Home Remodeling vs. Buying – The Pros and Cons of Each

Home Remodeling vs. Buying insightsWhat You Need To Know About Home Remodeling Vs. Buying in Bethesda, MD

There comes a point in every homeowner’s life when they have to make a decision: should they start looking for their next home, or stay and improve what they already have? We’ve put together a list of pros and cons for both options with the goal of helping you make the best decision for your situation.

The Scoop on Home Remodeling

Pre-2008, homeowners often bought a house, lived in it for a few years, then sold it at a healthy markup and used the profit to help finance the next step up. In today’s world, the market is most certainly a “buyer’s”, meaning that prices tend to stay stable across time and deals abound. For that reason, many homeowners are choosing to remodel their current home rather than try to sell.

The Pros:

  • Home renovation is generally cheaper than buying. This is especially true in the Bethesda, Upper Northwest DC, and Chevy Chase areas, where buying a new home is typically an expensive proposition. 
  • You’ll get exactly what you want. When house shopping, you’ll probably walk through many options, all with their own flaws, quirks, and perks. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a home that has everything you could ever want or need. There will always be something that isn’t quite right, and that you wish was different. 

However, when remodeling, you can be sure that your new-and-improved home meets all your needs and wants. The only other way to get the high degree of customizability renovating provides is to build a house from the ground up – and that’s stressful and expensive, to say the least! Plus, the perks of remodeling can be even better if you hire the right remodeling company.

  • You don’t have to worry about moving! Whether it’s just you, or you’re married with five children, moving is stressful – there’s just no way around it. Aside from the worry and stress that accompanies such a big life event, there’s also the financial implications to consider as well. 

Depending on how far you’ll be traveling, how many worldly possessions you’ll be taking with you, and whether or not you hire professional movers, the cost could quickly top several thousand dollars or more. Remodeling your home allows you to skip the high level of stress that moving induces and put that money towards something that will build the value of your biggest asset.

The Cons:

  • Renovations can be harder to finance than buying a new home. When house shopping, you have help nearly everywhere you turn – from banks to real estate agents and everything in between. Remodeling, however, is a different story. While financing is still available, it can be more difficult to get from a traditional source such as a bank. If you have strong credit, however, it may be possible to obtain a home equity line of credit (HELOC) which could be used to finance your renovation project.
  • There are some things you just can’t change. Often, the reason people look at buying a new home is because of a change in their needs. Paychecks fluctuate. Children arrive, necessitating more room. Or, children strike out on their own, making the house that was once the perfect size for a bustling family seem suddenly empty. While you can always add to a home, it’s easy for an addition to escalate quickly in design and price and suddenly to become impractical. It’s also virtually impossible to decrease the size of a home. 

Buying A New Home

There are many beautiful homes in the Bethesda area and all across the country, for that matter. Now is also a great time to buy a home in many places, since the market is generally on the buyer’s side. Here, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of buying a home rather than remodeling your current one.

The Pros:

  • You can get a fresh start. One of the most exciting things about moving is that you can reinvent yourself. With new neighbors, a new job, and new friends, you can more easily make changes like breaking old habits and starting new traditions. 
  • You don’t have to live through a renovation. In the vast majority of cases, home remodeling is worth the cost and inconvenience. But for a while, it is inconvenient. You will have strangers in your house working early in the morning and into the evening, causing a dramatic decrease in your privacy. And even the best remodeling companies can’t prevent the mess that comes with a renovation (though they can minimize it.)
  • House shopping is fun! It’s exciting to walk through homes, imagining how you would shape them to be your own. The rush of buying a new place and the first few weeks of waking up in it can feel like a fairy tale. Not much else compares except getting married and bringing home a new baby.

The Cons:

  • There are costs to selling your home. Usually, you’ll have to pay your agent’s commissions – one on the selling end and one on the buying end. Since those commissions are typically around 6%, they’ll quickly eat into the profit you make from selling. Earlier, we also mentioned the costs of moving, which can top $10,000 or more depending on your logistical needs.
  • Sometimes it can be difficult to sell your home. As previously discussed, it’s generally a buyer’s market out there. While there will always be exceptions, homes can sit on the market for a while before selling, which puts financial and emotional strain on you and your family. This is especially true if there are upcoming deadlines about which you need to make decisions, such as starting a new job or beginning a school year if you have children. 
  • You may be more emotionally attached than you realize. When talking real estate, we tend to focus on the financial and practical side of things. However, it’s important to take your emotions into account as well. Many people don’t realize how many memories they’ve made in their homes over the years. Shared laughter with friends, baby’s first steps, days and nights of work and play in the yard, and other events can make it difficult to leave. 

Have a question about home remodeling? Give us a call at (301) 263-9700 to speak with our design team! Curious about some of our past projects or want to get some ideas for your upcoming renovation? Browse through our portfolio for a little inspiration.