…a house is not a home until you love where you live…

When to Build New vs When to Renovate?

It’s a question society been asking for centuries: tear it down or renovate? We always wish the answer was straightforward but it rarely is. There are considerations, logistics and design dilemmas – not to mention historical or personal significances. There are questions to ask like “what is the purpose of your build? How does the existing structure help or hinder your design plans?” And then there are less tangible factors like attachment to a home and emotional connections – and there’s always location, location, location.

With analysis and, dare we say, soul-searching, it can become clear whether renovation or a new build is a better option for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the deciding factors…

Renovation considerations

When renovating, the initial questions to ask yourself is whether it is a partial or a full reno. Partial renovations could be just a room or two, while full renovations require a complete overhaul of the home. It is often believed that renovations are cheaper than building new but this is not always the case, especially when major system upgrades or foundational issues are present.

When renovation becomes much more questionable when there are structural integrity issues with the home, water damage or complete system upgrades that need to happen before renovation can commence. The costs of these renovations can often outweigh a new build. It is highly recommended that you consult with an architect before making any decisions. This could save time, money and many of the hidden headaches that come with the surprises of renovation.

But if you do choose to remodel, make sure it makes sense, for the long-term resale value of your house, assuming one of these are good reasons.

  • If you love your neighborhood and have a structurally sound home.
  • If there are no available lots in the neighborhood you want to live.
  • If you’re looking for the trees and growth that comes with mature neighborhoods.
  • If property values in your neighborhood are rising.
  • And, equally valid, if you have an emotional attachment to your home and have the funding to make the renovations you want (our concern with this train of thought is always that – when all is said and done – a client will spend money to have a brand-new old house).

When is it time for new construction?

New builds have many benefits, while the challenges are simply money, personal attachment and perhaps moving to a new neighborhood. However, keep in mind that a complete renovation can often be more expensive than a new build.

Building from the ground up can not only be less expensive than a full renovation, but it can also be faster, as the construction of a new home is much more straightforward. Additionally, your new home can be made from more environmentally sustainable materials, be equipped with modern technology, have all the options you’re looking for and have a more efficient and customized layout. Not to mention there will be far less maintenance in a newly constructed home.  

Overall, we’re looking at the major factors like investment, design, purpose of the build and the limitations of what the existing structure provides. But, truly, the only way to know for certain is to consult with experts in the field. An architect can give you a great big-picture understanding and if there are any deeper issues they can recommend other professionals to come in for inspections.  

It will always come down to you and what you want, but hopefully these deciding factors will guide you on your way to renovation or demolition.