To Renovate or Move?

It’s a question a lot of folks ask themselves when they start thinking about selling their home. My husband and I ran into the same quagmire when we started discussing needing more room for the kids in the future. There was no easy answer. We talked about how we loved our current neighborhood and ease of travel to anywhere we needed to go, the friends that we already made and also how sought after our current neighborhood was. It took us about 3 years before we committed to remodeling our home. I joke that my husband had a real estate search running for 2 years but his Realtor refused to take him out and look at homes.

A couple things to think about when considering renovation over moving are:

  • How much equity will it add to your home?
  • Can you find another home that will fit your needs?
  • Will the changes fix the current issues you face today?
  • Does equity really matter if you plan to stay in the house for years?
  • How to finance the renovations?

How much equity will it add to your home?

Equity is important if you think you might want to sell your home in 3 to 5 years. You are not going to get all of the money back dollar for dollar for everything you might change so keep that in mind. I tell my listing clients if you are going to update kitchens and bathrooms make sure you get some use out of them before listing. It won’t sting as bad if you don’t get all your money back from the changes that are made. In our situation we were juggling with our budget, not going over board with additions to the home and pricing the home out of the market. In the end we justified being over budget a little by knowing that this is our forever home. It helps that we have a fantastic lot and one of the smaller houses in the neighborhood.

Can you find another home that will fit your needs?

Of course! There are plenty of homes in the Northern Virginia Area to choose from. Our needs most likely were going to come with a much higher price tag and we were going to have to leave the neighborhood we love.  We absolutely love Loudoun County and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. With us we already knew what we needed to change to make the home fit our needs and that was really hard to walk away from. Now I have a beautiful Kitchen, Great Room and Master Bedroom Walk-In Closet. My kids have plenty of room for friends and we can hold a party without feeling cramped.

Will the changes fix the current issues you face today?

This is important. If you’re not going to get everything you want out of remodeling and spend a good amount of money doing it, don’t even consider it. The process of remodeling can be very stressful and be rough on a relationship.

Does equity really matter if you plan to stay in the house for years?

It matters in regards to overspending when it comes to doing renovations on your home. Remember to take into account the homes that are in your neighborhood. If you have a neighborhood with smaller homes you don’t want to have the extra large home among the smaller homes. It would be a better option to sell and find a home that fits your needs better.

How to finance the renovations? 

  • There is the obvious way by saving up and paying out of pocket. This might insure that you stay on budget.
  • You can find out from a lender if you can do a Home Equity Line of Credit. In order to do a HELOC you need to have equity in your home either because you have paid down your primary loan over the years or the appraised value of the home has risen. A HELOC is great because you can pay it back and use it over and over again. You can also write off any interest that has occurred just like your primary mortgage.
  • Renovation/Construction Loan is another option. These are becoming more popular. You can obtain a loan based on what you think your home may be worth after you have completed your project. Fannie Mae and FHA have these home renovation mortgages. Here is a little more about these programs:

Hope this information is helpful when trying to make your decision to move or to renovate! If you have any further questions I would love to help. You can reach me at or by phone at 571-299-8307.


Selling Your Home? Here Is A List Of Steps You Can Follow For A Successful Home Sale

Selling your home can seem like a daunting task but here are a few steps to help keep you sane and help you put your best foot forward when listing your home.

