Deciding whether to chop or change your home is often not a simple decision. The situation will be different for each family. Your cost comparison may stack up one way, while lifestyle considerations lead to the opposite conclusion.

You can list all the pros down one side of a page, and all the cons on the other. If in balance, that confirms what you already felt, so much the better.

Either way, you will have a clearer idea of what it is you want to achieve, and why.


  • You know the neighbourhood and its amenities.
  • You know your home's strengths and weaknesses, what you've already replaced or repaired, and how the place works for you.
  • You don't have to replace everything at once, one month you could do buy new curtains, the next month carpets and carpet underlay, the following month wallpaper.
  • Improvements can be spread over time and budgeted for.
  • Sweat equity. If you have the skills, you can add value and amenities yourself. You could do that to a new place too. The difference is that when moving, you often have to BUY some added value with cash or borrowing.

  • Possible over capitalisation. This depends partly on what you do to it. An additional fourth or fifth bedroom won't much enhance the value of a home with a small living area. If you over capitalise, there may not be enough value in the house to borrow all you need for the changes.
  • The stress of living through a renovation.
  • No matter what you do to it, your present home may not be able to provide what you need now.

Moving to an Existing Home


  • Choose well and you can make a big difference to your lifestyle in one fell swoop.
  • Choose the right area and you might expect better capital gain than in your existing home.
  • Buy a place that's already as you want it, and forget about renovation stress.

  • How many places on the market are exactly as you want them?
  • You may strike unexpected repairs.
  • Moving costs.
  • Real estate fees, legal fees, moving and/or storage fees; even the cost of new school uniforms. They all come out of your new equity.
  • You could be blowing 10 percent of your home equity, just shifting!

Building a New Home


  • Everything is new.
  • On-going maintenance is lower.
  • You can have a life.

  • There are few building sites left in established suburbs, so your new home is likely to be among dozens of equally raw houses, in a raw part of the city, with no established trees.
  • Many new sites are small.
  • Potential to develop the property as your needs grow may be limited and you may NEVER be able to have trees.