In pursuit of the American dream, more Americans than ever have selected to become homeowners. All through the years, the need to own a home has always been constant but the way we perceive the good American dream of property ownership has changed. For the duration of the days of our parents and grandparents, the majority of homeowners purchased a home where they raised their families, lived life, retired, and left the property to their heirs upon death. It wasn’t uncommon to have a family living in a house that had been passed down for generations.
Homeownership continues to be a serious component of the American dream but the present trend tends to suggest that the era of “generational homes” and one 15 -30 year mortgage are becoming things of the past. Today phrases such as “starter home” leads us to think that others are to follow and the time will come when most homeowners will be confronted with the dilemma as to whether to move or improve their property.
The memories made through the years serve as the glue which binds us to the property emotionally and are part of the reason that makes the decision to move or improve a difficult one. Therefore, the decision as to leave our property or improve it can’t be taken lightly, should include the whole family, and brings with it numerous challenges. Therefore, because of the magnitude of its impact, much reflection, care, and factual info should be taken into consideration.
If you have lived in your home long enough enhancements have been made, Why now? What has motivated you to think of moving from a place which has served as your home? Why don’t you make the improvement, as you’ve done before? These are important questions you need to ask and be able to answer. The answer to this question will set the foundation and clear the path for the conversations to follow. Reflecting on your motivation is very important in this decision making process. Why at this point are you entertaining the thought of moving versus improving? You will find various motivations that could be responsible: obsolete features, cost of repairs/renovations, change in familial/economic status, proximity, and neighborhood concerns.
Features come to be obsolete when the intended needs or purposes are no longer achieved. After some time, family needs change and the property that used to be perfect no longer meets that description. For example, a property purchased years ago with 1.5 baths could have been more than adequate but this time, it might seem someone is always in the bathroom and someone is always waiting. Putting another bathroom or two will relieve the need but what about the value of your property? There is no assurance improving a property will add to its value. As a result, if your motivation to renovate includes the hope that the value of your property will increase– proceed with caution. Improvements should be made to make the home functional, not solely to increase the value. Questions to be answered: By improving my property, do I expect the value to increase? How much will it increase? What proof do I have to support this?
One more issue to reflect on is the cost of repairs/renovations. Improvements can be costly. Repairs alone generally are not enough to motivate the majority of property owners to move but coupled with other issues could prove to be more than enough. What starts as a leaky pipe could lead to the replacement of a whole plumbing system and a floor. Before you make a decision, come to be equipped with facts by contacting at the least 3 contractors who offer free estimates. Then ask yourself a couple of questions: How much am I willing to spend? Is it worth it? Would it be more economically sound to move or improve? What’s best for my family and me?
In today’s world of companies downsizing and hiring, it’s pretty much the norm for families to experience a change in economic status because of a decrease or increase in salary. Thus, impacting how much property can be afforded. This change and also a change in familial status could influence the move or improve debate. Life happens and with it comes marriage, children, divorce, and death. These situations can alter our economic status and leave us with too much or too little property. Either situation could make us reconsider our living accommodations. Reflect: Has there been a change in your familial or economic status? If so, what action does the change warrant? Should you move or improve? That’s the question.
Location, location, location!! Location is the word considered by some as the most important thing to think about when choosing where to buy a home. Nevertheless, the best location is relative to time. Change is inevitable. Surrounding construction can change the location. People change and so do the activities they wish to engage. The decision to move or improve might be directly related to the changes which have occurred in the proximity that you live. Maybe the area has been rezoned bringing businesses that you may or may not support. Making a situation that rules out one of the choices.
It’s also feasible for your house is still the ideal home however the neighborhood isn’t the same. If the change in the neighborhood is positive then the “improve” option would look promising but when the change is not beneficial, moving would appear very attractive. The fact is houses can be chosen, neighbors can’t– for they come and go. The attitude of the neighborhood can serve to affect your decision.
Finally, the decision to either move from or improve your property could be exciting and requires much care, reflecting on and understanding the motivation and the collecting of facts. Remember: The decision is yours.