To Move or to Remodel?

Should you stay and remodel your current home or opt for a fresh start by moving elsewhere? The decision-making process becomes considerably simpler if you love your current surroundings – a reputable school district, a great neighborhood, or a welcoming community. In this case, the idea of remodeling might be the solution. Remodeling offers the advantage of tailoring your space to your preferences, although it's important to find a balance between changes that enhance your living experience and those that may end up costing you more than they're worth.

Listen in as we explain why a remodel is often a practical choice, sparing you the frustrations of house hunting, the exhaustion of moving, and the emotional toll of saying goodbye to a familiar environment. You will learn the difference between value-adding renovations and potential money sinks. If you're dealing with a major life event, your emotional well-being should take precedence before you start a time-intensive remodel.

This Episode Will Cover: 

• How to decide if you should move or remodel your home.
• What to consider before you move house.
• The benefit of speaking with a Realtor before purchasing a new home.
• The things that bring value to your home versus the things that do not.
• How to know if you’re mentally prepared for a remodel.

Learn More About Ashley, Michelle, & Simply Home: 
• About Ashley & Michelle:
• Website:
• Podcast:
• Instagram: @simplyhomeaustin
• Facebook: @simplyhomeaustin
Episode Transcript

This is the Simply Home Podcast - Ladies who build, a podcast for women by women.

This is Ashley Wainscott and Michelle Mullins.

After spending the last 10 years revolutionizing the construction industry and raising the bar of the contracting world.

We are inviting you on our journey as we continuously learn how to be extraordinary and thrive in this industry.

Now, come hang with us.

Hi, welcome to episode 10 of the Ladies Who Build podcast.

Today we are talking about to move or to remodel. That is the grand question that everybody has.

That is the question and I'm not gonna say we're experts. But I think we can help answer this question.

Yeah, and also we're experts. So..

Oh, we are kind of experts.


Okay. So the high notes for today's episode, we're going to be talking about stats and ROI for remodeling, which helps you consider if you should move or if you should stay and remodel. We're also going to be talking about who the experts are, who you should talk to. We're going to be talking a little bit about renovation loans, and we're going to be talking about quality of life and the factors that impact your decision making for something like this.

Yeah. Let's dive in!

Okay, so should you stay or should you go? Oh, that's a song. That's funny.

And or do you just buy a new house and look for something that has what you're looking for in your current home.

Yes, that would be the go.

Yeah, that's the go.

And then the stay is the remodel.

Yeah, if we didn't make that clear.

Yeah, in case y'all weren't connecting the dots.


Okay, so we know a whole lot about should you stay. Michelle and I were actually talking about this when we were planning for this episode, but I think the main thing is, you know, examining your house and seeing if it's something that you can live with long term. Because if you're considering moving, there's obviously a list of reasons why you want to move.

Like what is, you know, is it space? Is it the layout? Is it the neighborhood? Is it, I mean, is it something bigger than just a remodel and or addition?

Yeah, I think that when you think about all the things that you love or dislike about your home, you know, if you're kind of going through, okay, it's got a great school district, or it's got a great family park down the street that we love, or maybe we, like, love our neighbors, you know, so all of these exterior factors could make a sense. Even if you're not even looking at your home, it could be all these exterior factors that you really love about the neighborhood. But then you just really dislike your home or the land or everything in it inside of it so then that for me is such makes it such more it's like an easier decision is to say like all of these other factors align but just my home is i'm really unhappy with.

Right, because we can fix pretty much everything.

Yeah, I mean, it's fixable.

There's a cost associated with it definitely, and so I think that that kind of trails into should I stay or should I go like is this whole house just something that I absolutely hate and I would have to redo the all the locations of the bathrooms and I mean you know that gets insane if you're literally moving plumbing across the house or building bathrooms in areas that don't currently exist that's when that's when pricing is gonna go up a lot.

Same thing with additions. I think that those are pricey, but you have lots of options for them. You can do a renovation loan, right? And it's something you can pay back over time. But I think adding square footage whenever you look up stats online or ROI stats, doing additions and adding square footage to your home is always a good idea.

There's limitations. I mean, I would say adding square footage to your home and building like an indoor basketball court for a home that's valued at like 500, 000 is probably not a good idea.


