It’s a scenario we see over and over: A couple moves into a bungalow in the city. There’s plenty of room – until the children come along. Suddenly the space is as overstuffed and chaotic as a car full of clowns at the circus. The question quickly arises: Do we move to a bigger house or pop the top on our current home?
There are no easy answers to this question, but plenty of considerations to think through. Here are a few pros and cons:
If you stay where you are, you can:
- Keep the same neighbors, neighborhood and schools. This is a big plus, provided you are happy with the area and your children are thriving in school.
- Get the exact design you want: You will be starting from scratch in many ways and can choose all facets of the new design, whereas finding a bigger existing home will always involve compromises.
- Possibly get more for your money: Many times, popping the top will improve the home beyond what you could afford in the same neighborhood. For example, if you live in a $400,000 home and put on a $300,000 addition, you can create a two-story home with 4-5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a 2-car garage. Many of those homes don’t exist in some city neighborhoods, and if they do, they are likely to cost more than $700,000. If you choose other city neighborhoods that seem to offer more affordable larger homes, such as Lowry or Stapleton, you will find that taxes, insurance and HOA fees often raise the price outside of that range as well.
If you stay where you are, you will:
- Have the inconvenience of being uprooted while the renovations are in progress; typically, this can be up to one year. You will also incur the expenses of living somewhere else, while still paying the mortgage on the house you’re renovating.
- Deal with contractors, who are notorious for coming in late and over budget on a project.
- Likely incur the expense and stress of obtaining a new loan to cover the construction costs. Such loans can be difficult to obtain, as lenders closely scrutinize the project and your ability to repay the loan on top of the existing mortgage.
- Spend an inordinate amount of time making decisions, large and small — everything from style of light fixtures and kitchen cabinets to outlet coverings and paint finish. While some people thrive with this type of challenge, others find it worrisome and exhausting.
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RE/MAX of Cherry Creek
Denver real estate