To Renovate or Relocate – Managing Your Growing Family

Having a growing family is a dream for so many parents, as it was for my brother. After getting married to his wife, they had it all — two kids, a cat, and a great white Suburban to tote everyone around. Eventually, my brother spread the news that they were expecting a third child! But one detail could potentially throw a wrench into their perfect life: their house. 

A house that had perfectly accommodated their family unit suddenly became too tight for another addition. As such, my brother faced an impossible decision: move away from the house that had become a home, or make drastic renovations to fit their new family. For him, they ultimately decided to stay in their current house, partially due to the unstable housing market and rising interest rates. However, watching this decision be made in real-time made me wonder about all the pros and cons that go into this decision, especially since so many families go through this decision for a variety of circumstances. 

So, how do you decide? What should you do to make sure your growing family can stay comfortable no matter where you live?

The Rewards of Renovation

If you’re like my brother, one of the biggest motivators behind renovating is the sentimental attachment you may have to a home, especially as you start raising kids there. So, even if space is starting to get tight, renovating can help you hold onto those precious memories while giving you more of what your growing family needs. 

Although he is still learning the ropes of remodeling and renovating with little ones around, I’ve found in my research and observation that you can make it work for your family by: 

  • Letting your kids get involved in different choices (room colors, etc.)
  • Scheduling major renovations when kids are at daycare or preschool
  • Keeping your kids entertained
  • Planning ahead
  • Keeping a regular routine
  • Working with the right contractors who understand your situation

Renovating allows you to keep the things you already love about your home and add to them. You can stick with the theme you already have, which tends to make everyone more comfortable. 

As mentioned earlier, renovating is also likely more cost-effective than moving somewhere new. If you’re a family on a tight budget, that can make your final decision easier. When it comes to evaluating if this decision is worth it, it’s up to you to decide what is best for your family. For my brother, renovation was the best choice, but his family is all about getting their hands dirty and doing creative projects together. 

You’ll also have to consider time and convenience in addition to your finances, so make sure you’re weighing out those options before you decide to use a hammer to tear down a wall or push in a “for sale” sign. 

The Magic of Moving

With a pregnant wife expecting another child, my brother was hesitant to find another house due to the complicated process of moving. Moving is often considered one of the most stressful life events someone can go through — even more so when you have little ones involved! However, if you don’t want to wait around on renovations, or you’re ready for a fresh start somewhere, it could be the best option for your family. 

If you’re able to sell your current home and make a profit, moving could even be cheaper, depending on the market. 

It’s also often better to move if you want to upgrade your location. As your kids get older and start school, you’ll want to live in an area with a safe neighborhood and a successful school district. If your current location doesn’t offer that, it’s something to consider when making your decision. 

In the end, there’s no one ideal solution for every family. What benefited my brother may ultimately be his neighbor’s worst nightmare. There are benefits and potential drawbacks to both moving and renovating. The most important things to consider are:

  • Your budget
  • Your time
  • The amount of work needed
  • Customization preferences
  • Current housing market

Additionally, keep in mind that the decision you make now doesn’t have to be set in stone forever. Although my brother is deciding to stay in the house he is in now, he can always move in the future when the market is more favorable and sell his house at a higher price.  Others may find that moving can grant access to a larger space at a faster pace, which grants them the ability to customize and decorate the house quicker. 

Most importantly, this decision-making process made me realize that although my brother did what was right for him and his family, I also know that he could’ve easily made a different choice based on his circumstances and experience. If he didn’t have all the family and support he has now to help and babysit his kids while he undergoes renovations, he might’ve been more inclined to move. With this in mind, think about your life now and in the future. By balancing both of these considerations, you’ll be able to live in the house of your dreams without causing undue stress to your whole family.