Perhaps you’re expecting a new baby, an elderly parent is moving in, your new job requires a home office, or you’re just sick of your house’s lack of space. There are myriad reasons Toronto homeowners feel the squeeze of a too-small house. If you’ve already de-cluttered, had an aggressive spring cleaning, and hosted a yard sale all to no avail, it may be time to consider either a home addition or relocation to another property. But how do you know which option is right for you? It’s a tough choice, and both have their fair share of difficulties and expenses.
Why Get a Home Addition?
1. Unbeatable Location
If you’re surrounded by beautiful views that look out onto a lake, abundant nature and trees, or low noise pollution, a better location might be difficult to find. After all, people spend millions living in a shoebox in the heart of the city simply because they love the location. Building a home addition will solve your space problem while allowing you to stay in the same place that you love.
2. Recent Renovations
If you’ve recently invested in a kitchen remodeling or bathroom renovation that you love, you might want to stick around to enjoy the fruits of your hard labour. It takes time to reshape a home into something that feels uniquely you, that reflects your personal aesthetic or fits your lifestyle to a tee, and starting over again from scratch can be difficult. Building a home addition allows you to leave your mark on the property and further customize your home to your liking.
3. One-of-a-Kind House
Your home may be perfect in every way from the layout to the central air system to the hardwood floors, except that you need more space. If you love mostly everything about your home, consider building a home addition instead of relocating. Every house is unique and you may not be able to find another space that speaks to you like your current home.
4. Pass on New House Remodeling
Unless you’re lucky enough to not have a strict budget, most homes on the market require some kind of renovation as soon as or before you can move in. It could be tweaks like new paint or carpeting or as extensive as plumbing repairs. Eventually, the little, or large, annoyances might not be worth the cost of buying a new home altogether.
1. Location, Location, Location
On the flipside, homes located in high-density areas with little to offer in the way of natural views or local culture may be better off sold. If you live near a highway, a train, or partying college kids who wake you up in the middle of the night, your problems are so much more than your home’s physical location. More space alone will do little to alter your unfavourable situation.
2. Neighbourhood Woes
Perhaps you moved to a certain neighbourhood as a couple that’s better known for its nightlife than its school system. If you have a child on the way, some of your priorities might be changing. Proximity to good schools, parks, stores, or perhaps family and friends often become even more important when you’re starting a family of your own.
3. Long-Term Space Solutions
If your need for more space isn’t temporary or could even increase in years to come, it could be a great time to buy a new home. If you’ll need a big home for the next 20 or more years, relocating may be worth the trouble.
4. Outdated House
Many homes haven’t been updated for the past 30 or more years, meaning that building a home addition could require extensive new wiring and plumbing, water damage repairs, a new HVAC system or roof, better insulation, and any number of upgrades throughout the entire house. These upgrades are expensive, sometimes even more so than selling and buying a new house.
5. Neighbourhood Price Out
Although a large addition might raise the selling price later on down the line, home prices are constrained by the neighbourhood they’re in. A house only increases in value up to 10% more than the neighbourhood average, meaning that if you’re aiming to increase by 20%, you could end up losing a lot.
If you’re really in a pickle, ask an expert to help you perform a cost analysis on building a home addition versus relocating. Depending on the current state of the housing market, it could be less expensive to sell than to improve, and it’s more difficult to estimate the costs of improving than of moving. Rising materials and labour prices are currently increasing the cost of construction, sometimes leading to very expensive home additions. In the end, it comes down to a gut feeling – just be sure you end up somewhere that feels like home.