Tom: Hi Sandy, what are we going to talk about this month?
Sandy: Well, I have had some calls recently from folks who want to know who they can turn to for help in deciding whether they should stay in their home and remodel, build new or move to another existing home. So, this is what I want to talk about, Tom; are you game?
Tom: GREAT subject. We spend quite a bit of time helping folks find some of the answers they need to make that exact and careful decision. It is quite a process!
Sandy: I suppose the first question to share with our readers would be what and why are they considering this decision.
Tom: Exactly. We suggest families sit down and list five things they like and enjoy about their home and five things they are not keen on about their home. This helps people gain some focus on a discussion that can get lost down all the rabbit holes. Families will also need to look at their finances and determine a general budget for buying new or resale or taking on remodeling. This is important to have the range of budget figures as they move through the process.
Sandy: Good start. Once they do that and have the budget numbers and the list of “not keen on items” would they then bring in professional assistance to see if those aspects of the home can be modified and changed and/or is the home in a hard-and-fast non-flexible, cost-prohibitive state?
Tom: Right again. Sometimes it’s the kitchen or the bath or the lack of outdoor space that need remodeling and a fresh look and or need to be changed due to family circumstances. And sometimes it is just simply the quality of finishes that are causing gloom and the homeowners want more brightness.
Sandy:Okay, easy enough, but what if the house is just to big for some empty nesters?
Tom: Then the decision is pretty clear.
Tom: Once those “Home Improvement” projects are identified, owners can do one or two things, or both, to move forward. There is an article published in Remodeling Magazine every year called “Cost vs Value” and the link is remodeling.hw.
Tom: This link identifies several common renovation projects and relays the typical cost of those projects for average homes and some for upscale homes in different parts of the country.
Sandy: WOW, very interesting and I hope our readers take a peek at the link. Noteworthy to see the different areas and costs.
Tom: Clearly. This information allows people to get some idea of how much a project will cost them. The desired change menu of projects can then be added up to get a preliminary budget for staying in the current home and remodeling vs. going and purchasing new.
Sandy: It is still a good idea for our readers to contact a professional for help, though. Most design/build companies specializing in remodeling will have an initial conversation at no cost.
Tom: Yes, that is of course true. If a company wants to charge you for very basic and common information, tell them “I don’t have the right company” to work with.
Sandy: When the homeowner has all of this valuable information, there is still more work to do though. What do you suggest about figuring out if they would be better off moving?
Tom: We suggest if a homeowner wants to relocate, and let’s use our local area, he or she lists about five different desirable areas to live in. Then research those areas for available homes and their respective price ranges.
Sandy: And, of course, a realtor would be a starting point for that process.
Tom: Absolutely. No question there. Realtors have access to information and the skill to drill into that info on the client’s behalf.
Sandy: That will be work for sure and it is important that these families share with the realtor they are gathering information for “the decision to stay and remodel or buy.”
Tom: That would be fair. For some, the information can be obtained in the realtor’s office. By way of example, simply finding out the cost of existing homes in an area might force the decision right there.
Sandy: Gathering the information is what this whole process is about. In fact, I shout from the rooftops that gathering information on any form of construction from purchase of items, to remodeling, to building new, to all everything from A to Z in construction is important.
Sandy: With new construction, folks can reach out to custom home builders for an initial consultation to obtain information about the costs of a new custom home.
Tom: Right. And those first meetings with homebuilders are typically at no cost, just like the design/build remodeling company. I recommend that folks look at model homes also. Not all new construction is custom. By looking at floor plans that are part of a developer’s package, you can get a lot of info.
Sandy: With a lot of the developers in our area, homebuyers can add or customize features with all their homes giving them their own unique solutions. That is important to know.
Tom: Yes, it is. When all this information is gathered, the homeowner can now sit down and mull over the options. The information is critical to a sound decision-making process.
Sandy: I understand that as a general rule of thumb in today’s market, given the same square footage, building new is more costly than buying existing.
Tom: That is a typical generalization, you are right. I would not recommend making a final decision to stay or go based on that, though.
Sandy:The decision to stay or go really is a tough one, the greatest quandary of homeowner ownership. Our topic this month is certainly an age-old decision “whether to remodel or build new.” There are so many things to consider. How about in closing, Tom, let’s give our readers some quick pointers:
Tom:Right on, Sandy. Let’s step it off.
As far as financial decision, an important decision to consider is whether the cost of remodeling the home will outpace its resale value if you are looking to flip it in a couple of years. If you plan to stay there, then build what you want. The last thing you want to do is spend a bunch of money and sit back when it is done and say, “I wish I would have….!”
Again, prepare a list of features you cannot live without. Include wants, needs, wishes and the amount of money and time you are willing to commit.
Carefully calculate and consider the amount of money being invested for the remodel and/or the purchase of new: the budget.
Thanks, readers, for stopping in and reading “At Home with Tom and Sandy.” You’re in good company and we love sharing educational, fun and important information with you. Until next month! QCBN