Renovate or Move? Top 5 Considerations

“To renovate or to move?” is that age old question I am often posed as a realtor. For homeowners, deciding whether to invest in renovating their current home or take the leap to move to a new one is huge. Both decisions come with their respective advantages and challenges, making the choice complex. If you’re torn between the two, hopefully this article will help, as we cover some of the top considerations. 

Financial Implications

Naturally, both renovating and moving come with costs, so it’s imperative to consider the full spectrum of financial implications associated with each option. 

Renovation Costs:

  • Initial Assessment: Before beginning any renovation, it’s often recommended to get a professional assessment. This could involve hiring architects or interior designers. Their fees, while providing valuable insights, add to the overall cost.
  • Materials and Labor: Depending on the quality of materials you choose and the complexity of the project, these costs can vary significantly. For instance, opting for high-end finishes, fixtures, and appliances will push expenses higher.
  • Permit and Licensing Fees: Depending on where you live and the extent of your renovations, you might need various permits. These could relate to zoning, building codes, or environmental regulations.
  • Unexpected Costs: Renovations can sometimes uncover hidden problems like mold, outdated electrical systems, or foundational issues. Addressing these unexpected problems can lead to budget overruns.
  • Temporary Relocation: Significant renovations might require you to move out temporarily, leading to additional living expenses.

Moving Costs:

  • Realtor Fees: If you’re selling your current home, you’ll often need to pay a commission to your real estate agent. 
  • Property Transfer Tax: This is a government tax charged on property transactions. The amount varies based on property price and location.
  • Moving Services: Hiring professional movers eases the transition, but it comes at a cost. This varies based on distance, amount of belongings, and the services you choose (packing, unpacking, etc.).
  • Home Improvements and Settling-In Costs: The new home might require immediate repairs or modifications. Plus, there are often unexpected costs when settling into a new place, from new window treatments to additional furnishings.
  • Loan Charges: If your move involves taking out a new mortgage or modifying your existing one, there might be associated fees or penalties.

Be sure to consider long-term financial outcomes, potential returns on investments, and opportunity costs. Seeking advice from financial advisors, realtors, or renovation experts can provide tailored insights to guide your decision-making process.

Future Growth and Needs

Strongly consider the future needs of you, your lifestyle, and your family. If you’re planning to expand your family, your current home might not accommodate this growth, even with renovations. On the other hand, if you’re downsizing, it could be beneficial to seek a smaller, more manageable space.

Emotional Attachment

For a lot of folks, a house is not just a building; it’s a trove of joyful memories, life-shaking experiences, and a reflection of a personal journey. If your current home has serious sentimental value, renovating might make more sense. However, if you’re looking for a fresh start and don’t have strong emotional ties, moving could be the right choice.


Location is everything! If you adore your current neighborhood, renovating could be more appealing, as moving may mean compromising on these aspects. Of course, if you’ve been longing for a change of scenery or to be closer to work or family, moving might just be best.

The Age and Condition of Current Home

Older homes can sometimes, sadly, be money pits, with one repair just leading to another. If you find yourself frequently fixing things, it might be time to move to a newer, less problematic home. That being said, if the home’s foundation and major systems (ie: plumbing and electrical) are in solid condition, a renovation could be what it needs. 


The journey of deciding between renovating or moving is deeply personal and multifaceted. Weighing your future needs, alongside other factors like finances, emotional attachments, and potential long-term benefits will guide you. Whether you choose to breathe new life into your existing space or venture onto a new environment, ensure your choice aligns with both your immediate needs and long-term aspirations. 

Whether you’re looking to renovate, buy, sell, or invest in Vancouver Island’s prime real estate, reach out! With deep insights into the local market, a plethora of stellar renovation contacts from project managers to interior designers, and years of experience, I serve clients across Victoria, Cowichan Valley, and South Island’s West Shore communities. Contact me today to learn more!