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Remodel Or Move?

WITH THE STABLE ECONOMY AND low interest rates this is a question on many minds of many. There are pros and cons to both- and here are a few to think about as you consider your next steps.

First and foremost, know that moving is hard work and can be costly. Begin by asking yourself: what will suit your current lifestyle, while thinking about time horizons-do you want to stay 5 years, 10 years? Is the move fueled by a desire to find your "forever home"? Making a list of wants vs. needs on paper is very helpful does it sound achievable within your budget? With moving, lower interest rates may enable you to get more new house for your money and possibly sell your existing house easier: however, you do have to weigh the costs involved. In addition to moving costs there are the costs to the mortgage company which may include prepaid points, a house inspection, and numerous miscellaneous closing costs, which may add as much as an additional 5% to the cost of the new house. Then there are the multitude of costs associated with making an old house into your new house your own-- paint, furniture, window fixtures, hardware, etc. -the list will go on and on. It is important to keep these costs in mind during your search. You will also need to take time and spend money making your existing home as sellable as possible. In addition to sweat equity, there may be painting, landscaping, electrical, plumbing and small construction needs. As someone who is going through the same decision I am beginning by working in my own house "as if", meaning as if we are moving. There is something to be said for lightening the load, and feeling organized. Hey... it's time for spring cleaning in any case!

Beware, if staying in your existing home or buying a pre-owned home, remodeling is not for the faint of heart. Know in advance that no matter how carefully you plan, what contractor you use, that costs and timelines may exceed budgets by at least 20-30%. During construction you will have to live with strangers in your home, dust and messes everywhere, and the impossibility of finding anything. If you are looking to remodel your kitchen add the costs of eating out every night in addition to the hit to your waistline, and quite possibly, health and energy levels. If you have a significant other, ask if your relationship can survive the stress! All during the process there will be constant problems, work interruptions, and disappointments. And know that when you finally begin to see the light at the tunnel the town will step in extinguish all enthusiasm by asking for permits, inspections and alterations to the plan to suit their zoning codes.

I give you the above points gained from my own experience as well as those of family and friends. Hopefully going into the process with your eyes open will enable you to make the right decision for you and yours. With that being said, if you are still reading and not hiding under your bed I would like to conclude by wishing you luck with your decision as well as the outcome. Once the nightmare is over, the dream begins!

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