family members, how would each cope with the disruption, noise, and inconvenience of renovation? Will the improvements require that you move out of your Greenville NC home for some period of time? Are you prepared for delays, problems, and escalating costs?
- Purpose: If you are happy with your neighbors, your location, the schools, and your commute, but simply require more space, then home renovation would probably better fit your needs.