Renovating Your Existing Home vs. Building a New Custom Home


If you’ve lived in your home for a while, you might be ready for a change. Whether you are unsatisfied with the layout of your home or looking for big changes, one of the major questions you have to answer is if it’s better for you to renovate your current house or to tear down and build new. And the answer may surprise you.

Should I Renovate or Tear Down and Build New?

With the popularity of home renovation television shows, renovating might seem like just the thing to make your home feel well and truly yours. However, one of the pitfalls of renovating is that it can turn into a never-ending project. Perhaps you renovate your kitchen into the kitchen of your dreams, but then it appears at odds with the rest of the house, making it look drab and dated. Perhaps you find hidden surprises as you start renovating which add up to hidden costs. Oftentimes, depending on your home, location, and your specific situation, it may be better to tear down an old home and build new than a top-to-bottom renovation. Before making the decision, here’s what you should consider.  

Consider the Original Details of the Home

Is your home older and full of historic charm and character? Are their original details in your home that you are attached to? Many older houses were built with higher quality wood and finishing touches that are difficult to replicate today. If you find yourself in this situation, renovating might be your best bet. 

That said, older homes need to be very well-taken care of. When you evaluate your historical charmer of a home, be sure to also take into consideration heating, cooling, plumbing, and utilities. Not all older homes are worth saving, and a teardown will give you the flexibility to build with modern materials for a more energy-efficient home. 

Consider the Foundation

If your home has structural issues, a teardown and new build is recommended. This is particularly important if you have a crumbling foundation or live in an earthquake-prone area. Check to make sure that your walls are straight with no cracks on the interior walls and with windows that easily open and close. The basement or crawl space should be free of any water. If any of these are a problem, a teardown and new build is your best bet.

Check out if there is any water damage in your home as well. Water accumulation in the basement or crawlspace can occur after a burst pipe or even after a rainstorm. If the first few feet of sheetrock on the first floor becomes water-logged, this needs to be stripped away and replaced. This can be done in a renovation. However, if damage is more severe and damages the house past the first floor, a rebuild is likely the smartest approach forward. 

Consider the City’s Regulations and Your Timeline

In many cities, there are rules and regulations when it comes to renovating and rebuilding. In cities and towns that have a lot of restrictions and rules, it’s usually much faster to renovate as it is much quicker to gain approval for a project involving an existing house. 

Consider Your Budget 

Unwanted surprises and unexpected expenses occur more often than not during a renovation. The final cost is almost always higher than anticipated. From electrical issues to unseen rot and more, consider your budget carefully if you are planning to renovate. If your renovation budget is considerably less than a complete teardown and new build, then renovation might be the smartest decision for you. A teardown and rebuild is usually much easier and more straightforward than a renovation. 

Call in the professionals to get quotes to help you make the decision to tear down and rebuild or renovate. These experts will be able to help you make this decision based on your goals for your home, your budget, the restrictions of the city, and your specific situation.