Renovation vs. Relocation

Renovation vs. Relocation: Your Guide to Deciding Between a Remodel and a Move

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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You feel like your living situation could be better, and you have a few options in mind to improve it: relocating or remodeling. It can be hard to choose between knocking a few walls down in your current abode or starting fresh with a whole new place to hang your hat. Do you upgrade the home you already love or find a turnkey that fits your needs? Keep reading to learn about some of the elements in play to make the best decision possible.


It’s thrilling to daydream about all those perfect finishing touches you’ll use to make a new house feel like home. But moving can be expensive and time-consuming. Moving locally can cost over $80 an hour, while moving cross country can cost as much as $5000 or more depending on the size of your home and distance you have to go.

How much your move will cost will vary widely based on the services you need. If you’re moving out of state, you might benefit from hiring a vehicle transportation service. If you work long hours, you can hire the best interstate moving companies to complete the relocation process and take care of all the tedious packing for you. Consider all of your moving needs and how to meet them before you get started planning a budget and contacting professionals for quotes. 

Cost is also an essential thing to consider before renovating. A complete home renovation can cost as little as $15,000 and as much as $200,000, depending on the extent of the renovation and the quality of materials. A low-end renovation can be DIYed, while an extensive high-end renovation will require experts and teams of professionals. That said, a home renovation can also increase your home’s value, so it might be worth the investment if you plan to sell later down the line. 

Like moving, your potential cost will vary widely based on what you need to do, but starting a project could lead to unexpected expenses. If workers find a potential health hazard, like faulty wiring, while breaking down walls, that repair will take precedence. It automatically tacks on time and money to what might have been a simple renovation. 

If you accidentally turn over a stone while renovating, there’s no turning it back and forgetting about the problems you uncovered, so keep that in mind when budgeting for this option. Likewise, if you move and then regret it, it won’t be easy to return to how things were, so you should be sure before you put money toward one option or the other. 

The real estate market and mortgages

The real estate market will impact the value of your current home and the value of your future home. Selling is a great way to get out from under an oppressive mortgage, but will you save money by moving? If the answer is “yes,” then moving is a solid financial decision.

Consider how much you’ll need for a deposit and what you can expect your new mortgage payments to cost. A market that favors sellers may bring you more money, making your new home more expensive. Think about small renovations that can increase your return on investment (ROI), like a kitchen renovation if you want to sell.

Comfort and complications

Moving can be a hassle, on top of the expenses it brings with it. The packing process can be strenuous, and trying to settle into your new home is often as frustrating as it is exciting. But, it can mean an updated space that better suits your life.

Renovations can be even more displacing as you try to live your life around a construction zone. Living spaces disappear into clouds of plaster dust and under piles of stored supplies. The process can transform a home you like into one you love, but it might become a home you hate in the meantime. If living around the noise and clutter of a home reno isn’t possible or practical (for example, if you work from home and need quiet), then a renovation may not be the best choice for you. 

Final thoughts

Choosing whether to move or renovate is a personal decision with a laundry list of considerations and minutiae to consider before committing. The best decision balances financial planning and concerns with comfort. Remember that there isn’t a correct answer. There’s only the answer that will best suit you and your family for years to come. 

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Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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