Should I Remodel?

Should I Remodel?

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Should I Remodel?

Published at March 27 2024 by JFord

Don’t those remodeling shows make it look so easy? Fifteen minutes and a montage later and your home looks like it just popped off the pages of Martha Stewart Living. Remodeling takes a bit more work than those bubbly hosts would have you think.

The plan featured above is our Austin Ridge (MEN 5195) plan.

Should you remodel?

That’s the big question. Should you remodel or should you just buy a new home? That depends entirely on you. The benefits to remodeling the home you live in are that you get to customize it how you want it to be and you can do it slowly over time. The benefit to buying a new home is that the work is already done. You just have to move in and enjoy it.

As a third option, did you know that Nelson Design Group can design a custom home for you or help redesign your existing home. Kind of the best of both worlds, but I digress.


Location is probably the deciding factor in most real estate decisions. Even if you don’t like anything about the home, if the location is great you’re going to consider a remodel. If your home needs work, but you love the schools and the neighborhood, you are more likely to tip toward a remodel.

Conversely, I have seen people hate their homes simply because of where they were. I have a friend who took a job in Southern Arkansas. She had a gorgeous house with all the bells and whistles. She hated it. It took me a little while to figure out why. The town she was in has a paper mill. Paper mills produce the most obnoxious smells. That smell has permeated the town. She moved about 15 miles away to a much smaller house and loves it. Location makes all the difference.


Another key factor is the value of the home. Property values are based on the houses around them as well as the condition of your property. Take a look at your property value and those of the properties around you. Are they going up? Are they coming down?

If the property values are going up, then it makes sense to make your home’s value go up. Usually a remodel will do that. Sometimes a new home and a fresh start is a good choice; however, If prices are going down, it depends on how drastic of a change it is.


Privacy is a huge factor is deciding whether to move or to remodel. Unless you are lucky enough to have the funds available for a move before you sell your home, you’re going to have to sell it while you live there.

That means real estate agents and people coming to look at the home are going to see everything in your home. They’re going to open closets and cabinets, look in the bathroom and just poke around your home. They’re not trying to be nosy. They just want to see if your home is a good fit.

With a remodel, even if you hire a contractor, you’ll be able to control how much of your private lives other people see. If you are a very private person, this may be a better option for you.


When you are thinking about remodeling or buying a new home, look at what you are wanting. Do you want a totally new design or just something added in? Are you looking for the extras like maybe a bigger bathtub, new countertops or a pool? You’ll need to weigh whether you want to live in a home that is under construction or just buy a home with all of the goodies already included.

Renovation Costs vs. Moving Costs

Let’s get real; sometimes your decision boils down to money. For a renovation, you’ll need to calculate the cost of doing the work. Check online to see if you can find a baseline for your particular projects. Once you do that you can contact subcontractors in your area to see how much they would charge, if you don’t want to try to do it yourself.

Armed with the foreknowledge of the baseline number allows you to see if they are overcharging. Subcontractors will generally charge between 15% to 25% for a job based on how much work is involved.

Moving may seem cheaper, but it costs money, too. A new home will involve a new mortgage which could mean a down payment and closing costs. Selling your current home will liquidate some assets, but unless you’re selling it yourself the real estate agent will get a sales commission. Usually a sales commission is between 10% and 20%.

When it is actually time to move, you’ll have to pay some sort of cost for that. Whether you pay a moving company or you rent a truck and do it yourself, you’re still out of pocket. Then there is missing work to take care of the utilities and setting up with the entertainment companies.

Tax Increase

If you are moving to a better home or simply making your current home better, you are more than likely increasing your property’s value. That means your property tax will increase. Make sure you are prepared for it so it doesn’t catch you by surprise.


Everyone knows you can get a loan to buy a house. Did you know you can also get one for home improvement? There are actually two different kinds. There are loans available, like the FHA 203k, which allows you to buy a home and fix it up. These loans give you more than the asking price, but they expect you to use it for home improvement. The other type of loan is just a regular loan aimed at home improvement projects.

Do the Remodel Yourself?

So you’ve decided to go ahead with remodel. Should you do it yourself? If you feel you have the expertise or your project is small, yes, go for it. I’ll be posting another article soon about the steps you’ll take doing a remodel yourself.


A couple of things before you get started: permits and inspections. The rule of thumb on whether or not you get a permit is if the work is going to change the structure of the home or its going to raise the value of your home, you’re going to need a permit.

The price of a permit is usually based on the cost of the project. It’s usually around 10% of the price of the project. Not all areas require you to have a permit. You definitely need to contact the local planning office in your community to find out.


These go hand in hand with permits. Once you have a permit, you’ll have to have the work inspected before you can move on. Even if you don’t have to have a permit, it’s a good idea to have an inspector come out and take a look at your work.

While that may seem like it’s a daunting idea to face, the reality is that inspectors just want to make sure your home is safe. If you skip an inspections, you run the risk of having an unsafe home and nobody wants that.


If doing the work by yourself makes you nervous, you can always hire a subcontractor. A subcontractor will be able to handle the permits, inspections and take care of the work for you. There are generally 3 types of contractors.

Guy with a Truck

This is the largest population of subcontractors – the guy with the truck. These guys are usually newer to the business but are able to do the work fairly quickly. They’re usually a jack of all trades and able to do a little bit of everything. Because their business is small, you can usually get in touch with them faster and the service will be a little more personalized. Plus, hiring the guy with the truck is usually much less expensive.

Their business is usually run out of their homes and the truck is both a work vehicle and an office. They usually don’t have many employees but lots of them will have a “helper" along with them. They have lower over head, but they might over book themselves.

The downside is that they could take your money and run. Because their business is run out of their truck there is not a real way to track them down if they disappear on you. Make sure to check reviews on a company like this prior to hiring them. Ask your neighbors and friends if they have anyone they would like to recommend.

Medium Size Contractor

This guy has a small, actual business and more employees. This type of contractor will have multiple trucks and usually have specialized teams to handle different projects. They will be a little more expensive than the guy in the truck. They’re also more likely to be licensed in the more specialized work like HVAC.

This type of contractor will have a reputation to uphold and won’t do anything that’s going to endanger it. He will have experience in getting permits and dealing with inspectors. They’re also more likely to give you detailed paperwork and guarantee the quality of their work.

This is the type of contractor that my husband I have dealt with the most. We have a local company that does all kinds of work and we’ve had them out to do several projects. They were great and while we probably could have gotten a lower price, the quality of the work was well worth it.

Design/Build Contractor

These will be harder to find. These contractor companies are very well established and will have a large building with a showroom attached. They’ll usually have an in house architect or draftsman to do plans for them and they’ll showcase examples of the work they’ve done.

Probably the most reliable on the list, they’ll also be the most expensive. They will definitely have several teams of employees specialized in different categories. They’ll have the process down pat and know exactly what to do and when to do it. They’ll also guarantee their work and make sure you have everything you need.

Downside to this type of company, other than the price, is that it will probably be harder to get in touch with them and to schedule for your work to be done.

If you are debating on buying a home or renovating your own, we can help. The Nelson Design Group can create plans for your remodel – which is really useful when you are working with a subcontractor. Or we can help you find a plan and a builder that’s right for you. Give us a call today at (870) 931-5777.