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Reinvest in What You Love

Moving Isn't Always The Answer To Unlocking New Home Happiness

Article by Don Seaman

Photography by Vince Priore

Originally published in Wayne Lifestyle

26 listings.

According to one report, that was the number of homes that had been on the market in Wayne in one recent month. That means that of the 19,129 housing units in town, 0.14% of them were for sale. 

In Montville and Towaco, it’s not much better. Only about 0.3% of the households were on the market in December. Fairfield is a relative boom town: 0.7% of homes were listed then.

The Covid migration is over. The time of the great urban pandemic exodus is behind us. People are staying put as interest rates climb, so inventory has dried up. 

Now, it’s all about investing in the home you have, not for resale but for your own preferences.

For those of us lucky enough to have had the foresight to have settled here, we know a good thing when we see one. So instead of packing up and finding something new, perhaps the better investment would be inward, whether it’s a full-scale remodel, updating a dated bathroom, or simply redoing those kitchen cabinets that have always bothered you. 

According to Zillow, 76% of Americans would rather remodel their current home than make a down payment on a new one. Face it, we settle into a home for a variety of reasons; we make emotional attachments that can override financial considerations. And right now, while you might be in a strong position for selling, you’d be jumping right into the deep end when finding your new home.

So if you’ve become somewhat disenfranchised about your home, perhaps it’s worth some introspection. Chances are, you can regain some of that lost excitement by simply making some changes to your current home. 

Reinvention is invigorating, sure. But uprooting isn’t the only way to recapture that. You might be surprised just how much joy you can get from a few upgrades to your current home. And let’s face it, there’s a reason that moving is seen as the third most stressful event in life, behind losing a loved one and divorce (according to The Science of Health). 

Admit it — just thinking about packing up your life into all of those boxes is enough to give you some agita. Why not reinvest in what you already love?

A Contractor Weighs In

For contractors such as Picco Partners' Vince Priore, this changes the game a bit. It’s no longer a matter of rebuilds and renovations to increase home value for sale, but house value for living.

“Reinvesting in what you have — whether it’s a total tear-down and rebuild or making smaller tweaks like updating a room, finishing a basement, or fixing lingering issues that have developed — those can really have as big of an impact as simply moving to a new home. It takes some vision and planning, but in the end, if you move, you’re still not putting your own stamp on things. Moving simply means accepting someone else’s choices, which may not always be what you’d want anyway. Why make the choice of ‘what you can live with’ when you can just make your own home into what you want without moving to do it?”

“Additions and added space became a lot hotter during Covid,” Priore adds. “It got almost uncomfortably busy for us for a while. Kitchens and baths are always a high priority for people. But when everyone was fleeing the city, a lot of them really wanted to add space before they got in.”

“Most people put the cart before the horse,” explains Priore. “You’ve got to understand what your renovation costs are going to be before you buy. That’s what’s going to dictate what you can pay for with a particular property.”

A growing part of Priore’s business is in consulting during the design phase of the process, working with architects and clients to give them advice on real-life costs of their selections. That way, they don’t end up designing the project of their dreams only to find that it’s way above what they’d anticipated — and way more than they can comfortably afford. He helps to keep people’s dreams attainable from the outset.

To that end, Priore makes sure that his process is very transparent for all of his clients. His company uses sophisticated software that keeps the client informed and in the process, as well as organizing the entire job. For him, it keeps the mythos of the “unreachable contractor” at bay. “I push information aggressively because by the time someone calls me, they’re already annoyed. By keeping them purposefully in the process, that doesn’t happen.” 

Vince also is happy to call out a familiar name to readers of Wayne Lifestyle. He recently finished work building Pasta Ramen in Montclair. Pasta Ramen is the new fusion restaurant recently opened by Robbie Felice, owner of Viaggio in Wayne, profiled in our October 2022 issue. "We just finished working with Robbie with his great new place in Montclair and we're about to work on two new restaurants for him."

While building new restaurants might not have much of an impact on reinvesting in your home, more seating availabilities at a Robbie Felice restaurant in our area sure is a good reason to stick around.

Picco Partners is based in Upper Montclair. You can find them online at