Like many people, I am often torn between whether I should renovate my existing home or simply knock it down and build a new home.
The general rule of thumb is that renovating an existing home has a higher cost per square metre than building a new home. The reason for this is due to the need to preserve, work around and refurbish – requiring larger amounts of labour, planning and detail in the execution.
While both renovating and building new come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, the best way to begin to assess where you stand is to ask yourself some basic questions.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Did you buy the property due to its existing character?
- Is your property reaching an age whereby things will require constant repair?
- Does the home cater to your future needs when it comes to space, bedrooms and general living?
- Do you like the suburb you are in?
- Can you financially afford the house as is; prior to renovating or opting to build new?
While these questions might seem basic, answering them will allow you to confidently understand the approach that is right for you. For me, it comes down to a few things.
When to renovate an existing home
If the house has an old-world charm that drew you into the purchase, perhaps you wish to maintain the character and opt to renovate.
Renovating also allows you to stagger your investment, opting to build a ‘master set of plans’ to move towards while you selectively renovate the items you can afford to.
Inspiration on how to stagger your renovation approach can be found by reviewing a list of renovation ideas.
Things to consider when you’re thinking about renovating:
Engaging an architect will help you to ascertain your desired plan, finishes and costs. This plan will help you have a true picture of the costs of renovating.
Be conscious to not over-capitalise your property; by spending money you won’t retrieve when selling the house.
When to build a new home
If the property is beyond repair, perhaps an eyesore on the street but in a location that you like – building new is probably your best option.
It’s also the wiser option if you feel that the current home you have is not fit for your future needs, effectively allowing you to future proof your lifestyle without the fees of selling and buying a new property (which can often outweigh the costs of simply building new).
If the actual build cost is a concern, you can quickly ascertain whether it would be more effective to build new by using a website such as iBuildNew – where you can see the costs for a range of homes, while getting inspired on how your future home may come together.
Things to consider when thinking about building a new home:
- Hold extensive discussions with your builder to get a full cost of the build.
- Don’t forget to include features you require such as air con and appliances.
- The more you can work into the initial build, the better. Don’t do things piecemeal yourself.
What do you do next?
Now, assuming you have a view on your desired approach – it’s time to seek professional advice to better understand costs.
- Thinking of renovating? Speak with an architect. Pay for their time, discuss your ideas and request initial plans including costs.
- Thinking of building new? Speak with a range of builders and find example homes on sites such as iBuildNew as the framework for your discussions.
Once you have done this, you should now have an approach you wish to pursue, a rough idea of the process, costs for doing so, and you’ll be ready to take the next step.