Coffs Harbour is expanding and many people are considering the decision to take the opportunity to sell and buy a different home or renovate to suit the family’s needs.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to renovate or buy a new property. To help you decide, here are the three important steps my wife and I followed to help us reach a decision…

Step 1: Be really clear about the type of property you want.
This requires you to think about your immediate and future requirements.

For instance, what will your family needs be in a year, two years or five years? Where will you be working? What sort of job will you have? Do you want to be close to family and friends? These types of questions will help you decide the type of property you need and its ideal location.

For example, you might want or need a property that is bigger, has a better garden or view, is in a different suburb or position – like closer to shops, transport and other amenities, has a better floor plan and even a different interior design.

Whatever your needs, you should compare and contrast them with your current home to help identify any major gaps or shortcomings.

Step 2: Compare property values in your street and suburb.
This is a very important step. This goes to the heart of assessing how your property stacks up against everyone else’s, and whether there are any major price differentials.

If there are differences you need to find out why. For instance, it could be the issue of your home being outdated, or that it is on a smaller block, or a host of other reasons.

The reason for doing this is twofold. Firstly, to help you decide if it’s worth putting the time, effort and money into renovating, and secondly to help reduce the likelihood of overcapitalizing – that is, spending too much on your renovation.

Step 3: Do your sums
Once you’ve completed steps one and two, it’s time to start crunching some numbers and prepare a budget.

Your budget needs to be more than a guesstimate. You really need to bring in the experts – like a builder – to get a detailed costing of any planned renovations, as well as taking into account the full cost of buying and moving into a new property.

Remember, if you decide to sell and move, you will need to factor stamp duty, legal fees and moving costs into your budget. You also need to assess the extent to which the proceeds of the sale of your existing property will cover the total costs of your new home.