Moving vs improving

If you've fallen out of love with where you're living then you have to decide whether to "do up" or "sell up".

Not enough bedrooms for your growing family? The layout not working for you and your children? Or maybe you’re just sick of the avocado bath suite?

The house that was once your dream home can quickly start to look more like a nightmare.

So is it time to pack up your belongings and seek the space you crave elsewhere, or could you fall back in love with your home if it was given a little (or a lot) of TLC?

To help you choose between doing up and selling up we’ve taken a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of both options.

Improving

The good: You can put your own stamp on your home and add value

Renovating your home allows you to put your own stamp on it and make sure the space really works for you and your family. You can think about exactly what it is you need, and make changes you know will make your life easier, whether that’s an updated kitchen, creating an extra room in the loft or knocking down a wall to create a family-friendly kitchen-diner.

Plus, any money you spend on improvements can add to your property’s value in the long term. Just remember to be aware of your area’s ceiling price - the maximum amount a similar house has sold for in your area.

The bad: There's some things you just can't change

Sadly you can’t pick up your house and move it so if there are things you don’t like about your neighbourhood or location - such as poor schools or a long commute – you’ll still be stuck with them.

The ugly: Coping with the destruction

Even seemingly simple renovations can cause a lot of mess and major changes like a loft renovation or extension can lead to chaos for months. If you do any work in your kitchen you may become well acquainted with the local takeaway if your cooker is out of action.

Moving

The good: You get a shiny new home

You may be able to find the perfect property at the right price in the right location. If you can afford it, you'll be able to buy somewhere bigger, without the chaos of builders and the accompanying brick dust.

You could find something ready to move into with a layout and set up that suits your household's needs better. You could end up with more space, a bigger garden in a better area.

The bad: You may still have to do some work

How many houses have you seen on the market, in your price range, that you’d be happy to keep exactly as they are? You could move and still find yourself with work to do, whether it’s just giving some rooms a lick of paint or bigger jobs like fitting a new kitchen.

The ugly: the cost

The costs of moving soon add up and the money doesn’t go into the long term value of your home. You'll have to pay Stamp Duty, which is a tax based on a percentage of the property's value. Typical estate agent fees can be anything between 0.75% and 3.5% of the selling price and run into thousands. Plus there are solicitors’ fees and even the price of hiring a van to consider.

The verdict?

It’s a tough one. Before you stick the for sale sign up or get the builders in you need to think carefully about what it is you’re looking for from your home and how much money you can afford to spend.

Still stuck? It’s also worth asking the experts. Get quotes from local tradesmen and the planning office to see what improvements are realistic and ask your local estate agent to send you details of houses that meet your requirements. Good luck!

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