Over the years, your family makeup or life circumstancesBuilding an Addition vs. Buying a New House — How to Make the Right Choice can change drastically. When a surprise baby comes along or your elderly mother-in-law begins having health problems and needs to move in with you, that cozy two-bedroom bungalow dream home can suddenly become cramped close quarters.

This leaves you with one of two solutions: building an addition vs. buying a new house. Do you add another bedroom off of the living room or build one over the garage? Should you simply sell and buy something larger? What’s the right choice? Use these helpful questions to help frame the debate and guide you in the best direction for your family.

Are You in Love With Your Neighborhood?

The best place to start is by asking this: if you went back in time, would you still choose your current neighborhood? The need for more room can be a great chance to start over again in a new place.

If you love your current neighborhood — maybe it’s close to work or you have a large network of friends and family nearby — that’s a strong argument for staying put. A home addition will let you continue with your day-to-day routine as much as possible through life’s changes.

Do You Like Your Current House?

Are there a few things that you’d like to change about your current home, or is the list of dislikes endless? If you need an extra bedroom and the kitchen and bathrooms could use cosmetic updates, these are items that are fixable with an addition and a remodel.

If you’ve discovered over the years that the overall floor plan of your current home is one that doesn’t work well with your lifestyle, it may be best to move. You should also consider the reason you’re thinking of creating an addition. If you have a baby on the way or an elderly family member about to move in with you, a townhome that requires going up and down stairs to get to the main living level may prove to be problematic in the end.

What Are the Comps in the Neighborhood?

Let’s say that the average home in your neighborhood is a tidy 2,000 square feet. Your house is already on the large side, at 2,500 square feet, and with the bedroom suite addition you’re envisioning, it will bump it up to just over 3,000 square feet. This will make your home the largest and most expensive one in the neighborhood, which will definitely be a factor should you ever choose to sell.

Is It Less Expensive to Add On?

Many homeowners discover that it’s less expensive to build an addition than it is to sell your home, purchase and move into a new one. There are many different types of home additions, and they don’t need to be cost-prohibitive.

The options are endless, from tearing down a wall and building outward to working with an engineer and adding a second-floor addition. You’ll need to check with your HOA and local authorities to find out about any code/building restrictions in your area. If you have the room, adding on may be the cheapest and least disruptive way to get the home you need.

As you talk through building an addition vs. buying a new house, consider speaking with a professional contractor who can give you a more realistic picture of the potential that lies within your current home. They’ll also be able to give you an estimate so that you can run the numbers more accurately and make the best decision for your family and its future.