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To renovate or to move, that is the question

By Brooke Croft

Have you ever taken a moment to look at your to-do list of jobs around the home and thought, “every time I complete one task, there are two more to add”.

This is an exhausting realisation – especially if you’re working and taking care of a family at the same time – and it may be a sign that it’s time to either look at an extensive renovation, or to sell and move on.

For any homeowner, it’s hard to decide when it’s the right time to confront this dilemma.

Often, your financial position is the biggest factor, but other influences can push you towards action.

If you love the area and the family are settled in at work and schools, the smart play is to either renovate, or find a more suitable property in the same area.

But don’t assume renovating is a cheaper option. Large-scale projects are prone to building problems and blown deadlines that send costs skyrocketing – especially at the moment when finding a tradesperson can be a huge challenge.

If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of renovating, below is a a quick list of signs that suggest that it’s time to take action.

  1. Big Issues – If the foundations are rotting, the roof leaks or the chimney is falling off the roof, let’s face it: you’ve got issues. And these may only be the start of your problems. Major faults often create lots of smaller ones. You shouldn’t let any of these issues drift.
  2. Cash at hand – Not many of us have cash sloshing around in our bank accounts with nothing to do. But if you’ve owned your home for a while, you will have equity in your home loan. This may mean it’s worthwhile taking a deep breath and consider dipping into this equity to pay for remedial work and a renovation.
  3. You’re a stayer – You should only renovate if you intend to stay in the home for several more years. It’s a crazy expense if you’re likely to move in the next three years. If you’re thinking of moving, the smart play would be to push your plans forward and move up now.
  4. It feels dated – It’s not unreasonable to yearn for a modern home with all the conveniences they bring. Interior design has come a long way in the past 20 years, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting open-plan living, a practical and gorgeous kitchen with lots of storage, space to feed the kids and light streaming through the windows.
  5. Cramping your style – If the family have outgrown the home – a common occurrence with teenagers around – you might be better off finding a bigger home rather than going to the expense of a costly extension.
  6. You’re still in love – Emotional ties to a home are strong and real. If you’re not ready to leave behind your treasured family memories, then investing in a renovation of your home is completely justified.
  7. Time for a makeover – As your life changes, so do your requirements in a home. Perhaps you’re finding the kitchen too small, or no one uses the dining room anymore. Have you got clutter everywhere because storage is insufficient? These are all signs that you’re home isn’t keeping up with your lifestyle. Either its design needs a dramatic makeover, or it’s time to go.
  8. Okay with chaos – If you can put up with the massive disruption of builders arriving at 6.30am every weekday morning for months on end, then hats off to you! Or if you have the budget to find temporary accommodation during construction – a more sensible option – then an extensive upgrade isn’t going to be so confronting. But make sure you work out all the costs and budget appropriately.
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