To renovate or relocate with Lena Almeida

Lena Almeida is a work-at-home-mom of two feisty boys, a writer, social media strategist and a self-described shopaholic. Lena frequently shares home renovation projects and lessons she learned along the way on her blog Listen to Lena Opens in new window . Like many growing young families, Lena and her husband have often weighed the pros and cons of renovating their starter home or moving to a new home.

Our “starter” home is more than 10 years old. We’ve put our heart and soul (and wallet) into making it a dream house, continually adding enhancements and upgrades, room by room. In the beginning, we renovated to make it more liveable.

Today, we renovate to make it more desirable to potential buyers. Yes, we are selling our home.

It took a long time to come to this decision. We had a few false starts because every time we came close to making a move, we simply upgraded our home and fell in love with it again. We started out small by adding a backsplash to our kitchen and swapping out the builder’s lighting for our own. Then, we finished the basement, our biggest renovation to date. And for the next few years, conversations in our household went something like this:

My husband:

Let’s look for a home with a better basement.


Or we could just create a man cave for you in our basement.

Project Man Cave: Completed.


Our backyard is uninspiring. Look at this house for sale! It has a beautiful backyard.

My husband:

Or we could just create a backyard oasis here.

Project Patio: Completed.

Finally, it was time to simply list the pros and cons of moving to a brand new home versus staying in the home we had put so much love and care into making our own.

    1. There’s no doubt we’ve safely renovated with a vengeance over the past 10 years. With each new change, we’ve been diligent and reported it to our home insurance provider. Because our insurance costs have not been negatively impacted by our DIY adventures, it was a good reason to stay put and keep enhancing our home, little by little.

Pro tip: you may need to upgrade your coverage, but some renos may even qualify you for savings on your insurance!

  1. We are currently living mortgage-free. One word: freedom. We worked our butts off to pay our mortgage in under 10 years, so the prospect of upsizing and taking on another mortgage has never been appealing to me.
  2. We are reveling in the comforts of home. We know our area well, our children have made close friends in the neighbourhood and at school, and we’re familiar faces at some of the best local restaurants and coffee shops.
handy resource on the fence on whether we should move

We love our current home, but we’re still going to list it. Our new house will be ready in the fall of 2018, and we’re so glad we finally decided to make the move. It is the right home, at the right time, in the right community. Wish us luck!

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