  1. VALUABLES: Place valuables like pain medications, jewelry, cash, firearms, and valuable documents in a safe or off site while your home is listed.
  2. DECLUTTER: Most folks have items around the house that are just taking up space or cluttering a room. You can place items in a temporary storage unit, box up or take advantage of online yard sale sites and or hold your own yard sale. Donating unused items is also a good way to get rid of items you don’t need anymore.
  3. STAGING: Don’t think you are in this on your own! ASK your Realtor for advice on staging or hire an a professional stager. Choose a stager that fits your budget, there are plenty out there that can fit your budget. Need a referral? Contact me for folks who professionally stage.
  4. APPRAISAL: Your real estate agent will pull together comparables of recent home sales to give you an idea of what your home is worth. Purchasing an appraisal is also another way to get an idea of how much your home is worth. Appraisers do this every day and have the resources to give you a better idea of what your home is worth.
  5. PETS: I’m a huge pet lover and hate the idea of removing animals from the home but not every person may enjoy your pet like you do. If it’s feasible during showing hours have pets retire to a neighbors or a friend’s home. If this is not possible then pets should be placed in an area or crate marked with signs to let people know that Fido or Kitty is in the laundry room or another area of the home.
  6. CARPETS: If needed plan on having the carpets in high traffic areas cleaned and if carpets are beyond cleaning, think about replacing.
  7. PAINT: Now it’s time to repaint bedrooms that may have been a fun color for the kids but may not appeal to all buyers. Touching up spaces that are high traffic areas like staircases and hallways are also a good idea.
  8. UPDATES AND REPLACEMENTS: The major items buyers look for to be updated or recently replaced are Bathrooms, Kitchen Appliances, Kitchen Countertops, Washer/Dryer, A/C Unit, Furnace, Roof, and Decks. It’s great if you can compile a list for your Real Estate Agent of all the items that have been replaced or recently updated.
  9. FURNACE AND A/C UNIT: If you don’t already have a yearly maintenance contract on the Furnace and A/C Unit, have a company come out and service your unit. This will eliminate any surprises during a Home Inspection. The Heating & Cooling company will then place a sticker on the unit showing when the last maintenance was performed on the system. A fresh filter should always be placed every 1-3 months depending on how dusty your home is and if you have pets.
  10. FIREPLACES: It’s not a bad idea to get the chimney swept and inspected. Most home inspectors are not qualified to comment on the chimney so they will recommend to have it cleaned and inspected.
  11. LANDSCAPING: If needed, add fresh mulch to flower beds. Remember to keep mulch away from siding on the home as this is a great way for pests to find their way up into the house. Trim trees away from the house to reduce damage to roof, siding and reduce ways for animals to get on the roof. Freshen Decks up with a good powerwashing and fresh coat of sealant or paint if needed.

These are just few things you can do to help sell your home in Northern Virginia. If you’re thinking about selling your home I would love to help! You can contact me anytime at or 571-299-8307.







Thinking About Selling Your Home? Got Kids?

Are you thinking about selling your home with young children in tow? There are a few easy tricks you can use to keep the process a little less stressful.

Selling your home is always a slightly stressful situation. You always worry about your home being clean and presentable for prospective buyers. Add children to the mix and stress levels can go up a little more. As a Mom of two boys I can relate to parents who are trying to sell their home and the chaos that can overtake your home on a daily basis. Don’t panic, these tips will help you get through the process a little easier.

  •  Obtain an agent that is child friendly. These agents will understand what you are going through when you complain to them about how stressed out you are with the process. They will also understand when you have screaming children in the background and won’t get irritated if you have to get off the phone to attend to your little ones….:) These agents also understand that a short and to the point email or text will also get the job done since answering the phone with small children always ends up with them hanging on your leg while you try and have a conversation.
  • Have a plan. Set up a plan before the home goes on the market. Decide on how you are going to keep the home picked up, handle showings, and if you have pets where are they going to be secured in the home.
  •  Kids come with lots toys and accessories. Pack up about 50% of the toys and place them in a basement storage space or a relatives garage for safe keeping. You were going to have to pack them up when you move anyway so why not do it now. The kids won’t miss the toys while the home is on the market and it makes clean up a lot easier on you if an agent calls to get into the home. Also when you unpack the toys at the new house it will be like Christmas all over again for them.
  •  Infants come with lots of items too including bassinets, play mats and swings. Buyers are not going to think less of you if these items are in the home. Dedicate an area for these items and leave them out if you need them. As long as they are not blocking walkways or making a room feel cluttered, leave them out.
  •  Have a catch all basket. Showings can be much easier on you if you create a place where you can put items that the kids want to have out to play with. If the kids are old enough to help pick up, have them use the basket to clean up a rec room or family room before an agent arrives with prospective buyers.
  • Request an hour notice before agents come to show the home. This gives you a little breathing room and doesn’t allow for any surprise visits from agents with prospective buyers.

These are just a few things that can help take the pressure off of you and your family while trying to sell your home.