Should I Renovate or Rebuild?

Lauren O'Grady
May 27, 2020

Do you Renovate your current home or do you Demolish and Rebuild. It’s a very common question and now, more than ever, we all want to make important financial decisions surrounding your home and lifestyle. Along with your budget there are many other factors to take into account in your decision making. We can help make this decision a bit easier for you by considering these important factors.

Is demolishing your house and rebuilding even an option in your area?

We have renovated many heritage listed homes in different parts of Melbourne and different councils will have different rules about what you can and can't do with the property.

Council planning laws prohibit houses of a certain age, or specific historical importance, from being demolished or significantly changed (especially in their appearance to the street). Therefore, before you do anything you need to check with your local council with what is possible with your home.

Get a current Real Estate and Bank Evaluation on your current property

Let’s take the emotion out for a minute and talk about your biggest asset, your home.

Find out how much equity you have in your current home by getting a bank evaluation.

Then have a chat to a few local Real Estate Agents to find out what your house could sell for now, versus what it could be worth when renovated, versus what a brand new home on the block could sell for. Is your home the worst house in the best street or is your existing home already close to the top amount payable in the suburb?

Once you have these figures this will give you a hint on how to set your budget so you don’t over capitalise regardless of which option you choose!

Get an experienced Registered Builder to complete a thorough building inspection of your existing property.

How structurally sound is your current property? What might you have to potentially repair or replace on the existing property? Some common examples of this are roofing, gutters, any materials with asbestos in them, flooring and wiring. Your builder will be able to give you advice on how costly these repairs may be. You will then need to work out how much of your renovation budget will need to be dedicated to making old good again. Many aged floors and walls can move significantly over time move and become uneven which makes it impossible to install new flooring, doors, cabinetry over. Therefore, you may need to get this area restumped to make the levels straight and as new again. If the house is structurally quote unsound and it's going to cost you too much to repair the best option financially may be to demolish and rebuild

If you were to renovate ore extend how significant are your requirements?

Think about what you would like in your family home. Are you wanting extra rooms and if so how many? Will your family change much over the next ten years ie will you have more children and what will the ages be or maybe you have children leaving home in the near future.

If your changes required are only cosmetic, then obviously it would be better to renovate however if you are wanting to significantly expand the house and make structural changes with either extending out or adding a second floor then you need to consider how much of the existing property will actually still remain. Would it be best to demolish and rebuild in this instance?  

What’s the current orientation of the house?

Generally speaking people like homes that get northern sunlight into the living areas of your home.  If the home faces completely the wrong direction, and there’s no room left on the block to add a new extension or you have to make massive structural modifications to the existing home to open it to northern light – then again, a renovation may not be the best use of your mortgage.

Renovating can sometimes cost more than a rebuild.

Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly what is going on behind old walls and under old floors. When we Renovate we can preempt things but we can’t be 100% sure of any possible structural damage or unsafe aspects to the home which may lead to budget blow outs.

Houses that are bespoke, unique-to-the-individual-home can be is time consuming and labour intensive.

However, brand new homes can be built quickly, using systems and modern materials that maximise efficiency and save time and sometimes money.

What sort of home owner are you?

Do you love your current home? Does it have character, history and quirks that you enjoy immensely. Do you love the idea of adding another chapter to that story, and reinvigorating the home to live on. Those home owners are "Renovators"

The second type of home owner is really attracted to the idea of living in a home where everything is new. They love the idea of ‘brand-new’ and they love the idea that they can shape something to be exactly how they want it to be. These people see an existing home as a handicap and a chain around their neck in creating a home that they can truly love and enjoy. These home home are the "New Home Builders".

If you would like more information regarding this, our Registered Builder can come out to your property, complete a full house inspection and sit down with you to discuss your options. We work on a Collaborative basis with Architects and Draftsman which basically means we work for you to work as a Consultant and help plan that dream home or renovation within your budget and vision

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