As we all know the shifts in the economy that have taken place in the last four years have changed the rules of real estate. Lenders are tightening lines of credit, and more and more homeowners are finding that they owe more on their mortgage then their house is worth.
Even with these sobering realities, people are still selling their houses and moving up in this buyer’s market. So is it a good time for you to move somewhere new, or improve your current home? This question rests largely on a few fundamental thoughts:
- Think about the things you can’t change: It’s important to consider things that you can’t change, especially about your current residence. If you have children, how does this current school zone compare to the potential new one? What about the house in general, do you like living there? Is your quality of life desirable to you at your current location? At the end of the day, your house is not just an investment; it’s where you and your family live.
- Is your house marketable?: In today’s real estate market you not only have the issue of slumping home values, you also are facing a market on the verge of total saturation. The inventory for houses is huge, so how will yours stand out above the rest? The experts still believe that with good curb appeal, a great kitchen/bathroom, the right price, and some patience, you will see offers come in.
- Moving has gotten harder, improving has gotten easier: As touched on above and as we all know, moving into a newer/larger/nicer home has gotten harder. On the flipside, improving your home has gotten somewhat easier. Prices on some commonly used building materials have gone way down. The cost of plywood has dropped 46%, and the cost of framing lumber has dropped 42%. Contractors are also lowering the cost of labor to compete in the smaller market, which is good news for you if you’re looking to remodel. If you’re looking to remodel, make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck, check Remodeling.com’s data on various home remodeling projects.
Ultimately you will have to make the decision to either move or improve. The most important things for you to consider are the criteria that you cannot change. If you love your location, but have some issues with the house itself, then improving is probably the way to go. If a change of location in of itself would be an upgrade, then moving might be your best option.
*Read HouseLogic.com’s article on this particular subject. If you are a resident in a Westervelt Community, consult with your ARB before beginning any major remodeling jobs.