Should I stay or should I go?

No we’re not talking about that rockin’ song by The Clash.

We’re referring to the dilemma over moving vs renovating.

Maybe it’s a question that you’ve been asking yourself recently. Perhaps you’ve realized that your home doesn’t work anymore for an aging or chronically ill family member, or you’ve started thinking about what the future holds for you in retirement and beyond.

Moving may seem to be the simpler solution at the outset but once you start to look closer it might not be the answer.

Depending where you live the prices of new homes could be prohibitively high. For instance, in the second quarter of 2018 the median price of a two-story home in Victoria was $863,206. And since there’s no guarantee that another house will be accessible you could still potentially need to make some changes to the home. Which means investing even more money.

So rather than selling and moving, the answer may lie in remodeling your existing home. Especially if you’re well established in a fantastic neighbourhood close to amenities, family, and friends, and have little to no mortgage remaining.

In fact, according to The Canadian Press ‘a new study finds that some 80 per cent of Canadian baby boomers plan to stay put in their homes in the next five years as a majority consider their local housing market unaffordable for retirement’.


Important Renovation Factors

If you’re considering renovating your current home these are a few things to keep in mind:

Professional help

#1) Get Professional Help – Investing in professional help is money well spent. Consider hiring an architect, interior designer, project manager and contractor. These professionals will alleviate your stress, and keep the build on time and on budget.  Do your homework and interview each of these people making sure to discuss your plans and explain your requirements clearly. Ensure you have detailed contracts with them so everybody knows what the expectations are.

#2) Plan Ahead – A remodel/renovation will take time and resources and should be planned out and well considered. Make sure you’ve done your research and are totally satisfied with the changes to be made, and with the fixtures and fittings that have been chosen. Changing things at the last minute can have a domino effect and delay the next trades-people, not to mention it may cost you more money, and cause frustration to everyone involved. Of course changes during building are inevitable, but the smaller they are the less disruptive and less expensive they’ll be.

#3) Move Out – Depending on the scope of your project, you may not be able to live in your home during the work. Renovations are disruptive, dirty, noisy, and stressful and it’s best to be able to get away from it all at the end of the day.

Plan for the season

#4) Time Frame – It’ll probably take longer than expected so you may want to give yourself a couple of extra months in your temporary rented accommodation. You also might not want to make Christmas your move-in deadline, as you’ll most likely be extra disappointed if you don’t make that. TIP: If you plan on storing a lot of your clothes, pay attention to the seasons that your renovation is happening over. You don’t want to get stuck without your warm coat during a cold winter. Brrrrrr.

#5) Project Budget – Make sure you are well aware of what the whole project will cost you. Building material prices continue to rise on a weekly basis and you may be surprised at what your money doesn’t buy you these days. A good contractor will be able to give you a very accurate estimate on your renovation cost. TIP: Remember to be very clear and precise as to what you are looking for in order to get a price that accurately reflects your expectations.

Contingency budget

#6) Contingency Budget – It’ll probably cost more than you think it will, so put some extra money aside. An amount of 5-10% is generally recommended. A contingency budget is money set aside to cover unexpected costs during the construction process. If you’re renovating an older home it’s very difficult to know what you’re going to discover within the walls and floors. You could find all sorts of hidden problems with wiring, plumbing, foundation, asbestos, etc. that may need to be remediated before being able to move ahead with the new building works.

Action Plan

Expand your knowledge of the importance of accessible design with these blog postings:

5 Ways to Future Proof Your Home

Why Accessible Design Should be the new Normal.

Most Important Places to Apply Accessible Design.