Should you relocate or renovate? Pros & Cons You Need to Consider

You own your home, but it has limitations. Maybe your family is growing and you need more space, or you’d like to live in a different neighborhood. Whatever your motivation, you’ve come to the point of asking, “Should I relocate or renovate?” If this is you, you’re in good company. A vast majority of Calgarians (82.5%) are satisfied with the neighborhood in which they live, yet 21% of Alberta households plan to move within the next 5 years, according to the latest data available from Statistics Canada Upgrading to a larger home or a better quality home, and a change in household or family size are 2 of the top 5 reasons for relocating. But if Calgary home owners like their neighborhood, would it be better to renovate instead of moving to a new house? Let’s explore the pros and cons of relocating and renovating.

Pros & Cons of Relocating

Sometimes renovating isn’t an option. If you want a different neighborhood or school district, for example, relocating might be the obvious choice. But it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of relocating when renovating might be an option.

Pros of Relocating

Here’s a look at the benefits of moving to a new home.

Instant Gratification 

If you find a new home to meet all your needs, you get a fresh start. You can set up your home the way you want instead of trying to make do with what you already have.


A different location might be an advantage for you. Maybe it would mean a shorter commute or a better neighbourhood or better schools for your kids. 


If your current home is worth more than what you owe on your mortgage, you could potentially sell your home and invest in an upgraded one for a more impressive portfolio. Alternatively, maybe your current home is more than you can handle. Downsizing might resolve financial strain and allow you to pay off debt and invest in other things. 

No Renovation Stress

A major home renovation can be stressful, especially if it means you must live in a construction zone. You may have to pack up and store some belongings temporarily, and adjust your routines and lifestyle to accommodate work zones. If you choose to relocate, you avoid this potential renovation inconvenience.

Cons of Relocating

Relocating isn’t all roses. There are some disadvantages of moving to a new home.


Most Canadians find moving to a new home more stressful than planning a wedding, quitting smoking, or starting a family. Some studies report that relocating is the most stressful life event, even more stressful than divorce or a breakup. That’s remarkably high stress!  The stress of a move can begin long before the process of relocation begins. Finding the right new home for you can take time and be stressful, too. It can be difficult to find something that fits your budget and meets all your needs.


Relocating is costly. Beyond the price of the new home, there are moving costs, home inspection costs, real estate fees, and often home repairs or minor renovations. If you move to an upgraded home, you may have higher property taxes. If you move to a condo, you may have HOA fees. 

Pros & Cons of Renovating

Renovating is the preferred option for most Canadians, according to HomeStars, even during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Why is this the case? Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of renovating. See also: Should You Renovate Your Home During COVID-19? 

Pros of Renovating

Here are 6 benefits of renovating instead of relocating.


You’re already familiar with the quirks and what works in your home. If there’s something that’s not working for you, you probably know exactly what you can do to adjust things to make it work.


If you like your neighbourhood, you probably don’t like the idea of starting from scratch to build relationships and connect with a new community. When you choose to renovate, you get to keep your neighbours, your kids can keep their friends and school, and you won’t have to look for new stores and services for your family’s needs.


If you like your house for the most part, you can customize it to make it exactly what you want. You have complete creative control over the design, finishes, colours, and fixtures. 

Increased Home Value

Renovating can improve the value of your home. See Is a Kitchen Renovation Worth the Return on Investment?

No Moving Expenses

Consider the cost of moving. Let’s say you could expect to pay $10,000 to move. Add the stress of moving and all the changes and adjustments that will follow. Now consider the renovations you could do in your existing home with that money. The bonus is you wouldn’t have the stress and changes involved in moving! Yes, renovation costs money, too, but many costs of moving are often overlooked or more than expected. When comparing costs, don’t forget to calculate the costs of 
  • preparing your home to sell (including home staging), 
  • real estate agent commissions, 
  • sales and transfer taxes, 
  • inspection costs, 
  • closing costs on the home you buy, and 
  • the cost of the move itself. 
See also: How to Keep Your Renovation Under Budget and How to Renovate Your Kitchen Cost-Effectively.


Finding the right new home for you can be time consuming. In a hot real estate market, you might find many homes that interest you, but they sell so quickly, you fail to snatch them up before they’re gone. There’s no guaranteed timeline for buying a new home.  When you renovate, you get to decide on the best time for the renovation, and your contractor will give you a timeline so you know when you can expect the project to be complete.

Cons of Renovating

Renovating is not without its disadvantages. Here are 3. 


When you choose to renovate, you are choosing to have your home invaded temporarily. There may be some noise, dust, and other inconveniences. See How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel While Living in the House.

Financial Risk

There is always some financial risk involved in a renovation. Sometimes there are unexpected extra expenses and the return on investment isn’t profitable. But this is rarely the case with a minor renovation, and the benefits of renovating far exceed the financial aspect.

Surprises & Delays

Surprises and delays can happen during a renovation. Pest or rot damage, building codes, back-ordered materials, or necessary structural changes can cause delays. But the most common causes of renovation delays can often be avoided

Should you relocate or renovate?

Has reviewing the pros and cons of relocating vs renovating made the choice clear to you? Sometimes it’s not that easy. There are many factors to consider. Riverstone Kitchens & Renovation in Calgary can help you think through your options. Contact our design and construction experts for more info!
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Jana Carlson

SEO Content Writer & Strategist | I help small businesses attract more customers with a no-nonsense content strategy

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