Should I move or remodel my home?

Should I stay and renovate my home, or should I go?

Figuring out if it’s better to update your existing home, or move somewhere new is more complex than you may suspect.

The first step, look at the market.

Currently, inventory is pretty low, and the challenge of finding a home is compounded by interest rates being high on new mortgages.

“We’re seeing a majority of people have to sell before they can buy, and while selling isn’t usually a problem, winning an offer on that next home is hard,” Stacey Wyatt, founder and real estate consultant at Stacey Wyatt Real Estate Group told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

For this reason, Wyatt, and his wife, Tricia Wyatt, also a real estate consultant at Stacey Wyatt Real Estate Group, advise those who want to sell to do basic repairs and meet with a stager to have everything ready to go first. Then, find a house to buy, and get an offer approved before flipping the switch to selling your existing home.

“This is called parallel listing,” said Stacey Wyatt. “Most people don’t know about this strategy, and it’s a little more stressful, but with the right preparation, it’s possible.”

For those who see market trends as something they want to avoid, staying at home and remodeling can have its advantages too.

“Although many homeowners remodel right after a purchase of an existing home, the majority of remodels are done when trends change or the function of a home changes,” says Sherri Abramowitz, interior decorator and contractor for A to Z Designs told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

For those who are older, and deciding to age in place, changes can include accessibility updates in addition to refreshing dated rooms.

“Some homeowners are adding first-floor full baths or even installing elevators to make a larger home more accessible so they can stay put,” said Abramowitz.

For anyone unsure where to start, Abramowitz suggests the kitchen or bathrooms.

“Updated kitchen and bath designs not only freshen up your home, but these updates can also increase the resale value since new buyers like to see a home that’s well cared for and on-trend,” said Abramowitz

The issue, though, becomes cost. This is most directly influenced by the size of the room and the intensity of the remodel.

“Remodeling is an invasive beast. It takes a mental toll on people, but the most important thing is to be able to trust your contractor and have realistic expectations of how long a project will take,” said Abramowitz.

Thankfully, there’s a third way to look at the conundrum of staying put and remodeling or moving on.

“Most of the time, fresh paint, new carpet, a declutter, and deep clean will keep your home fresh and give you the biggest return for the lowest cost when you are ready to sell,” said Tricia Wyatt.

She recommends having a handyman do a walk-through and make general repairs along with these small, low-stress, low-cost updates. They’ll allow you to live comfortably in your home until the housing market becomes more friendly to buyers once again. You can be ready to sell at a moment’s notice.

Stacey Wyatt also suggests you have a maintenance plan to help keep your home in mint condition so it’s always seller-ready.

“Taking care of all the deferred maintenance now before you’re ready to move is a great action plan,” said Stacey Wyatt. “These are the things that catch up to everyone at the very end, but are often easier to pay for a little bit at (a) time.”

This, coupled with an interior refresh, keeps you from having to decide right now on what major next step you’re ready to take.