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    Is it Cheaper to Renovate or Knock Down Rebuild? You May Be Surprised.

    April 26, 2023  

    If you love your neighbourhood but not your home, you’re probably wondering if you should renovate or detonate and start fresh.

    Land in your suburb might be expensive or hard to come by. So when your growing family has no room to play, you have nowhere to work, or your house is falling down around you, you might consider renovating with the help of a home builder in Sydney. You might look at adding a room or two, moving the kitchen to the back of your house, creating more outdoor living. But how much will all that cost? It is achievable? Maybe it’s cheaper and easier to demolish your old house and just start again.

    Whether it’s worth renovating depends on a number of factors and it’s worth considering more than just the estimated cost when it comes to creating your dream home in a neighbourhood you love. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re trying to work out whether to renovate or knock down rebuild.

    Knock Down and Rebuild or Renovate – Which is Cheaper?

    • A knockdown rebuild is where your current home is demolished and a brand new house is built in its place.
    • A renovation can involve replacing outdated or broken parts of your home. It may also include adding new rooms to your house or changing the layout.

    While a renovation may seem like a smaller project, a large renovation can end up costing homeowners more than building a brand new house.

    Without assessing what you hope to achieve at the end of your building project, it’s impossible to say one method is more affordable than the other for a custom made homes.

    Questions to Determine Which Option is More Cost-Effective

    Whether a renovation is a more cost-effective option depends largely on the scope of works. If you need to make major structural changes or nasty surprises arise during your renovation, it’s likely you could blow your budget and you may not achieve what you’d hoped for with the end renovation result.

    Here’s what to consider when weighing up if you should renovate or knock down and rebuild.

    Your Location – Is your existing home sitting on a land goldmine?

    Land is becoming harder to find and if your existing home is located in a desirable area, it’s worth factoring this into your decision. The future value of your land should be an important consideration when you’re weighing up whether rebuilding is a better option over renovating.

    For example, if you have a run-down old home on a beachside block, building from scratch is likely to be a better option in the long run.

    One of your first steps should be to get in touch with your local council and see if there are any restrictions on what you can do on your property. If your home is zoned in a heritage area, you may not be allowed to knock down and rebuild. Similarly, building regulations may restrict what you can do during renovations to allow the heritage value of your home to be retained.

    Your Site – Will renovations help you get the most from your existing property?

    How your home is orientated on your property should also be a consideration. Will renovating allow you to capture the best views or sunlight? If the answer is no, your current home doesn’t make the most of your site, then a knockdown and rebuild is probably a better option.

    Whether you rebuild or renovate, a flat block is generally easier to work with over a sloping block which will likely require earthworks and retaining walls or a more complicated and costly foundation.

    In some cases, a knock down rebuild will allow better access to your block. This is generally better for your builder, therefore lowering your costs and saving you money. It may even allow you to subdivide your property and use this extra cash to fund your brand new home.

    The Condition of Your Existing Home – Does a knock down rebuild make more sense?

    • How old is your existing house? Will your existing home be worth more if it’s restored and preserved? This can be a tough decision, especially if a renovation isn’t the most cost-effective option.
    • Does it require major structural repairs?It can often save time and money to demolish an older home if extensive structural repairs are required.
    • Does the existing property suit the site?It is orientated correctly? Is it facing away from a great view? Does it capture enough sunlight? Can these factors be overcome or is it time to create a new home that maximises your site?
    • Can it be made more energy efficient? Energy costs are generally one of a household’s main expenses. Building an energy-efficient new home is much easier than retrofitting your existing house with energy-efficient measures.

    Amount of Work Involved – Is a major renovation a viable option?

    If your existing home just needs a new kitchen or has an outdated bathroom, a renovation might be the way to go. However, if you want to design your dream home with a whole new layout that requires major structural change, a knock down rebuild is likely the most cost-effective option.

    New home builders will generally provide you with a proposal based on their assessment of your site and your initial design ideas,, giving you an idea of the costs involved. Whereas with a renovation, it can be harder for a builder to provide an estimated cost without knowing if small changes will uncover bigger problems.

    Assessing what needs to be replaced is difficult for many homeowners without the expert knowledge a construction professional can provide. For example, adding an extension may require your home to be fitted with a new roof. Or you might determine that site costs aren’t feasible to warrant adding one extra room with an extension.

    It is always wise to speak with a builder to determine if a renovation is even an option, or if it will require major structural works that will cost more money than it’s worth.

    Staying or Selling – Which method is going to improve the market value?

    Renovation budgets can limit the creativity of your design, so it’s important to consider what you want to achieve so as not to overcapitalise with costly renovation projects that fail to deliver you your dream home. Ask yourself, is this going to be your family home for years to come? Or will you be looking to sell in a few years’ time when your teenagers move out of home, or your suburb becomes too busy for your liking?

    Taking your land value into consideration, which option is going to increase the value of your existing property? Don’t be afraid to contact real estate agents and ask for their opinion and do some research about the property market in your local area.

    What Could Go Wrong? – Are you prepared for nasty surprises and hidden costs?

    One advantage of knocking down and rebuilding your house is that it removes the chance of uncovering average cost to rebuild a house in Australia that can quickly eat into your budget when something unexpected pops up during the renovation. Older homes can throw up many issues, some of which won’t be discovered until building works have begun.

    • It’s common to find asbestos covered up during previous renovations and it’s used in many products, from wall sheets to floor tiles.
    • Insect infestation/damage. It’s difficult to know what’s lurking behind your walls until you’ve begun to renovate. Having to replace framing or structural beams can add thousands to your budget.
    • Mould thrives anywhere there’s moisture and is commonly found during bathroom renovations. Depending on how bad it is, it can cause major delays to your timeline and negatively impact your renovation budget.
    • Electrical wiring is another issue that can be difficult to investigate before the building process begins.
    • Foundation issues. Depending on how your foundation is laid, your builder may not consider investigating these issues unless problems are evident before building.
    • Outdated construction methods.For example, issues such as unsafe framing or incorrect span of roof trusses will have to be rectified before you can continue to renovate.

    Financial Situation – What’s the true cost of your dream home?

    If you choose to demolish your house and start from scratch, you’re going to have to factor alternative accommodation into your budget. Whereas with a renovation, you’ll often be able to stay in your home while it is being worked on. However, you need to consider if this is something you can live with as building can take a long time, especially if you run into delays, and it can be very messy and dusty.

    You also need to review how you will fund the rebuilding process or a renovation project and speak to your bank as soon as possible.

    Remember that maintenance costs on new homes are also less when weighing up whether to rebuild or renovate.

    How to decide between a knock down rebuild or home renovation

    • Consider the future worth of your home, to you and in market terms
    • Assess the amount of work that’s needed to help determine the costs involved with each option
    • Think about your location, the site and the condition of your existing house
    • Seek expert advice on your knockdown rebuild project with a trustworthy new home builder.






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