Renovate or Rebuild – An Important Decision to Make

June 19, 2020

Some decisions have a great impact on our lives. Such decisions should not be made in haste. The decision to renovate or rebuild one’s house is a decision of this kind. It is good to take some time and consider the pros and cons and weigh all the possibilities according to one’s unique situation before arriving at the final decision.

Here are some factors you would need to consider:  

Quality of the House

It is necessary to look at the present condition and age of the house. If it is too old and qualifies to be a ‘heritage house’ you could face restrictions on rebuilding and renovating it. You would need to get relevant permissions from the authorities before you start work on it.

You may want to consider:

  1. Is there a problem with the foundation and the main structure of your house? Will renovation fix the problem?
  2. Will your foundation support another floor?
  3. Has there been any previous structural alteration done to the house that could cause additional risks or problems?
  4. Are you facing problems with termites and moulds?
  5. Are the fixtures and services in your house too old? Does your house need repairing or replacing damaged parts?
  6. Do you need to update your kitchens, bathrooms and change the electrical fittings?
  7. Is the cost of maintenance and repairs too much?
  8. Are there unappealing elements in your house that you want to change and rework on?
  9. Does the exterior of the house need alteration? Do you need to rejuvenate the aesthetics of your house?
  10. Do you need to fix problems in one or two rooms or does the entire house need fixing?
  11. Does your house meet your present needs or does it feeling congested?
  12. Is there enough space to construct a couple of rooms? 
  13. Is your home well positioned on the site, giving you enough daylight, warmth, and does it have a good view? Is it in a dark and awkward space? What are the things you want to change?
  14. Does your house have the type of aesthetic and design you want?
  15. Does your house need additional facilities such as space for family interaction, a pool, a deck, BBQ area or a green patch for the children to play on?

Once you consider all these things you would have an idea whether the house needs to be rebuilt or renovated. The higher the number of problems, the better it is that the house be taken down and rebuilt from scratch. However, if the problems are few and manageable, requiring only replacement of a few fixtures, adding rooms or redesigning of the exteriors and parts of the interiors, renovation would be good option for you.

Value of the House to You

It is difficult to take the decision to break down and rebuild some houses as they have a lot of sentimental value. There are houses that are a part of the family legacy that one may want to protect. There are houses that have character and an architectural style that you would like to preserve.

While weighing the pros and cons you would need to consider the additional costs you would have to incur for getting special fittings that match your present house so that everything is uniform. You may need special customized fittings which would cost much more than standard parts. All these things will add to the cost of the renovation.

How much Space you have

If you live in a small house and are considering expanding your family, you will need additional space and need to make some arrangements for it. If there is vacant space on the side of the house or behind, you may consider extending the house and constructing a room or two depending on the space available.

If the foundation of the house is strong enough, you could consider building another floor. However you would need to get the right permissions and approvals in place before you attempt to do it.

If the placement of the house is odd and you are unhappy with the lighting and the way it is positioned, renovation will not change it. You would need to consider rebuilding as you can reposition the house and build it from the start to finish and get your dream house.

The Budget Available

Before you set out on a journey you need to plan and prepare and see if you can bear the costs involved or else you could get stuck midway. Similarly rebuilding or renovating a house would require a good sum of money. You would need to come up with a good plan and get a proper estimate for it.

Consider if you can arrange the amount needed through your savings and available resources. Would you require a loan or additional finance to bear the expenses involved? Are you able to organize the money to rebuild the entire house or just enough for a small scale renovation?

It has been found in certain cases that the cost-per-square-metre of rebuilding a house is cheaper than the cost-per-square-metre of a renovated house. This is because the materials and labour involved in joining a new house to an old one can be more expensive. Renovation costs can sometimes be hard to predict and could jump up considerably causing the whole budget to go out of hand.

On the other hand when there is a knock down rebuild involved, there will be additional costs for clearing the space and getting the original home knocked down, removing paths, clearing driveways, gardens, lawns and fences. Moreover, all the services may need to be upgraded including the sewer, stormwater (including detention tanks), power and water connections.  

When it comes to renovation too, one will need to remember that customised and luxury fittings cost a lot more than standard ones. If you are renovating a part of the house but insist on having customised fittings, the cost could still go higher.

Another thing to consider is whether you would need to live somewhere else while the work is going on as this could be an additional cost to bear until the work is completed and you move back in.   

Process of Rebuilding and Renovation

When there is rebuilding involved, things move a lot smoother. An entire team will come up with a concept and plan for the house. Once it is approved and construction begins the site manager will keep you updated about each development. One doesn’t need to be directly involved in the process.

However, the same cannot always be said about renovations as there are specific things that need to be done in a particular way and one will have to be involved in all the aspects of the work if the end result has to be as desired. This makes the choice you may of a renovation company all that more important. It is important to be confident that the company will work with your interest in mind and are reliable in their assessment of the work and the quality of renovation work.   

The Timeframe

You will need to consider the total time it will require to renovate or rebuild too. Knocking down an old house and rebuilding it from scratch could take up to an year or more. Time taken for renovations can differ according to the amount of changes to be done. If the entire house needs renovation, it could take from 4 to 8 months. If the plan is changed after work has started it can lead to an increase in the cost and time frame too. Therefore it is best to get the final plan approved before work begins on the house.

Taking the Final Decision

Whether your final dream house is a modern newly built house or whether you prefer the historically rich, well-built houses that have character and stories to tell, either way, it would be good to also consider the resale value of the home while you are making your plan. Many home buyers prefer to have original features such as fireplaces, mantels and ornate plaster ceiling panels.

While taking the final decision, get an estimate of the cost of the renovations. If the cost of renovating is more than half the amount you may need for rebuilding, it could be wise to consider a rebuild and start over again. There are more advantages in having a new modern home as you can build it according to modern energy efficiency standards and even save 40% water and energy bringing down the monthly cost of living and saving you a lot of money over time.  

If you are unhappy with your present house but want to live near your friends in the same neighborhood and cannot think of leaving your locality, the best option for you would be rebuilding it from scratch.  It is quite important that you have an overall concept design and vision for your home project. You could arrange for a stage by stage development of the project or go for an immediate building plan.

The Renovation Builders Process