COST: Can it be more economical to renovate?

Posted May 31, 2021 in Special Features

Demand for homes has never been higher than our current time. But there’s a bigger story than simply selling a home and buying the better home you want.

Housing starts on new construction fell by 9.5 % from April to May according to the Department of Commerce. The reason that the numbers went down on new housing starts is not because people don’t want new houses. The reason is bigger.

There have never been so many constraints on builders in a time when the demand for housing is so large. Builders are constrained by available land as well as their ability to get all of the supplies needed to build. Additionally, builders are facing increased pricing on lumber and other materials needed.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average time that a home was on the market across the country was 17 days in April. This is the quickest pace ever for homes to come onto the market and be sold.

All of the above is why existing houses are hot commodities. I would like for you to think a little differently about designing and staging. Instead of focusing on the home you are living in, try to look at homes you are interested in buying that you could renovate through a redesign.

This is an early trend that I am noticing and one that is getting people into their dream homes at a much faster pace. It can be challenging to move so quickly and so once again, I always advise seeking licensed professionals.

As a professional designer and real estate agent, I have developed a system to help clients evaluate whether it’s cheaper to renovate a home they’ll buy against what it will take to stage their existing home. Timing is everything when you are selling and buying and scheduling a renovation.

Renovations all come with immediate out-of-pocket expenses and that is why scheduling the closing for your existing home and evaluating how you will live during the in-between time is super important.

The second part of the equation of buying to renovate is considering any emotional attachments to the home you are living now. All moving comes with some stress. The level of stress can only be helped by having the guiding hands of professionals who inform you of every critical moment.

The only surprises that I expect are the ones we can’t see – like inside a wall. For that reason I always plan for part of the budget to include unexpected findings. If we have to move fast in deciding about a home, I sometimes bring an inspector along as we tour the home.

Homes are selling quickly and your existing home will sell in a way that you can get the most from your investment in this market. The average home renovation is under $50,000 in my experience. The home you buy to renovate can look brand new and you won’t have to experience the new construction quirks that someone went through to initially get the home built.

If you are ready to move, renovating the home you buy and staging your existing home to sell in a way that covers your costs, may be the best option. There are plenty of reasons to consider putting your home on the market.

Call me at 360.635.1121 or email me at to learn more about how to weigh the pros and cons of listing your home in the current market.