So, you’re the proud owner of a home which could potentially be updated.
There’s space available on the block and you and your family want to update your home, making it more suitable for your lifestyle.
Do you renovate your home? Or do you knock it down to build a new, more modern home? It can be a particularly hard decision, but there are a few questions you can ask yourself to gain some clarity into this dilemma.
Choosing renovation or building new – 7 ways to get the right answer, for you.
Check if your property has a character or heritage listing.
Are you allowed to knock it down? If you have a heritage home, you may not be able to do so, so it pays to check with your local council to see if any heritage restrictions apply. Should this be the case, don’t stress – your building designer will be able to make clever and sympathetic design suggestions to deliver the optimal outcome which remains within regulations. It pays to talk to a design firm with solid experience in renovations, along with a proven track record which is demonstrated through its history of award winning projects!
Check your budget, and understand that renovation will almost always cost more than a new build.
This is not a hard and fast rule. However, the risk of unforeseen issues is almost guaranteed. Having a building designer on board who has experience in renovations, and is more able to understand the issues that you may face and advise you accordingly, means that you reduce that risk as much as possible. Having said that, a new house design and build is far easier to control in terms of costing and timeframes, especially if you have the right team.
Are you prepared to move out?
Sometimes it’s possible to remain in your home when you have renovations carried out. Possible, but not always recommended, especially for the sake of your sanity. If you determine you need to move out during the renovation, ensure you include the costs associated with alternate accommodation in your budget.
Do the research.
If you love the character and the history of the home and you want to stay in the neighbourhood, then renovating is a real option. If you are seriously considering renovations, do the research on what is actually there in your home to start with. How are the foundations? Is it structurally sound? Are the services in adequate condition, or will there be replacements required? Sometimes the love of the character outweighs the fact that renovation will cost more, but being armed with as much information as possible is always recommended.
What sells in your area?
What kind of area do you live in? Is it full of renovated homes that are popular with buyers? Or are you surrounded with new, modern homes which use a larger footprint on the block? It’s worth talking to a building designer to see the potential, and then getting some ‘on-the-ground’ valuation advice from local real estate agents. Find out what your home is worth now, what it would be worth after renovations, and what a new home would be valued at. It’s just a matter of doing the sums.
Why are you wanting to change your living surroundings?
If you understand the ‘why’, then you will be able to understand the ‘how’. Are you wanting more light in your home? Do you need to add more bedrooms? Are your kids grown up, and you want to remodel to suit your new lifestyle? And then, what sort of home really connects with you – do you really like the idea of your home having a story, a history, some longevity? Are you prepared to be flexible with some design issues depending on the existing structure? Or are you someone who wants to live in a brand new modern family home – somewhere no-one else has ever lived before – and you know exactly what you want, no question. Know why you want to upgrade, and know which sort of person you are – this will help you decide.
Is it possible to do both?
Does your property have a certain element which is structurally sound, which could form the basis of a new house? Would it be possible to open up the core of the house, and add virtually a new house to it (depending on the boundary restrictions on your block – make sure to check with council)? It’s worth having a reputable building designer take a look to see what is actually possible, and potentially work up some sketches, then costing it.
So ultimately, the more you know about what you want, and the sort of person you are, the easier you will find this decision. And of course, if you need any advice or ideas, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.