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Meeting your family's changing needs: relocation or renovation, part 2

Sometimes, a new house in a new neighborhood might be a better option for your situation than renovating your current home.
5/24/2017 12:24:26 PM

Over time, your family will change - it's unavoidable. As this happens, your housing needs might evolve with your growing family. Maybe you're welcoming an aging parent into your home, or the doctor just told you you're having twins. In any case, you may find your current home is too small or ill-suited for your changing lifestyle.

When this happens, you have two basic options. You can stay where you are and make renovations to meet your changing needs, perhaps by adding a bedroom or revamping the attic and converting it into a playroom. With programs like the Fannie Mae HomeStyle loan, these choices are easily attainable for many homeowners. Or, you can buy a new home that already meets your needs.

While both options are valid, sometimes a new house in a new neighborhood might be a better option for your situation than renovating your current home. Here are a few examples when this might be true:

Renovation isn't possible or doesn't make sense

Certain renovations may be hard on a given property. For example, say your changing priorities create a need for an extra bedroom, bathroom or a larger family room. This may call for an expansion, but if your yard space is limited, building your home outward may not be feasible. A homeowner might consider renovating the basement into a new bedroom or a mother-in-law suite, but if the cellar is prone to flooding, has a dangerously low ceiling or other foundational flaws, addressing these challenges may require more time and money than they're worth, MoneySense pointed out.

While some homes face insurmountable obstacles to renovations, others take to upgrades really well. However, there is such a thing as too much remodeling, Bankrate pointed out. Will your newly remodeled home look like a mansion among starter houses? If so, chances are the people home shopping in your neighborhood might not be looking for a house quite like yours when it comes time for you to sell, which will make recouping the costs of your hard work a challenge.

Local rules make renovating a challenge

Usually, when a homeowner makes major changes to a home, he or she needs to obtain a permit to do so. This allows the local government to ensure that changes you make aren't infringing on your neighbors or decreasing the value of the homes around you. In some cases, your plans can be turned down. If you live in a historic home or neighborhood, you may not be permitted to make the changes you need, pointed out. Owners of historic homes generally can't add square feet or another story, for example.

You might make out in the sale

Though being a buyer in today's real estate environment can be frustrating, a seller may have a different perspective. With limited inventory available, putting your home up for sale could attract determined homebuyers willing to move fast and increase their offers. According to NAR, in March, homes only lasted an average of 34 days on the market, an 11-day decrease from February. Further, prices increased 6.8 percent year over year to a median of $236,400.

Construction will take too long or be too stressful

The choice to renovate is followed by several months or even more than a year, in some cases, to complete, The Washington Post pointed out. During this time, your home may have makeshift walls, sawdust on the floor and construction crews hammering away during the day. For many, such as those who work from home offices, this is too much of a nuisance for their lifestyle. Or, if your parents and soon-to-be housemates need to change their living situation sooner rather than later, a renovation may not be a quick enough solution.

Knowing the best way to meet your family's changing housing needs isn't always simple or clear. Luckily, homeowners today have excellent options for an affordable renovation loan or a new residential mortgage. While one might be a better choice for a family than another, both are available when you work with Academy Mortgage.

Academy Mortgage is one of the top independent purchase lenders in the country as ranked in the 2015 CoreLogic Marketrac Report. Visit to find a loan, get a rate, or calculate your payment today.