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February 8, 2021

Should I Remodel or Move?

Every day, there are hundreds of families asking themselves this very question. Your current home may be outdated, inconvenient or even unsafe. Is your kitchen layout awkward? Are the tubs, tile and fixtures chipped, stained or just darned ugly? Or even worse, is your home compromised by mold, rot or rodent or insect infestations? When it comes to overhauling your home, how much is too much? 

Making this decision may seem overwhelming, but the team at Ernest Homes has a few suggestions for corralling the doubt and uncertainty and nailing down the right path for you and your family.

Weigh the Cost of Each Option

Everything costs money these days…there’s no free ride. Unless you’re inheriting a fully furnished, modern home from a rich relative who also left you the funds to cover the costs of transferring the ownership, you’ll be laying out some money either way. 

If you’re thinking of remodeling, you’ll need to consider:

Your overall budget – Make sure you assign a specific, realistic number you can afford and don’t go over it. This may sound easy, but it’s actually much harder than you would think. Almost 75% of families who plan a remodel end up going over budget, by either a little or a lot. Make sure you add the costs of the following to your budget:

  • Permits
  • Architectural Plans
  • Materials – Deciding whether to get the granite countertop or laminate is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s a mind-blowing number of products out there, and fitting each piece into the puzzle of your budget is always a challenge.
  • Labor – You may need to hire workers, or budget the value of your own time.
  • Incidental Expenses – Will you need to stay in a hotel while some rooms are renovated? Will you need to rent off-site storage space or eat out while your ability to cook is limited? Will you discover some hidden costs along the way that will blow your whisker-thin budget?

Research the Markets

It’s important to objectively weigh the pros and cons of your current neighborhood and where you think you may want to live. If there’s a strong demand for homes in your area and you aren’t in love with your neighbors, the schools or the location, it may be time to say goodbye.

  • Research the area – Get an idea of what similar homes are selling for in the market.
  • Assess your home’s marketability – Is your home a fixer-upper? A home in good condition usually sells faster than a fixer-upper, regardless of the health of the market.
  • Talk to an agent - An experienced local agent can give you an expert opinion on what your home is worth.

“Soft” Concerns

  • Kids – Consider the school systems, activities and amusements nearby, and the social life of your children.
  • Sense of community – How you feel about your neighbors and your town should influence your decision.
  • Distance to work – Do you spend more time than you’d like on the road, or are you willing to increase your daily commute?
  • Activities and fun - How much will you miss your favorite restaurants, shops, parks and activities that are nearby? Will you have similar options elsewhere?
  • Family – Are you depending on them for child care or do you have an elderly relative to care for?


Most remodeling projects tend to take more time to complete than expected. If you’re remodeling for a specific reason and are on a deadline, you may want to consider finding a home that better suits your needs. For example, if you’re going to be growing your family by having children or welcoming elderly parents, it may be simpler to start fresh than adding rooms or additions. On the other hand, if you’re planning to downsize, it’s difficult to find someone who will help you “shrink” your home. Unless you plan on maintaining a much larger home than you need, moving is your best bet. If you’ll be building accommodations for a disability to allow access to a second floor, it may be time to move to a single-story home.

Return on Investment

Many people undertake a major remodeling project expecting it to pay big dividends when they eventually sell their house. While this is sometimes the case, remodeling can often be so specific to your own needs that it won’t always boost the market value of the home. Or, heaven forbid, the cost of remodeling to bring your home up to the local standard is going to be more than you’ll get if you sell it as-is to a flipper or do-it-yourselfer. Here’s a handy resource to help you compute the ROI - the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, which can be filtered by region.

New vs. “What Else”?

When you own an older home, a remodel can solve some problems, but there’s likely to be more issues right around the bend. Revamping an old bathroom to eliminate ancient plumbing causing water damage can be quickly followed by necessary electrical wiring upgrades, roof repairs, window replacements and shoring up old foundations. Choosing new construction eliminates many of the ongoing maintenance costs you’ll normally experience with an older home.

Still considering your options? If you’re researching new construction in the Savannah, GA area, don’t hesitate to call us at 912-660-9673. We’re ready to explore both build-to-suit and existing inventory home options with you, as well as give you information you need about our amazing communities. We can even sit down with you and run the numbers for a comparison between a remodel and relocating. Great decisions are made with great teamwork!


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