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Should I Renovate My House, or Move?
7 min read

By Lauren Rosales, Content Writer

If your current home is far from your Dream Home, you’re in good company. Maybe you wish to expand your family and need more space in which to do it. Perhaps some of the things that were a compromise when you bought this house are no longer negotiable—you really do need that big bedroom closet, for example, or the narrow galley kitchen just won’t cut it anymore.

But nobody really enjoys moving. The truth is that moving ranks as one of the most stressful life events, period. In a 2020 survey, most participants rated moving as being more stressful than getting a divorce or having children! So why would anyone voluntarily do it? Couldn’t one just renovate? Let’s explore both options.

HGTV has added “renovation” to just about everybody’s vocabulary. Thanks to a host of popular shows, it seems as though just about everyone has a plan about what they’d change about their house. 76% of Americans would rather renovate their current homes than make a down payment on a new one—given a set amount of money, that is. Renovations are pricey. And the fairytale renos we see on HGTV are far from representative of reality . Unfortunately, the fairytales also encourage audiences to DIY when maybe there are some things that just shouldn’t be DIY-ed. If you take out a load-bearing wall, for example, that could be an expensive mistake to make!

So, we know that moving is stressful and renovations are complex and expensive. Moving isn’t exactly cheap , either, and that’s without considering the cost of the new house, realtor commission, or unavoidable repairs. But who wants to live in a perpetual construction zone? Obviously, there are pros and cons to both options. But to start thinking through them, here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do you love the literal “where” of where you live?

  • Are you fond of your neighbors? Do you cherish being on the bus route, or a short walk away from the bakery where you can get cinnamon rolls and coffee on Saturday mornings? Do your kids have friends down the street? Don’t forget to consider boundary lines for specific schools, and your commute to work!

    If your answer is a resounding “YES,” you should look closely at the possibility of renovation. What is the likelihood that you would find a house in your same neighborhood that has all the amenities or upgrades that your current home lacks? But if you dislike your neighborhood, can’t stand the commute to work, and aren’t comfortable with the school your children are zoned into, granite countertops and walk-in closets are not going to help.

  • What are the top reasons you’re considering this change?

  • Is the lack of storage in your kitchen beginning to disrupt your daily life? Are your kids getting too old to share a bedroom? Do you want to gouge out your eyes each time you encounter the 1970s pea green tile in the master bathroom? Perhaps you’ve gotten fed up with several issues that used to seem small, but over time have come to eclipse everything else you see when you look at your home.

    When you consider, you may find that some problems just can’t be solved by renovations—for example, if you have a rapidly growing family and you need multiple extra bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate them. On the other hand, if your frustration with your house is limited to one room, an unfinished area like a big basement, or multiple smaller-scale issues (especially aesthetic ones, like that pea-green bathroom tile), you might see renovation as the most logical course.

  • Would either option be overwhelmingly more expensive than the other?

  • Neither moving nor renovating will be cheap. The typical range for renovations is $17,960-$76,951, depending largely on the scope of the project, the quality of materials, and potential complications. But moving, too, has quite a few costs. If you move into a larger home, it will not only cost more on the sticker, but will increase your monthly utilities, your taxes, and you’ll have to buy the furniture and appliances to fill it. Plus, you can expect to spend around $5,000 on simply readying your current home for the market!

The good news is that Unison can help you consider this third question! Once upon a time, unless you had a tremendous amount of money in savings, the most common ways to pay for considerable renovations were a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), cash-out refinancing, or a home equity loan. Each of these options would charge interest, affecting your long-term finances, and saddling you with debt. Unison offers an alternative—we convert up to 17.5% of your home’s value to cash and give it to you to bring those fairytale projects just that much closer to your reality. You don’t have to worry about monthly payments or interest. When you do eventually decide to sell your home, only then would you pay Unison an amount equal to the original payment plus or minus a share of your home's change in value.

Unison is a great fit for those who want to invest in their home for the long-term. After three years, homeowners become eligible to apply for a Remodeling Adjustment , which would allow you to keep the increase in home value that results from your renovation improvements. And, with our help, you won't make the expensive mistake of cutting corners to trim the cost of your project! Not all renovations equally boost your home’s value, so we can also help you decide which types of renovations would be the most fruitful for you.

We have helped over 8,000 homeowners drastically improve their quality of life, and presenting them with the capital needed to renovate their homes is only one slice of that pie. Some of our homeowners have used the cash to dig themselves out of student loan debt or pay off a mortgage before the accumulating interest overpowered them. Others have financed small business ventures or increased the comfort and security of their retirement. You may find that you can accomplish more than merely one objective with the cash that we offer! If you’re curious to see just how much money you might have left after your renovation, check out our calculator , which will offer you an estimate based on your home’s value, our projected offer, and the average cost of common remodeling projects.

If you feel like you might be part of the 76% of folks who would rather renovate than move if only they had the money, reach out to Unison today to see how we might be able to make that “if” a “when.”

The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal or financial advice. Unison has provided these links for your convenience, but does not endorse and is not responsible for the content, links, privacy policy, or security policy of the other websites.

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