Should I renovate my house or move?

Should you stay or should you go? If you really are thinking, maybe we should just move, what I recommend is for you to go and look at other houses that are for sale in the neighborhood you want to live in. You may decide to move to another house or you may decide on adding to your home. Remember to calculate all the expenses of moving to a new house. You still may need to do some renovation on your new home if you choose to get it exactly the way you want it. There are emotional connections to the home you are living in and your neighborhood, so make sure you carefully weigh all your options before making any decision.


Are you going to get a bank loan or pay cash? There are so many requirements with residential mortgage loans. I am not an expert on that topic, so I’m only going to touch lightly on this. But this is something to think about in the early stages of this process.

Some questions to consider: What is my equity in my home currently? Do you have access to a home equity line of credit or will you need a construction loan? Check out the 203k renovation program.

One of the first things to do early on is to meet with a lender if you are going to borrow money towards the equity in your home. I believe you should start that process early and try to figure out what your maximum loan can be for the renovation. I believe you should do that prior to starting the design or construction drawings, because you don’t want to pay a residential designer or architect money to start on this process and then realize you cannot spend that much money on a renovation. I believe that you want to start that process by figuring out the maximum amount you want to spend and the maximum amount you can borrow. But more importantly, it’s your budget and the maximum amount you want to borrow.

Below is an example of a quick and simple formula for reviewing preliminary numbers. This is how I look at the numbers with homeowners during the consultation site visit. I suggest homeowners look roughly at what you paid for your house and what the improvements have cost so far. Then what is your current value?


At this point, you are going to want to look at what the cost “guestimate” of the addition/renovation might be. By this time, you should have a better number than just a guestimate, because if you are going to go to the bank to borrow money or refinance, you really need to know what some of these hard numbers are.

This is one of the ways that I help homeowners with construction numbers on additions and renovations, which is part of my on-site, pre-construction planning meeting. This meeting is the first step in my Taylor Made Plans Process. Here is a list of additional pre-planning steps I take with my clients:

  • Review the house and property. An experienced Residential Designer can give you a guestimate if they are experienced in this type of work.
  • Sometimes I will bring a contractor to your home and get ideas from the contractor, if the budget is very tight or I can guess what the cost would be.
  • Listen to your needs and wants.

No one can make the decision for you, however I hope this will help you with process.

Check out our blog post Pre-Construction Planning Meeting for other questions to think about before you start a renovation project.

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