You love your neighbours, the location of your home, local facilities, transport links and schools, but you’re outgrowing the property or it’s starting to show its age. If moving is out of the equation you’re still left with two solid options – renovate or knock-down and rebuild.
Before delving into the pros and cons of starting from scratch versus updating your current home, there are some key things to consider which might make your decision for you.
How much you have to spend will be one of the biggest dictators of the path you take. If you have a budget of less than $200,000 it may rule out a complete knock-down rebuild. Remember that renovation costs can also spiral out of control, so make sure you do a full plan and work out your budget before starting any work or you may run out of funds halfway through!
TIP! If your renovation budget is creeping towards a few hundred thousand or beyond then it’s definitely time to consider rebuilding, or at least weighing up the costs of both.
Age and condition
If your house is in relatively good condition for its age then modernising outdated kitchens and bathrooms plus adding a few rooms might do the trick. But if the wiring, plumbing, structure and foundations are all starting to go, it may be more cost effective to detonate and start from scratch rather than fix all these elements too.
TIP! Be mindful of any period features or character elements; if you knock it down these will be lost forever, and might impact your home’s future value.
If your home is heritage listed your decision might be made for you. Unless it’s in a serious state of ruin, it’s unlikely you’ll be permitted to knock it down. There may also be heavy restrictions on how you can renovate, so make sure you do your research, speak to council and recruit the services of an experienced architect and/or builder who has in-depth knowledge of your area and property style. Even different streets in the same suburb can have varying restrictions – so don’t assume that just because a neighbour has done something that you’ll be able to as well!
While both are time consuming when you take in researching, planning, finding the right contractors and actually doing the work, it’s likely that a knock-down rebuild will take longer than a renovation – depending on the scale of a renovation.
If your home has an inconvenient or odd layout, sometimes trying to make it work by moving rooms around, adding another floor or knocking out a wall just adds to the confusion. Starting from scratch means you have a clean slate and can choose a design that suits your lifestyle.
It’s easy for feelings to come into the mix and overrule finances. Emotional attachment to homes where you first heard the pitter-patter of little feet, or a property that has been passed down through generations, might mean heart rules the head when it comes to considering knocking down a family home.
Depending on the scale of your renovation and how much disruption you’re prepared to put up with, it might be possible to stay in your home while work’s being carried out. This could potentially save you thousands on renting, moving and storage, not to mention upheaval in having to pack up and ship out. Living on a work site isn’t for everyone though, and also won’t be an option for substantial renovations or rebuilds.
Return on investment
There’s a fine line between adding value to your property that will enhance its value and overcapitalising by spending money that could never be recouped. For example, if your land is worth $300k and with the current house is worth $450k, there’s no point knocking down and rebuilding a four bedroom home at a cost of $400,000 when the area’s median price of modern four-bedroom homes is $550,000. If you’re renovating, think about how to maximise your financial return so you don’t spend money unnecessarily.
Have you had to choose between a renovation and knock-down rebuild? What did you do and why?
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