Should you move or should you stay?
Should you invest in a renovation or buy new? This question comes up frequently when we discuss major renovations and additions to homes nestled in Washington DC neighborhoods or the near Maryland burbs. We’ll go back and forth about the potential costs for remodeling, upgrading and designing home additions to the existing house until the owner finally says, “gee, wouldn’t it be the same or less to just buy a new house?” Well, the answer is: Yes. And. No. These are two entirely different endeavors and cost is usually not the defining difference between the two. Let’s start with the YES option.
Yes, it would be better to buy new
It would be easier to buy a new house that already has the amenities your old house lacks. But then you must be willing to accept this condition: You have to live in the neighborhood and school district where the house is
If it’s a neighborhood you love, you are in luck! If it’s not, is it really that much of a bargain? While you think about that, let’s consider the NO option.
No, it is not better
It is not better to buy a new house. Why? Dumping the house you love for one that is younger and better-looking won’t make you happy.
Well, okay it might make you happy for a while. But, if you could invest approximately the same amount of money into the flawed house you love that sits in a neighborhood that you love–why wouldn’t you do that? Here’s the formula simplified:
love house + love location = RENOVATE
hate house + love location = RENOVATE
love house + hate location = MOVE
hate house + hate location = WHY did you ever buy it?
Reality. You can’t find a new house in Washington for $800,000. That’s the going rate for an old house, an old unimproved house–or an old house that has been improved badly.
Invest that same amount into a renovation of your old house and you’ll come up with a new house composed of everything you love about the old one minus everything about it that makes you crazy.
So, here’s the nut:
Buy new and you get size. You get square footage and… you get somebody else’s vision.
Renovate and you get a new home that is just the right size for you and… it’s your vision.
What do we think you should do? Well, if you truly love the house, love it some more….