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When to remodel and when to look for a new home

1.17.2018



photo by Niki Brantmark of My Scandinavian Home of Lotta Agaton's styling for Tisca Rugs

There are pros and cons to everything including trying to evaluate when you consider what kind of house to buy. For years my husband and I have gone back and forth about this topic, a fixer-upper offers you some savings up front but then the renovations, not only can they add up but it can be time comping. A home that is move-in ready limits the amount of time that you will spend on renovations.

There are many factors that need to be considered before making a purchase. Older homes come with surprises that are hiding in the walls or attics or foundations. Electrical and plumbing may be something that you need to include in your budget, and I know first hand how quickly this can add up after our kitchen renovation several years ago. Before buying a house that needs major remodeling, you'll want to invest in a good home inspection to identify any problem areas that may exist in the home.

Do your research on local contractors and remodeling agencies in the area to save time if you aren't planning on living in the home during any renovations. For instance, if looking at a fixer-upper in Pacific Beach, La Jolla or similar areas, you might want to check out the top San Diego bathroom remodeling services to get a sense for the cost of upgrading the property.

The primary benefit is that you will be able to remodel the home to your exact style and needs which obviously is a great advantage if you aren't crazy about the current style of the house or of the contractor houses in your area. This approach applies to virtually all strata of residential property, from premier Santa Barbara real estate to modest homes right off main street.

Newer homes naturally come with a higher price tag because everything is completed and of course, new. Some of the benefits are having brand new appliances, not having to pay both a mortgage payment and rent at the same time and saving an incredible amount of time rather than being patient as your remodeling completion date keeps being pushed back.

Something else to consider is that older homes have stood the test of time. They often have larger dimensions of wood in their framing versus newer construction that can use more engineered styles of wood at a smaller dimension. It might be more less damaging to the environment to redo an existing home and start from scratch. And older homes have established yards and larger trees, where new homes have new everything, and that can be good or bad depending on your perspective.


Ultimately there are drawbacks to either type of home so you you have to decide what is most important to you. Get out an old fashioned notepad and paper and jot down what is most important to you in a house. Then write a list of pros and cons to remodeling or purchasing new. Sometimes putting your thoughts to paper and seeing them in black and white can really offer direction if you are feeling stuck in the middle. Another idea would be to talk with friends who have done both and find out what their experience is like. We are still undecided but leaning more in the direction of fixing up an existing home. I like having mature trees and even a new home won't be my style! Either way, happy hunting!


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