I'm struggling with the decision whether I should remodel my current
home or sell it and buy something newer with more of the features I
want. My current home was built in 1929 and has two stories along
with a partially-finished basement (carpeted and sheet-rock walls, but
no ceiling). I'm a single person with a middle-class income and very
limited home-repair skills (know how to mud and tape like the amateur
I am, know how to hang curtain rods, have built a fence with
assistance) so I'd have to hire most of the work. Here are the things
I love about this home:
Location--quite street, corner lot, nice-sized lot
Original white oak floors, recently professionally refinished
Original built-ins and chandelier in dining room
Original double-hung windows with the lovely wavy glass (but not in
the best repair and not in all rooms)
Lovely wood-burning fireplace
Roomy basement (currently used as storage and junk)
Solid, quiet, safe ambiance of an older home
Here are the things which would need fixing/remodeling:
*Electricity (was last upgraded in 1962!)--lots of cloth-covered wire
still exists, many rooms need more outlets and/or lights, breaker box
is at capacity and needs updating
*Furnace--don't have one. Electic baseboard heat only, no AC
(electricity is dirt cheap here so it's not as bad as it sounds, but
the heaters are ugly and I'd love AC)
*Basement--needs ceiling. Is only 7 feet high, so it would have to be
sheet-rocked, else my 6'5 son won't be able to stand up down there.
*Basement also needs more lighting--it's very dim.
*Main level--kitchen needs to be re-configured (was last done in the
Great Remodel Of The 70's). New cabinets, new floor, appliances.
*Garage--Tiny little thing that barely fits my mid-sized sedan. Would
love a new 2-car garage with some storage.
*Second floor--repairs needed to bathroom. Currently, only the toilet
is usable. Sink leaks and there is a window IN the shower, so we
don't use it either of those. Need more outlets in bedroom.
*Kitchen/Utility/Bath/MasterCloset--part or all of these rooms
apparently were on a back porch before the Great Remodel. Bathroom
needs to be gutted and the whole area re-configured. Right now, I
could sit on the pot and wave at people on the front porch if the door
was open (I don't do that, but I could). The tub is a regular
fiberglass enclosure, but it's "sunken" because of the whacky roofline
and you have to step down into it.
This last item will obviously be the most spendy because it would most
likely involve tearing out walls and re-shaping the roofline to add a
little room and get rid of that pitch. If I were to do this, I would
also re-do the upstairs bath which is directly over the downstairs
I know I need to get an estimate from a contractor. I bought the home
for around $125k four years ago, but I'm sure it's worth more now
because of rising housing costs in my town. It would be a lot easier
just to sell this house and buy something else but I love the location
and really, what's the difference between a $40k loan to remodel or
getting a mortgage for $40k more?
Note: I'm not necessarily asking for someone to tell me which route
to take; rather, I'd love input on how others have arrived at their
decision between remodeling vs selling. What factors did you weigh?
What finally tipped the scales for you, whichever way you went?
Lauri in WA