Category: House & Home
Chapter Select
Sub category: Renovate
17 February 2015

Upgrade or renovate?

There are three key factors to consider in the ‘move versus improve’ debate.

You’ve been in your home a few years, and it’s done a great job so far. But maybe you’re at a stage where the kids need bigger bedrooms, or maybe the place is just looking a little tired. What do you do – renovate or relocate?

Consider your location

A change of scenery can be revitalising but if your current address ticks all the boxes in terms of proximity to school, work and leisure facilities, or if you just love the area, it can be worth renovating rather than moving. Just be mindful of overcapitalising. That’s where the cost of renovations exceeds the value they add to your home. Even the best renovation won’t compensate for a poor location or an unappealing aspect.

Crunch the numbers     

Your budget will play a big role in the choice between move or improve. High property transaction costs mean it can often be cheaper to renovate than sell up and move to a new home. In particular, stamp duty on the new place can run into tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a cost that gives you no direct benefit but the sum involved could pay for a new kitchen or bathroom.

Add up the costs of moving and see how they stack up against a major home improvement. You could find that renovating is the better value option.

Be realistic about what can be achieved with home improvements

It makes sense to check that your proposed improvements will pass muster with the local council, but more importantly, speak with an architect or licensed builder to discover whether your home is structurally sound enough to handle your proposed works. Older homes in particular can present hidden nasties like dodgy wiring, uneven floorboards, and even unidentified termite damage that can quickly blow out your renovation budget.

Some time spent researching the key issues will go a long way to ensuring you make the choice that is right for you – both today and further down the track.

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