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Your home might be great. It might have plenty of great features, and it might sit on a fabulous lot. It might be filled with memories and chocked full of your treasures. The thing is, few homes are perfect. Homeowners across the country often want more — more space, more storage, or even an upgrade to fabulous features like a chef's kitchen. This leads many to ask: Should we renovate this place? Or sell it and move?

Renovating homes in Canada is a popular endeavor. So if you’re thinking renovation may be the path for you, you’re in good company. But not every situation can be solved with a renovation; there are instances where selling your home and finding someplace new might be a better solution. Ultimately, how can you decide if you should renovate or sell?

Fortunately, HGTV Canada’s Bryan and Sarah Baeumler have insights and advice acquired from decades in the home-building and renovating business. The Baeumlers are not known for mincing words. They are famous for telling it like it is — which can help you decide what’s right for you and your family.

4 Truths about Renovating a Home

  1. It’s going to take longer and cost more than you expect. The reality is, most homeowners underestimate the time and money required to do a renovation right. “If you’re going to commit to renovating,” says Sarah, “We always say, make sure you have the time and resources to give that project what it needs.”
  2. It’s not going to be easy. Renovating is an emotionally stressful event. The mess, the financial burden, and any unexpected setbacks can take a toll if you’re not properly braced for the impact of a big renovation.
  3. Be prepared for changes.People have been known to change their minds mid-renovation, once they begin to see their ideas taking shape. Making changes during a renovation is almost inevitable, but changing your mind will affect the rest of your build and your budget.
  4. Be realistic about your budget.

    According to Bryan people aren’t realistic when it comes to the time and cost of a renovation. He says “there’s one simple reason we’re blowing through our budget almost every time and that’s the fact that we under-budget to begin with. So we have to be realistic about what can be achieved and be realistic about how much money we have.” He emphasizes that 5-10 percent is not enough and suggests that you need 25 – 35 percent of your budget as a contingency or as a ‘I changed my mind’ or ‘let’s add something’ fund.

Armed with these insights, you might feel better-equipped to make this decision, but here are some of the top things to consider when deciding to renovate or move.

Renovate If:

  • You have the time and money to dedicate to your project. Plus plenty of backup resources to cover surprises, changes and new ideas.
  • You love a lot about your home today. If you have a big yard, friendly neighbours and prime location, then staying might make a lot of sense. These things could be hard to find somewhere else.
  • You have a good idea of what you want. And you have a lot of confidence in your vision.
  • You’re good at budgeting. Even if you have a lot of money to put towards a renovation, you still want to keep costs reasonable and ensure you get strong value out of your project. That means setting a budget, having limits on overages and checking in regularly on how the costs are tracking.

Sell and Move If:

  • You don’t have the time, finances or stomach to renovate. If your renovation can’t be your main priority while you go through it, it might be simpler for you and your family to find what you’re looking for elsewhere.
  • There are things you don’t like about your home that you can’t change. You can’t out-renovate a tiny yard, bad neighours or busy street.
  • You don’t know what want out of a new space. Not sure what you’re looking for, but you’ll know it when you see it? Then moving might be best for you.

Between renovating and selling, there’s no single right choice. It depends on your situation, needs, and your personality. Chances are you might have second thoughts as you think through a move or renovation, simply because both options present their own challenges and opportunities. The key is to think carefully about what you want, have a plan, and know yourself. And in the end, enjoy the new, perfect space you call home.

Looking for a cost-effective way to finance your home renovation? Consider a Home Equity Line of Credit – a smart and easy way to manage all your borrowing needs under one simple, flexible plan.