Chances are, you bought your current home when you were in a different place in your life than you are now.  Maybe your marital status has changed, maybe the total number of people in your house has increased or decreased, or maybe you simply feel you are sick and tired of tripping over your bike in the front hall or sharing one bathroom among five people or staring out of drafty windows in even draftier walls at your six-foot deep ice wells along your gutters.  The thought of fixing these annoyances can seem so daunting that many people just opt to pack up and move.

In this month’s post, we will examine whether moving or remodeling is the right choice for you, and should you decide to stay put, the steps you can take to start to bring your reno plans into reality.

To being, here’s a few scenarios for you to consider:

1. Your neighbourhood, your street, your neighbours.  How do you feel about them, how do they feel about you?  Maybe you bought this wonderful house when you were in a place in your life where being close to the pubs and trendy restaurants was important, but now you seek playgrounds or bike paths.  Maybe you didn’t have a care in the world about front street traffic because you were always in it during rush hour anyway, but now you cringe every time you open a window or a small person leaves the house.  Maybe your neighbourhood used to consist of young people such as yourself but now zoning regulations have allowed one too many undesirable neighbours into your ‘hood.  These are all solid reasons to move*.

2. None of the above applies – you adore your neighbours, your street is like something out of a picture book and your proximity to everything couldn’t be better.  BUT, your home is older than time and until you owned it was not treated very well; the foundation is crumbling, there is a nasty lean on the East wall, the roof leaks every Spring and the backyard is barely deep enough to hold the back door open.  You didn’t pay very much for the house five years ago, but property value hasn’t increased by more than 20% in your area since then, so the work you put into the home would exceed its medium-term worth.  These could also be very valid reasons for moving*.

3. Let’s say you’re a little from column 1 and a little from column 2.  You love the postal code, you and your neighbors are like a family that likes each other, your home is old and in need of a long list of work, but you could not bare to leave your beautiful garden or immense wrap-around porch.  These may be reasons to stay.

4. Neighbourhood – awesome.  Backyard - filled with weeds and ants but perfectly proportioned.  House – too small, too ugly, too few bathrooms and a bad smell lingers in the back of the pantry no matter how many times you clean it.   Believe it or not, stay.

The fact is, assuming your home is not crumbling and faltering beneath you, almost anything is possible to turn your home into your dream-house.  The other fact that many do not take into account is that moving isn’t cheap; fixing up your place to be marketable, commissions, fees, taxes, moving companies, utility company fees, the list is endless, and the costs add up. Often to more than at least one of your reno’s would have set you back in the first place.  No, really.

Now for the fun part – list-making!  (I actually sang that in my Oprah voice) Make a list of things you would love to change about the house you’ve decided to commit to.  Don’t hold back – this isn’t  like a list you make about your partner (raise your hand if you’ve made that list) – this list wont hurt anyone’s feelings and will cost you nothing.  Include the small closets, the poorly lit kitchen, the cold basement, everything.  Once your list is complete, pin it to the wall and let it marinate for 30 days. In next months’ issue we will examine that list; what to renovate and why, where to spend and where to save and why you should renovate for you rather than for resale. Pro-tip from a neurotic list-maker: lists are even more fun with priority-coded pens and bullet-marks.  Just sayin’.

* for more info and valuable insight on selling or renting your home, please consult a licensed realtor in your area.