But if you're, if it's like a 20 million dollar home, then sure, that is probably a good idea. So, I mean, thinking about what is good for you in your home, there's a lot of considerations when it comes to these things.

Yeah, I think too, you know, we've talked about like, okay, the cost of a remodel versus the cost to move, you know, I guess and obviously we're not we're not realtor so we're not gonna say that we're experts in the market and I think timing the market could also be a factor. But when I think about okay, should I move or could I add on a bedroom or a bathroom?

It's like, do you have equity in your home? And if you do, you could always pull on that for your remodel cost, right? Like, a lot of people, of our clients do that, and it's really nice because, of course, like, if everything aligns well, like, your value, after everything has been remodeled, can go up quite exponentially, and now you're just sitting on a bigger asset.

So, I kind of always like to see, like, can you fix what's inside first before you look outside? You know, but, and that's just my preference. But of course, like, some people have, like, growing families and it just isn't conducive. Like, if you're, if you're, if your kitchen truly is just not big enough and you just don't have the space to expand, then of course, like, right, that might make sense.

So yeah, I think that's like, for me at least, is looking inward before looking outward. But obviously I'm biased.

I mean, it is so much well. Haha. Jokes on me. I was about to say it's going to be so much easier to remodel than it is to move out, but to do a renovation of a larger scale, you have to move out anyway.

So, I'm not, I'm not saying it's saving you all of that time and energy for sure. But it's definitely saving you the time and energy of searching for a new house.


I do think we should go back and talk through though, because you brought up real estate agents. And I think whenever you're talking about a panel of experts, when you're considering moving out, a realtor is a great expert to talk to.


I think that they know a whole lot about how much you're going to invest, what you should invest, the rooms you're going to invest in, and then they can give you an idea of, okay, well, if you are looking to sell in three to five years, here is going to be how you can recoup that. I don't think they obviously know how the markets, they can't predict how the market's going to be, but I think that they can know based on right now, for your neighborhood, what will that get you.

And when we talk about ROI, I think we talk about, you know, you can recoup 70% of whatever you put into your bathroom, right? Which is a great, a really great ROI. But on top of that, that you're, what's not measured is your happiness,

Your emotional stability.



And like the convenience, like if your bathroom is horrible, right? And it's a horrible living condition and it absolutely has to get remodeled or it's moldy or there's something not functional, then you, I mean, you need to do it, right? And even when you go to sell the house, if it's not updated and it's not functional. Then it's, I mean, it's not going to sell well, and who wants to buy a home with a project, right?

I mean, there are certain people like us that like to buy homes with projects, but a lot, but there are not a lot of people that want to buy into that. And so, that's just something to think about too, as you're considering a panel of experts. The other one I think about is mortgage and appraisers, right?

Like when you're looking at getting a value of your home, appraisers actually do that for a living and there is some room for error in this in that, you know, I think they can only guesstimate as well as they know how for your neighborhood and based on the market. And so there's some variables that are tied into the appraisal and there's variables tied into how this is all going to play out.

But most importantly, if it's something you're going to use. You know what I mean?


Then it to me, it's so worth it.

Right. Well I think you made a good point too because when you go to sell if you really need to do some updates and your neighborhood is appreciating quite well. You don't want to be like the house that's bringing down the neighborhood, you know in regards to value. So obviously you're gonna need to do some curb appeal. You know, not like you need to, like, gut all your bathrooms in your kitchen, but you're probably gonna need to do some updating to it.

And so, in my mind, like, we how many times have we remodeled a house and a client's like, “Oh my gosh, I wish we did this five years ago so we could have time to enjoy this beautiful.” Even if it's just simple, like, painting the cabinets, or putting in new floors, or whatever. It, like, literally transformed your living space when just like one wall is painted.

It's really crazy, but it does or so even if just small adjustments. You would like a new backsplash paint your cabinets, whatever you do, you can also just like do that and live in it. See if you're like, oh we could do this again I could we could actually decide to stay but even if you decided not to stay, you're going to get that return when you sell, right?

Oh yeah.

Like, even if you just did your basic upgrades, like painting, a hundred percent, you're going to recoup that. So, you could always test it out, you know, and then sell at a higher value.

