Move or Improve: Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Back to all articles

August 9th, 2022
Ready To Sell Your Home Blog

The reasons why homeowners ask this question are too numerous to mention, which is why so many people start quizzing themselves over the whole move or improve conundrum. From simply needing more space (or downsizing) to wanting a more modern home (or getting an inherited home off your hands) and everything in between, the ‘renovate or sell as-is’ dilemma is something many people face every year.


So, what’s the deal? Is there a straightforward, one-size-fits-all formula that will solve the dilemma once and for all? Unfortunately no, but there are a few things you can ask yourself to get a better idea of whether ‘do up’ or ‘sell up’ suits you best.


Before we list the things you need to consider, let’s quickly run through the pros and cons of both “moving” and “improving”:


Moving Houses Pros & Cons


First, Let’s Discuss Selling Your Home:



  • A fresh start – Moving to a new home can often feel like a new beginning. Not only will your home be new to you, your immediate surroundings, and the people you meet will be too.

  • The choice is yours – Providing you’re not under pressure to move immediately, you can take your time and look for the right property in the right area with the right amenities nearby or far away, depending on your preference.The choice is yours – Providing you’re not under pressure to move immediately, you can take your time and look for the right property in the right area with the right amenities nearby or far away, depending on your preference.

  • No contractor chaos – This is a big one, and probably the main reason why people choose to sell as-is rather than renovate. Having builders in your home while you’re still living there is no fun and a major inconvenience.

  • Feel the relief – This is something that we hear pretty often as members of the real estate industry. Many people decide to sell as-is to have that weight off their shoulders and move on faster without the hassles.


  • Your work may not be over – Not everyone who moves will be lucky enough to find a property that they can simply put their belongings in and be done with it. In fact, for many, the work begins once they move in. This isn’t always the case, as it depends on your situation, but it can happen.

  • Moving to a new home can be costly – It’s an unfortunate truth: selling a home and moving into a new home isn’t cheap, unless you sell as-is of course. Once all the various fees have been paid and the negotiations are complete, the final amount can easily run higher than you originally expected.

  • Leaving can be tough – Even if you’re moving just a few streets away, sometimes leaving a place you’ve lived in for many years can be an extremely emotional process. Close proximity to the familiar like stores, neighbors, friends, family, and/or school, can all make it hard to leave.


Home Improvement Pros & Cons


On The Flipside, Let’s Discuss Renovating Your Home:



  • Renovating could (potentially) cost less than buying a new home – Don’t get us wrong, making major changes to your property is by no means cheap, but when it comes to simple side-by-side comparisons, doing slight modifications on your current home will likely be less costly than buying a new one.

  • Home value maximization – If there are things that can be improved, doing so will add value to your property. This will give you the best return on investment, in terms of capital growth, should there be an uplift in the market.

  • You already know the area – Providing you’re happy where you are (and we’re going to assume you must be if you’re considering renovating instead of moving), staying put can be a huge tick on the pro-renovation side of your move or improve balance sheet.

  • You can really make your home your own – While we always advise sellers not to go too crazy with personalized customizations or “trends”, deciding to improve your current property does allow you to really put your individualized preferences on your home.


  • The process is far from fun – While it may be exciting to plan and dream of what you can do with your current property, in reality the actual work side of things can be extremely stressful. Many choose to move out entirely whilst the renovation is being completed, but that’s not always possible or practical.

  • The new can make the old look really old – If you’re planning on adding an extension to the property, or even remodeling your kitchen or bathroom, it’s worth bearing in mind that the addition of a brand new part of your home can potentially make the rest look tired or worn out. This can often lead to feeling more work needs to be done and more expense further down the road.

  • Projected costs are very rarely final costs – For whatever reason, renovation estimates are habitually wide of the mark… at times they are not even in the same ballpark! Be prepared to go over budget.


Questions To Ask Before Making Your Final Decision


Now that we’ve had a look through the pros and cons of both moving and improving, you might already have an idea of which way you’re leaning towards. To make sure your final decision is sound, ask yourself the following questions:


Do I really want to move?

  • This may sound silly, but knowing whether or not you’re really ready to move is vital and should be a main component of your final decision. If you’re in any way unsure, staying put, even if it’s just for now, is likely the right decision.

  • Conversely, however, if you are absolutely certain that you want out, selling your home
    is your only real option. No matter how grand the renovation, if you’re already unhappy
    where you are, this is unlikely to change with the addition of a shiny new renovation.

What is my budget telling me?

  • Regardless of whether you decide to move or improve, unless you sell as-is, you’re going to need money.

Do you have the funds in place to follow through with your decision?

  • Moving home will incur a lot of ‘dead money’, such as fees and charges, but renovation work will require a huge outlay as well. While it’s certainly true that improving your home is an investment rather than a cost, you will only reap the reward from it if and when you sell.

How important is your current location?

  • This is something we touched upon in the pros and cons, but it’s worth reiterating. If you love your current location but need more space, for example, then a renovation may well be the way to go. However this of course depends on your individual situation.

Is your property actually suitable for renovation?

  • This is a surprising question for some, but not all properties are able to be renovated in the ways their owners want them to be. Some may have already pushed the boundaries, so will be unlikely to gain planning permission, while others will lose character and charm once changes have been made, often causing the homeowner to fall out of love with the home altogether.

Knowing just what can and can’t be done should be considered before making a final decision. Talk to a contractor or an architect to get professional advice.

Can you do both?

  • Yes, it’s an option and it’s one that is gaining in popularity. Many homeowners are now making major home improvements with the sole intention of selling up and moving on to their next chapter.

If you’re willing to go through the hassle of renovating and have the time to do so, improving your home with a mind to sell could up the value and desirability of your property considerably. Choosing this route will increase the interest level from prospective buyers once work has been completed and could help you raise enough funds to put yourself in a better position to move at a later date. Definitely worth considering if you are in a position to do so.


Final Thoughts


So, to move or improve will depend on a number of different factors, as you can see. A large part of your decision will be financial, but don’t overlook the emotional aspect either. You likely have many memories in this home and feel very attached to it. Everyone involved will be affected by the route you decide to take, so you should go through all the pros and cons together to see if you can find common ground to base your final decision upon.


A Simple, Stress Free Option: Homestead Road


At Homestead Road, we buy homes in any condition, as-is so you don’t have to even think about updates and all the cleaning, repairs and decluttering. In addition, there are no showings or open houses. Quite simply, we know selling a home can be a lot of work, time, and money and we are simply here to help homeowners move forward, faster so they can get on with their lives. We use a streamlined and transparent process where you'll be working personally with one of our home sales advisors who live in and know your local community. Best of all, we put your needs first and work on your timeline.