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Ask The Expert…

One of the questions our Deana, of Magic Zip Code fame, gets a lot is, “Should I buy or should I remodel?” Since she’s got a guy or girl for either, she can give a realistic and unbiased answer. And that answer? It depends…

Builders, if pressed, will tell you that on a per square foot basis, it’s generally cheaper to build than to renovate. What?

Yep. Turns out, once we start to peel the onion, we find all kinds of stuff. Expensive stuff. Say you redo the kitchen. Now the family room looks outdated right next to it. And then there’s the bath off the kitchen. And who needs that old looking laundry room. Do we need a pool?

On the other hand, if you’re housed in a spectacular Victorian in your perfect neighborhood, giving up that historic beauty with character is not the best choice.

So how do we know what to do? There are some considerations. Top of the list is the state of your current home. Is it structurally sound? Does it have water issues? Mold? Cracks in the walls? Do the windows open and close? Any of these problems will cost a pretty penny in the long run and you might be better off building a new home spending the same amount of money.

Another consideration is where you live. In some areas, it is nearly impossible to tear down and rebuild. Cities won’t permit it. A remodel may be your only choice. Don’t fret–everything can be built. Or rebuilt. Really.

Say you love your neighborhood. You don’t want to leave but there is no land available for building a new home. You’re emotionally attached not only to your home but to all that surrounds it, including the neighbors and the grocery store. Do you have enough money to invest in the remodel if there should be added, unexpected costs?

Would you rather invest in making your home “perfect” than the time and headache of moving, and financing, all over again? Is your home not the most valuable on the block? Are property values rising? If any of these are part of your reasoning, you may be right to remodel and make your charmer even more charming.

If however, there are lots in the neighborhood you love and the changes and upgrades you want can’t be done to your current home, it might be better to tear down or build from the ground up. Another consideration; check out hidden costs. The cost of remodeling your home should not be higher than its resale value.

If you do decide to build, there can be hidden costs as well. There’s an architect, new financing, closing costs and moving expenses. And the crying of the kids.

Either way, Deana’s got a guy for that.


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