Oh yeah. We have, we have next level knowledge here cause with Michelle and I being in make readies for so long and by being in make readies, I mean, we managed home seller projects, right? Which is a make ready before they put it on the market. And so we saw it every single day, which actually I feel like equips us kind of to a different level or extent because we've been on that side of the transaction. So we're able to tell homeowners, you know, what we've seen can be really convenient for if you are looking to sell three to five years down the line, that's somewhat in the short term.

And, you know, I think every… Every article I read in preparing for this podcast was saying, just don't go crazy. Don't go overboard on your materials. Anything that, anything you read is like, don't, don't get too carried away. Like for example, don't build a bathroom that has four steam shower heads. Like do you need four steam shower heads, right?

And again, I think the luxury market is very different, but in your average day to day home, you do not need, you do not need that. And that's where your return on investment isn't going to get recouped.

Oh, yeah, they're for sure. I mean, I think even with what we've seen, which is actually the articles you've been finding is like one of the biggest things is flooring replacement, whether it's like hardwood floors or...

How bizarre is that?

It's so bizarre to me.


Like it just doesn't... I feel like... I'm, I'm, you know, there's so many other things I'd say bringing..


A higher return.

Like hardwood floor refinishing was at like what, 140?

Oh, we're finishing? Yeah like 140%.

And then hardwood floor install was like 119 or something.

Yeah. Okay. Weird that you're like remembering these exact numbers.

I'm good. I am so good with numbers.

Okay. So yes to 119 is what it said.

I'm a mathematician. I told you.

But like, okay, so that, for example, would bring a good ROI. Painting, we say, does always like, get rid of any chipped marks on your wall. That's so simple.

I mean, it's not in the list of ROI items, but if you walk in...

We have a really solid list.

The walls aren't fresh.

Yeah, you gotta freshen those up.

I'm gonna be like, what have y'all been doing in here?

I know. Well, I mean, you know, there's like a nail hole. You're like, what weird photo hung right there, right?

What weird swing hung right there or something? We've seen some weird things.


In homes about to be listed.

Maybe we should make a whole podcast about that.

Oh the crazy thing. We should make a list that should be one of our episodes.


Okay, so there are things that you can do to bring value if you don't know yes research, but you can also just contact us. You can contact a contractor too and just see like what knowledge they have. Ask your friends what what have they've done. You know, people who have like redone their home. Ask a real realtors will know.

Okay, these are things I would focus on. These are the same things I see bring the most value. Carb appeal is a big one. Obviously, first impressions, even like painting your front door. Why is that not on the list?

Oh my gosh,

That's so affordable.

Oh my gosh. I need to paint my front door so bad.


Thank you for bringing that up.

But you know what I mean?

I do know.

Like a cute little door. I'm like, yes, love that house.

Yes, it's true I mean all the curb appeal the first impression pieces, the mulch in your beds. I mean the little things and I think we're not, I think the theme here is like, we're not saying you have to get carried away and buy a 10, 000 dollar front door.

You don't have to buy a 10, 000 dollar landscaping job, right? You can spend a few thousand dollars and, and that's all it needs.


It's not, it doesn't have to be excessive.


So when you're looking at this list, there are things with ROI that I think are important. to think about. We've talked about the real estate market. We've talked about your neighborhood, but even bigger than that, the city that you live in is important because the market is different in every city. The project type, right? We've talked about bathrooms versus kitchens versus floors and obviously, deferred maintenance, I think, is a whole nother category, because that's not even…

What’s deferred maintenance?

To me, that's like, things that aren't working, or rotted siding...

Oh, like fix this leaky faucet, rotted siding..

Yes, that’s not even a renovation. That’s like, you have to do that to maintain your home.

Yeah, like maintain your home.

Yeah, caulking holes around, you know, spigots, bathtubs, hose bibs, all those things. Bathtubs, what were you saying with bathtubs?

Well, like, I'm just thinking of like all the caulking that cracks with the bathtub and tile.

Oh, yes, and letting water, like you don't want water to get back in there, no.

No, my head's going back to all these crazy projects, all these houses we've seen.

It's gross.


People don't take care of their homes.


And I mean, because I don't think they know how to, and maybe a lot of people just don't take pride in their home, but I'm, I mean, I'm obsessed with it.

Oh, for sure.

With fixing everything and getting everything...


How it should be.

Yeah, I think, you know, yes, there is no right or wrong answer here. There's no, you know, exact formula that you can know is going to make sense. It's honestly like, you know, and we've actually mentioned this on other episodes, is can you emotionally withstand a remodel?

