Renovate or rebuild? Four things to consider.

Have you found your perfect new home location but don’t like the house that’s there?  Or perhaps you want a bigger or upgraded home but you don’t want to move from where you are?  If your answer is “yes” then chances are, you’ve already spent some time considering whether it would be better for you to renovate or rebuild.

Here at Sunstate Homes we often guide our clients with this decision.  There are a lot of factors to weigh up, and many do depend on the individual circumstances of your family and your property involved.  But here are four of the main things to think about:

1. Is your property protected by any planning laws or overlays?

The first thing you need to do when considering any building work on your property is to find out whether or not your property is protected by any planning laws or overlays.

You may not be permitted to knock your existing home down or even change the appearance of it if it is especially old or of historical importance.  There may also be flood mapping or issues with overland water flow that restrict the work you are able to undertake.

These are usually the first enquiries we make on behalf of our clients when they are deciding whether to renovate or rebuild.

2. What is your budget?

When setting a budget for your new home or renovation, its advisable to consider not only what you CAN afford to spend, but also what you SHOULD spend.  We always suggest our clients speak to one or two local agents to find out what their property would be worth if they renovate or rebuild.  This will help you to set your budget and ensure you do not overcapitalise.  We can then help you to come up with a plan that fits within that budget.

3. What end result do you want to achieve?

In our experience, most people who are looking to renovate or rebuild are hoping to:

  1. Add more room to their current home; and/or
  2. Change the layout of their current home to make it more open and/or practical, or to get more north-easterly or northern sunlight into the living rooms

If you want to make substantial changes to the layout of your existing home (especially structural changes) or if you want to add significantly more room then a renovation may actually be more expensive and take longer than it would to build new.  This is because each renovation is completely unique, the materials used usually need to be custom designed and the process is overall more labour intensive.  It is also harder to predict the cost and timeframe of a renovation, because often unexpected issues can arise along the building journey.  The end layout, orientation and façade will also be somewhat constrained by the bones of the existing home.  A brand new home, on the other hand, can usually be built more quickly and cost-effectively using modern systems and materials and the process is far more predictable and efficient.  You can also completely redesign your home from the ground up so that it fits your needs exactly.

However, if you are just wanting a little additional space or to make cosmetic changes to the look of the home, then with some clever and thoughtful design it may be possible to make small but considerable improvements to your home at a relatively low cost.

4. What is most important to you

Lastly, you need to assess your own family values and desires. Perhaps you absolutely love the character and history of your current home and you cannot bear the thought of knocking it down.  Or you may be conscious of the amount of waste associated with knocking down a home and rebuilding it.  In this case, a renovation is probably going to make you happier even if it does end up costing more than a rebuild.  On the other hand, do you like the idea of planning a new home from the ground up, to be exactly how you want it to be?  In that case, a new build is probably the way to go.  Please also talk to us about the available options to have your home demolished in a sensitive way, ensuring that as much of the material as possible is recycled or reused.

If you’d like to discuss your options with us further, we would love to sit down with you for a no-obligation cost-free assessment of your situation.