Fight or Flight? Your guide for deciding to stay or sell your home
Do I stay or do I go?
“This question is practically as old as the mortgage,” Douglas Elliman agent Josh Rubin said of the decision between moving and renovating.
Despite the ease of having new decor and construction project supplies delivered from Amazon the next day, most New York City homeowners spend more time deciding between the two options than actually getting something done. In a recent report from StreetEasy and the renovation service Sweeten, 58% of New Yorkers surveyed said their houses could use some updating, and 18% said they need a major overhaul. In some cases, however, it makes sense to scrap the whole idea and relocate to a new space that already has a double vanity and everything else you’ve been eyeing on Wayfair.
Here are some tips to help you make a decision and move forward with your life – ahem, home:
The #1 Sign You Should Stay – Renovation Potential
Generally speaking, if a homeowner likes the layout, size and location of their property and just wants an updated kitchen, bathroom(s) and maybe a new floor, it would make sense to renovate,” Compass agent Martin Eiden advised.
Other reasons include wanting to choose all the specific colors and materials for your space, really loving your current neighborhood and having your digs updated typically faster than if you were to relocate, noted the Sweeten and StreetEasy study. In New York City, a full apartment renovation, from the front door all the way back to your second bedroom/study/spare closet/cats’ play space, takes about four months, the report found. Moving, however, requires an average of five.
“Some of our clients renovate to sell, [especially] when the condition of their homes will negatively impact resale value,” he added. In that case, “the best return can come from a simple fresh coat of paint.”
When It’s Better To Bail
Contrary to popular belief, and despite the notoriously high housing prices, it’s often cheaper to move in New York City than it is to renovate. While it costs an average of $60,000 to relocate in the five boroughs, that’s $18,000 cheaper than the average price of a full apartment restoration, according to the StreetEasy and Sweeten report.
If your current square footage is simply not enough, that’s another indication that moving is the right choice, Rubin explained. “If you’re renovating hoping to get more space, and you’re in an apartment, the bad news is you’re always going to have the same amount of space,” he said.
And if you’re looking to do more than replace tiles and countertops, it may be best to save yourself the headache of filing for permits and hiring contractors, Eiden added.
“If they want to ‘re-imagine the space’ by tearing down walls and rearranging rooms, it is better to sell and buy something else,” he said. “I have seen too many people over-renovate, then have to sell at a loss.”
Authored by Heather Senison