And if you're going through something big in your life or traumatic, you know, anything that else is going on. I don't necessarily think going through remodel is going to be, bring you peace.

Quality of life people.

Quality of life is a huge consideration and we actually make it a huge factor for us and our clients. So, it's definitely something we talk about. So if you're just like not in the mental space and you're like, I need to just peace out from here, go. Like. That is not bad or wrong.


Just go.

Just go.

But yeah, I mean, I think, you know, there's a lot of different factors to weigh.


But if you love every other thing in your neighborhood, like we were saying, and your neighbors are great and everything's great, but you just need an extra bedroom for this baby that's coming. That's easy enough. It's easy enough.

It's easy for us.


Yeah. It seems like a whole big ordeal and it is, it definitely is, but it's a long process. But if it's worth the payoff to you, you know, then having that extra space, then I say do it. Obviously it's going to take an architect and obviously it's going to take permitting and it's going to take design selections and materials, right?

It's going to be a project, but if you can find the joy in it.


Isn't that a thing?

Find the joy.

Yeah. Joy.

Is that from that Netflix show? The cleaning show? Anyways.

Oh. Didn't she stop doing her cleaning?

She probably couldn't find the joy anymore.

She was like, I don't find joy in this. She was like, I'm focused on raising my family.


And who has time to clean like this?

No one.

I know.

Absolutely no one.

So she poked a hole in her shell.

In her... And it deflated.

And it deflated.

Like a sad shishito.

Just kidding. She's probably way better than I am.

What were we talking about?

I don't know. We diverted.

I don't know. I digress.

Find your joy.

But, okay, you know, this does remind me, cause you did bring up the whole question of why we're here like to move her to remodel, which is what I even forgot we were talking about.


But to move or to remodel, I think it's important to go back to that because yes, it does depend on all of these things. But most importantly, I would, if, okay. If I were you, and I were thinking about this, which I literally thought about this a year and a half ago, I was like, do I do this addition onto my old 1940s home? Or do I find another house that is bigger and that I can grow in? And I, I moved because I chose to find a house that I could grow in and that would be easier to grow in.

Well, weren't you always also preg no, you weren't pregnant yet.

I was. I was pregnant.

Okay, so that was like, can you imagine? And people, we do, we have clients that are pregnant that go through a remodel, and I'm like, wow, Wonder Woman, you are insane. Good for you, because that's, you are a trooper. But, that was a big life event you were going through, and could you emotionally handle the insanity of like an addition on top of being pregnant?

No. The answer is no. I couldn't have done that while pregnant. Yeah, that's what I needed to do. And the move was a lot, and the mini remodel I did here was a lot. And of course, I was like, oh, we can move in my Christmas, no problem. And you know, I was still having painters here up until like the day or two before Christmas and finalizing things several days after.

And again, that's why every time I do a project. I'm reminded of why we exist, because just calling, flooring people to get out here, calling the painters to get out here, trying to manage all of their details, and oh my gosh, it's such a headache, and I'm like, why can't I call someone on my team to manage this for me?

I know, I think about that a lot. And how anybody who doesn't hire a GC to do anything…

And we know how to do it. That's a thing. You don't even have to teach me how to do this. But it's already a lot.


But anyways, it's interesting because I was reading this article online, and it was talking about investments in your home, and how putting money into your home obviously isn't better than a lot of investments per se like if you're looking at investing in the stock market or all the other investments you could do, it's not necessarily an investment in that way. But it's an investment in that you will get your money out to a degree depending on the ROI and you know, your quality of life and the way that you live and function will be greatly improved. And so it's like, what's the value on that? But then it was talking about, it's different so then when you take a car in to get repaired, you know when you're paying money to get it repaired.

Yeah, the maintenance on it.

The maintenance on it.


That's not going to like, further the value of the car in any way, right?

It just has to happen. Whereas like a renovation is something that is going to increase the investment of the home. So it's different in that it's not just a deferred maintenance thing or a thing you have to do. It does increase the value of your home Just depending on all the factors we've been talking about.

Yeah, that's a good point. I mean your home is definitely not a depreciating asset. You know even when okay, I'm not like a market analyst, so I'm not gonna dare that…

I thought you were.

