Love It or List It?

You have probably seen the popular HGTV show “Love It or List It”, and if you’re like my family, made your own judgements on whether the couple should stick it out with their current home and all its quirks or move on to a property that better meets their needs.

Over the years, a lot of us find ourselves in this predicament.  We are not the family we once were when we purchased our home.  And as our families grow, our needs obviously change. So, we ask ourselves… should we put a little TLC into our current home, or do we call our favorite real estate agent and make a move?

According to, here are seven questions you need to ask yourself, and your family, before deciding to “Love It or List It”.

1. Is Your Home in Your Heart?

Emotional attachment is real and has great value. Do you have friends or family nearby? Do you love the school district you’re in, and thoroughly enjoy your family walks around the neighborhood in the evenings? What is your attachment to your home, and do you really want to leave?

2. Can You Budget Realistically?

If you are planning for a renovation, make sure to calculate ALL the costs associated with the project – contractor time, labor, upgrading materials, unplanned issues that may arise – it adds up. Versus the costs associated with selling and buying a home – preparing the house for sale, repairs, closing costs and moving. It pays to take the time, do your research and plan accordingly.

3. More Room or Rooms?

Do you need more space or just a better layout? A spacious home with limited bedrooms can often convert an unused office or bonus room into the extra room you need. It may benefit you to contact a designer to see if a reconfiguration can solve your space problems, or if a renovation job wouldn’t make sense with the space you have.

4. Is the Problem Too Big to Solve?

Does your current home have an issue that only a move will correct? Such as having neighbors you no longer can tolerate, or the local school cannot meet your family’s needs? Maybe your family has had a life-changing event and now you can no longer afford the mortgage payment. Sometimes you only have one choice to do the responsible thing.

5. How Long Will a Renovation Take?

A family that takes on a renovation should be realistic about the project’s timetable. A bathroom renovation can require a month or two, and kitchen remodel may last up to three to six months. Have an honest conversation with your contractor about how long he thinks the project will last (then add another month for good measure).

6. Will You Earn Back Upfront Costs?

It’s a good practice to determine what your return on investment will be whether you renovate or sell. Upgrading a kitchen or adding a bedroom can improve the value of your home and you may manage to recover 80 to 90 percent of the remodeling costs, but adding a sunroom or building a pool may not recoup any costs at all.  

If you decide to make a move instead, ask yourself how long your family will be living in your new home, as it traditionally takes over five to seven years to earn back the upfront costs of moving.

7. Would You Be Over-Improving?

If you take the plunge and decide to add that fifth bedroom and extra square footage, remember that it is possible to “over-improve” your house within the neighborhood. An over-improved home may not yield the return you would expect once you decide to move later.

So, whether you are leaning towards remodeling or putting that “For Sale” sign in your yard, do your homework. Many in the remodel-or-move mindset decide to stay put typically because something is holding them back, such as loving their location or loathing the moving process. Yet others like the adventure of packing up and moving on.

Which one are you??