To renovate or to upgrade – which is best?

Most of us will live in two or three family homes during our lives. You might find that over this time our needs change as does our capacity to meet those needs.

So when the time comes for a move; is buying a new home a good idea, or is spending money on the existing home a better option?

By renovating you save the hassle and stress of moving to another home and location, plus the considerable expense involved. Alternatively, buying a new home could require tens of thousands of dollars just to cover agents’ commission, government charges, legal fees and removal expenses.

However, don't automatically think that renovation will necessarily increase the value of your property.

Generally, renovations that increase the size of the home will add to its value, while cosmetic features may not. Features that can add real value include:

- Additional rooms – bedrooms or office

- Adding a garage

- Re-modelling kitchens and bathrooms

- Landscaping to reduce maintenance.

At the other extreme, swimming pools are noted for being poor investments. They take time and money to maintain, particularly with the increasing cost of water. Also, a prospective purchaser may not want a pool, so you limit your buyer market.

You should also consider your location. Home values tend to be based upon others in the district and even if you have extra features it may be more difficult to sell if the asking price is higher than others around you. Don’t make the mistake of making your property the best house in the worst street.

As always, doing good research is essential to making robust financial decisions.

Article originally appeared at

Any advice given is of a general nature only and does not take into consideration your personal circumstances. Please consider the appropriateness of the advice before acting.

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