Growing Families: Should You Add On or Move?


    When a young couple buys their first home, they generally view it as a starter home. In other words, it’s something they see themselves living in for a few years and eventually selling after their financial situation has improved and they can afford more space/features/etc.

    But then life happens.

    An unexpected pregnancy, a job change, a new development in the neighborhood…these things have a way of changing your situation, perspective, and motives. While you’re falling more in love with your home, there may be simultaneous factors pushing you away.

    As your family grows, suddenly you’re tasked with making a big decision. Do you add on to the home so that you can stay put? Or do you move in order to find more space for your clan? The answers to these questions aren’t always clear.

    5 Things You Need to Think About

    When your house is getting small, you essentially have three options. The first choice is to make do with what you have and just get used to living in tight quarters. Most people don’t like this option, so they look to the next two: add on to your exiting home, or move into a bigger house that fits your growing needs.

    As you weigh these latter two options, there are a number of factors to consider, including the following: 

    1. Sentimental Value

    There’s a ton of sentimental value associated with homes – especially if it’s your first house. While sentimental value doesn’t necessarily get factored into a home’s market value, it certainly plays a role in your internal decision-making process.

    If you were to move, would you forever regret the decision? Would you feel like you were abandoning your memories? While change is often good, there are times when it can produce negative side effects.

    If you’re struggling with the idea of moving, it may make more sense to stay put and add on. This gives you the best of both worlds – a bit of change without losing the sentimental value.

    1. Affordability

    The next thing to consider is affordability. There are a bunch of different angles, so be sure to weigh each of your options with all factors considered.

    • Adding on. When it comes to adding on, you need to think about your budget. How much money do you have to spend and how much additional square footage will that get you?
    • In terms of moving, how much square footage can you afford? If you’re buying back into the same market, then you’re probably going to have to compromise on other things – like modern features – in order to get the space you want.

    Every situation is unique, but a failure to think about the affordability of a move could bite you – regardless of which choice you make. 

    1. More Room vs. More Rooms 

    Are you looking for more room or more rooms? While this may seem like a redundant question, there’s actually a pretty significant difference between the two.

    If you’re looking for more room, there are lots of things you can do to make your existing house functional. This could look like tearing down a wall and opening up the living area, removing an island to make the kitchen seem more spacious, adding on a screened porch, or transforming attic space into a home office or niche.

    If you need more bedrooms, your options are much more limited. You’ll either have to find a way to add square footage on to the home, or you’ll need to move. In many cases, moving is much more cost-effective. 

    1. Cost Analysis

    It’s a smart idea to run a cost analysis to figure out which decision makes more financial sense. While an add-on can be expensive, moving is also pretty costly.

    When you sell your house and buy another one, you have to think about the costs associated with fixing up the house and preparing it to sell, paying realtor commissions, the costs of finding a new mortgage, closing costs, and moving costs.  This will add up to thousands of dollars and may turn a practical move into an unrealistic option. 

    1. Limitations

    If you’re giving serious consideration to staying put and adding square footage to your current home, you’ll need to think about some of the limitations and challenges you may encounter. For example:

    • Just because you have unused space on your lot, doesn’t mean you can build there. You’ll need to study the zoning restrictions and/or setback laws in your area to see if you’re limited in what you can do.
    • If your home falls under the control of an HOA, there may be certain hoops you have to jump through in order to perform an addition.
    • It’s never a good idea to over-improve your house. While you may spend $50,000 adding a new bedroom and bathroom, you may actually price yourself out of the neighborhood. This could result in a pretty poor ROI when it eventually comes time to sell. 

    All or none of these factors may come into play in your situation. However, it’s important that you go ahead and deal with any potential issues like these as early in the process as possible.

    Green Residential: Houston’s Real Estate Expert

    At Green Residential, we understand how important home is to you. It’s where you spend time with your family, make memories, rest and relax, entertain friends, and invest your time, money, energy, and love.

    Whether you choose to remain in the same house for 25 years, or you frequently move around in order to accommodate the needs of your growing family, we understand that every homeowner has their own preferences, needs, and desires.

    If you do eventually come to the decision that it’s time to sell, we’re here to help you through the process. And because we operate on a flat rate, you could potentially save thousands by working with Green Residential. Contact us today to find out more!

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