Yeah, I wasn't.

So that's why I invited you.

Yeah. That's what we're gonna discuss?


But even if the market like when the market went cray cray with Covid, We,,, homes didn't, well, actually that was like the opposite effect. They did not depreciate. They did something quite different. But even if there is a dip in the market, your home is still an appreciating value. And that's all I'm going to say about that because I'm not a market analyst.

I believe you.


That sounds great, Michelle.

So we're done there.

Great. Got it.

But we are going to include the links that we found online so that anyone who wants to do more research on this and who is deciding on this particular topic right now, I think these links will help and obviously any Google search can also find you these links, but these are links that I thought were a little bit more accurate or were onto something, you know, had good points. I mean, I think based again on Michelle and I's background history, I think we can decipher between links that maybe aren't as accurate or doesn't have as good of information. So…

Also, AustoMarket, where we are, is quite different. I mean, it is and it isn't, but it's, like, we have our own list of things that provide value to a home just because we've seen it in the past. And because the market that we're in, so…

You know, one thing that was on this list was insulation upgrades, which I think when you're in Austin, Texas, and it is hot as the pits of hell, that is something worthwhile.

No, that's a good one. Yeah.

And it depends on, again, location like in Austin or somewhere with extreme temperatures…

You want good windows, you want good doors, insulation,..

Yes, all those things, weatherproof. Weatherproof that home.


And then the other one, yeah, the other one that was on this list that I thought was weird was a closet renovation. I don't think…


I've ever, I don't believe it. I don't think I've ever seen that on any list ever. I don't think a closet renovation has a higher ROI than a primary bathroom or a kitchen.

Yeah. What? Right? That was bizarre.

Maybe in a different part of the country where…

Where they live in their closets? I don't know. Does that exist? Where they come in and out of their closets a lot? I don't know.

I don't know.

I mean, I have seen, like, we knew the designer that worked in her closet. It was her office.

Remember? That was where she hid from her kids. It was her cloffice. I know, I like laughed every time she said it. Which, I'm like, well, maybe that makes sense because it's an office. That's the only way I could see it making sense. Otherwise, I don't think so. But in general, a lot of people from these surveys, it looks like motivation for remodeling was if things were worn down or outdated, or they're adding features and improving livability, or they're simply just wanting a change. Those are, you know, the general reasons, which I think we talked about.

Yeah, I mean, and even adding to this list that we're talking about, is that the biggest long term investments are, or long term values, is addition projects, finishing the basement, which doesn't exist in Texas. Well, I guess, yeah, it doesn't exist in Texas, I don't think at all.

I mean, the only time it does is if somebody's perched up on a hill and then they call it a basement.


Because it's really that like lower level.

Right, right.

Where you can build underneath. But no, I mean, we have limestone in Austin so…


You're not going underground.

We just did a project where they've refinished or refin, they finished their attic and they made their attic space like you could like climb up it and it would have this like walking space. It was just a full of insulation. And they actually made it into their kid's music room. It was so cool. And they added like a skylight, and they added like a little closet up there for him. I mean, I love that. So I think that that adds value, that you can add a bedroom up there.

I mean, and thinking about our garage conversions that we've done too, it's just converting square footage into actual functional usable square footage. Which,..

Also patio addition, like converting your patio into the house. So we've seen people do that. Like right now we're working on a patio addition and they're doing like a washroom and a bedroom and a bathroom which is brilliant because it's already ready using and it like already has part of the roof. So you can just like keep the roof in place.

Oh yeah. Cause the roof is a whole thing. Framing for the roof. Redoing the roof.


But then there are other things that you don't think about too, which I'm always like, perfect, let's just use this space. But then you have to get HVAC and electrical. Hopefully if there's not plumbing, that's one thing you have to spend money on, but it's something to think about.


Yeah. And I think that was everything.

Yeah. I think that covers it.

To move or to stay? That is the question. Was that the question? No. I don't know. That wasn't the question.

What was the question?

To move or to remodel?

That is the question.

That is the real question. Don't let Michelle get you over here.

Because I'm no expert over here.

She doesn't know the question. Michelle has Mexico brain today.

I just got back from Mexico.

It's when you are rebooting after a vacation.

Yeah. Yeah. It's happening. It's happening right now. Um, okay.

That's all for now.


Ta ta.