To renovate or relocate? That is the question

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In the past few years, many of us have spent more time at home than ever before. We’ve had plenty of time to notice the kitchen that needs an overhaul, the roof that needs replacing, or the extra space needed for the baby on its way. We all know renovations are not cheap or easy though, which raises an important question: to renovate or relocate?

Living and working in your house while contractors tear up the basement or the bathroom might not sound like a lot of fun, but it can be worth it. By choosing to renovate, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful new space and know that you have helped increase the value of your home. On the other hand, if you’re able, it may be much more tempting to take the plunge and buy the house with your dream kitchen ready to go.

REALTOR® Umme Sardar has noticed a huge increase in DIY renovations in the past few years, with so many people have been stuck at home with time on their hands. She recommends a strategic approach to renovations.

“If an individual is looking to increase their home value to its maximum potential, the ideal space to renovate is either the washroom, kitchen, or any unused space like the basement,” Umme says.

She also recommends improving the front foyer. As the gateway to the home, even something as simple as a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in making it feel more welcoming.

This may all sound well and nice, but you’re likely wondering how to afford these sometimes-pricey renovations. Fortunately, credit unions are here to help make sense of this tangly mess with honest advice and helpful financial products.

For many people, credit unions’ Total Access Home Equity (TAHE) program is a great place to start. Available to homeowners with at least 20% equity in their homes, TAHE allows homeowners to leverage their equity to make the renovations they have been thinking about. As a bonus, homeowners taking advantage of the TAHE program don’t have to go through insurers and they can get a new appraisal to see if the value of their home has increased.

Umme says the red-hot real estate market in Atlantic Canada makes renovations even more attractive than usual.

“Consider the current market we are in—there is such an upward trend. I 100 per cent recommend renovating if you are looking to improve your home or increase its value.”

For homeowners interested in the TAHE program, credit unions are here to provide the right advice about using the program to best fit your personal and financial goals. Remember, renovations are as often about life changes—working from home, a growing family, the need for outdoor space—as they are about maximizing value.

For REALTORS® like Umme, renovating can be motivated by many factors.

“Our home is the space where we spend our maximum amount of our time. Your home is your castle—you can shut the door and the world’s problems fade. So, if the idea of renovation makes you happy, and you can afford it, absolutely go for it.”

And if you're going the renovations route, don't forget to do your homework before diving in.

Contact your nearest credit union to chat more.