For most people, there comes a time when we outgrow the home we live in and require more space to accommodate our expanding family or life. In the past we’ve talked about downsizing your home, but this generally comes later in life, so what happens when it feels like your home is bursting at the seams with an ever-accumulating pile of ‘stuff’? Well, there’s a couple of options: do a home improvement, or relocate to a new property. Here’s seven tips and considerations to help you decide which option is best for you.
1. Do you really need more space?
Carefully assess your current living situation and take a good look around. How much of your space is taken up by essential items, and how much of it is unnecessary? Sometimes we think we’re running out of space, when in reality we’ve just collected too much junk over the years and could really do with a good de-cluttering. This is one of the things you’ll have to do before moving anyway, so you may as well do it before you purchase a property you may not even need!
2. Make a list
Write down all the things you want in a bigger home and compare them to what you currently have in your house or apartment. This is great way to examine your home and work out whether or not the desired changes are worth pursuing in your current space with a few home improvement ideas.
3. Consider space-saving tricks
Think renovating or moving is the only way to create more space? Think again. Home improvement websites and platforms (such as Pinterest) are teeming with jaw-droppingly clever space-saving ideas. Thinking outside the box could potentially save you hundreds of thousands of dollars, and all it takes is a little creativity and research.
4. Think of the costs
Upsizing your home is all good in theory, but in reality can you afford a bigger property? Bigger homes come with bigger expenses: a larger mortgage, higher property tax and more maintenance costs. Make sure you’re prepared for the heavier financial burden.
5. Timing is everything
If you decide to sell your home to move into a bigger one, make sure you sell your current home in a timely manner. Poor planning on this aspect could mean you end up paying for two properties simultaneously, or have no place to live between the sale of one and settlement of the other. Either of those unfortunate events mean you could be in for some hefty unforseen costs.
6. Don’t overcapitalise
Extending or renovating may be the more viable option for you, but be careful not to throw more cash at the upgrades than what they add in value to the property. To simplify, if you want to knock out a wall, extend the kitchen and build a granny flat, and you spend say a hundred thousand dollars – make sure the new value of the property exceeds the amount you spend on renovations.
7. Stick to a budget
It’s easy to get swept away in the excitement of renovations, but you need to be clear about your objective from the start. Adding on little bits here and there drive up your overall costs more than you realise. Set a ceiling budget and stay firm on it. The same applies if you choose to buy a bigger property instead; never spend more than what it’s worth or what you can realistically afford.
Upsizing your home always comes at a cost, therefore it’s not a decision you should make lightly or hastily. The best thing to do is look at the problem from all angles, work out your finances, and make an informed decision that is best suited to your personal circumstances.