Should I stay or should I go now? Remodel or move?

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Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Realty West CalBRE #01458572

Remodel or move?

Choosing whether to remodel or to move is not simple, and some community legal restraints might prevent some remodeling. Still, if you like the location and general feeling of your home, you can turn it into your dream house. Before making that decision, especially in a slow real estate market, determine whether you can get more house for the money or whether you should stand pat and remodel.

If you love the neighborhood and home skeleton, remodeling might be the way to go. If you are tired of the house or think that you won't get your money out of fixing it up, then look at newer construction or remodeled homes in areas you do like. By remodeling, you can fit the house exactly to your lifestyle, and you might find that you can actually get more house in a good remodel than you could afford to buy.

You might also find that one thing leads to another: new lights might require new wiring, a new sink might require new plumbing, and new walls might require new insulation. Remodeling can improve the home's fire safety and energy efficiency.

In some cases, it is possible to get a significant return on a remodel, but a significant remodel could result in a new appraisal for property tax purposes.

In determining whether to move, ask potential new neighbors what living in that neighborhood is like. When considering remodeling, talk to friends and family for firsthand information and referrals for contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. Sometimes people have had such headaches with a remodeling job that they say they would never do it again. Others are so thrilled with the end product that they say all the inconveniences were worth it.

If the remodeling is extensive, avoid living in the house while it is being remodeled. Friends who had been through remodeling projects will probably tell you that it is stressful. Living with the rubble and dust, as well as workers entering your private space, can take a toll on you and your family relationships. Whatever your friends tell you about how tough it is to live in a home that is being extensively remodeled, multiply that by a hundred.

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Rainer
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James Engel
Keller Williams Realty Beverly Hills - Beverly Hills, CA
KW Beverly Hills

I would caution anyone that remodeling in this market , unless they care to stay and enjoy the improvements for the next 3-5 years, should be done very carefully and with a very strict and affordable budget. As banks are shutting down Heloc's at every chance they get and credit card companies lowering limits getting caught in a remodel that one cant afford or cant finance is becoming an every day occurrence.

We can all survive without the extra closet or new granite counter top. It is time to be frugal and wait for the market to turn around before burning reserves in improving our residences

Aug 31, 2008 04:27 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

So true.

There was a story in the newspaper last week about a RE/MAX agent who had a $200,000 HELOC and in the middle of his remodel found that it had been lowered to something like $75,000. He was stuck.

I realize that we live in a "I want it now" society, but one doesn't have to do a complete remodel in two months. Do bits and pieces here and there that ultimately will make it into one's dream home and add value to the home.

Aug 31, 2008 06:44 PM #2
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Rainmaker
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Jim Frimmer

Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist
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