Need more space? One family’s journey to their dream home…

January 25, 2022 By R. Jonathan Stolz, CFA | Portfolio Manager
Stuffed dog and boy playing in a box. West Financial Services

There are many reasons to look for a larger home – feeling cramped in your current space, family changes (marriage, kids, family moving in), increased work from home, and desire to spend more time with loved ones.

My lovely wife and I, and our 5 kids, had several of these squarely on our minds when we started our home upgrade journey in 2019. We needed space and we needed to start evaluating our options.



Generally speaking there are three reasonable solutions to a space problem:

1.    Buy a larger home.

  • Pros
    • Opportunity to change neighborhoods and schools (if you have kids), if that is of importance. 
    • Potentially less disruptive if you can manage to do it in one move.
    • House hunting can be exhausting, but also exciting. 
    • Not as much planning and time commitment as the other options.
  • Cons
    • Limited housing supply makes it difficult to find what you want and where you want it. 
    • May need to move away from your current neighborhood and change schools. 
    • Purchased home may need work to make it the way you want it, which adds cost and potential logistic problems.

2.    Expand and renovate your existing home.

  • Pros
    • Stay in your neighborhood and schools (assuming you like both). 
    • Work with architect and contractor to design your expansion the way you want.
  • Cons
    • Likely disruptive enough to require you to move out during construction.
    • Delays and cost overruns, particularly in a supply constrained environment, are real and can be a source of frustration. 
    • If the core of your home is an “old” home you will still have older infrastructure and systems that could need replacing or upgrading. 
    • Lots of time needed for design, planning, logistics, admin on your part.

3.    Tear down your home and build new on your lot.

  • Pros
    • Stay in your neighborhood and schools (again, assuming you like both). 
    • Design the house and floorplan of your dreams that will meet your family’s needs. 
    • When you move in, everything is new and you receive a builder warranty.
  • Cons
    • Requires a move for the duration of the project. We moved to a three-bedroom, two bath apartment, which would have been ok, but it happened during the Covid-19 pandemic (work and school from home)! It is not fun to have seven people share internet at the same time. 
    • Lots of time needed for design, planning, logistics, admin on your part. 
    • Budget can get away from you if you let it. 
    • May take the longest time from start to finish. 

After 6-8 months of research, house hunting, and family discussions we determined that we loved our neighborhood and wanted to be there, indefinitely. Ultimately, we decided to tear down the house and design and build our dream home on the lot. 

What is your dream home? We, as financial planners, can help you in building a budget and making sound financial decisions that work the best for you and your family. We are happy to be part of your dream home adventure.

Meet R. Jonathan Stolz, CFA »

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