Renovate or Start From Scratch?

You love your location, but you aren’t entirely in love with your home. Standing in the kitchen, you can list out 12 things you’d change about the design, structure, tile, colour, and lighting if given the chance.

For weeks you debate with yourself or your partner the greatest of all debates – do we renovate, or do we rebuild?

You may already be imagining the end product – a fantastic backyard, new pool, modernised industrial ceilings, and a house you love from the inside out. But what most people overlook is the process, the intricacies, and the costs of these projects.

Both options have a blinding allure that we’ve seen many clients entranced by.

With a new build, you’ll have to part with good memories you’ve made in your home, live in a rental house for 6 – 12 months, and manage multiple contractors, architects, and council relationships.

Versus renovating where you’re keeping and improving your used and loved features, and giving your existing house an exciting upgrade. There are still multiple relationships to manage and unforeseen costs to endure, but it’s mostly more manageable than a new build.

Deciding whether renovating or taking on a new build is the right choice is highly dependent on your situation, how much money you are willing to spend, and what you ultimately want to do.

These three tips will inform your decision, so you make the choice that best suits your needs and your dreams.

Budget Planning

Most people undertake a home project without taking the time to make a budget they can stick to.

When you fail to budget realistically, you will almost always spend way more than you should, and overpay on the entire project.

The first question to ask is, can you afford a new build? Look at your current expenses weighed against the amount of money you have in the bank to see if a new build is a feasible option.

Check your intentions and ask yourself: What will make me happy? How much trouble are you willing to put yourself through? There are a lot of decisions to be made. Look at the kind of effect people can achieve with The Block or any Bunnings video you can find online.

Review your lifestyle wish list – what are the essential elements you must-have for the lifestyle you dream of? A big backyard with a luxurious pool, or an airy living room with a little reading nook.

Finally, consider the practicality of your project idea. From a budget standpoint, renovating will almost always give you more bang for your buck. But there’s also council consideration, environmental impact, time, builder relationships, and choosing the right architect for your project.

If you’ve got time and budget, and are ready to walk away and come back to a brand new lifestyle, go for a new build.

Renovations on the other hand will be more cost-effective, maintain the integrity of the building you’ve loved, and are a lifestyle improvement instead of a yearlong overhaul.

Assess Your Space

Doing a total demolition can sound like the most comfortable option. With a blank slate, you can build whatever you want, how you want!

Not exactly. Undertaking a new building project for your home can take months to get council approval. Then you have to rent a new space for six months to a year before moving into your brand new space.

That’s a lot of extra time and expenses if you’re looking to make quality changes without a lot of hassle.

Carefully assess the space in and around your home. What do you have to work with? Are there any restrictions on what you’d be able to do with a new build? Consult an architect about the changes you want to make and see if they can be done without tearing your walls down first.

If you choose to renovate, you’ve got the benefit of maintaining the home you’ve made many memories in, while still making the improvements you’ve always wanted to make. You won’t have to move out for months, and council approval on renovations only takes one to two weeks.

Unless you’re dissatisfied with everything about the house or the structural integrity is a danger to you and your family, consider doing what you can with what you have in your space already.

Consider the Size of Your Site

Aside from the space, it’s crucial to consider all of the space outside as well.

If you want to do a full knockdown and rebuild, have the right experts survey the land around your home. Would removing the current structure and putting a bigger one in its place have a negative environmental impact? Will extending the back deck ten extra feet bring the roof crashing down?

Bring your plans forward for council approval as quickly as possible. Nothing would be worse than halting your building project because it has a disastrous effect on the surrounding area or destroys what was supposed to be a heritage home.

Often people don’t want to leave their block because they love the area, and their kids go to school with friends down the road, so they opt for adding on space through renovations or building a more prominent home altogether. Either way, you have to make sure you’re renovating or building within logistical and legal boundaries.

And if what you want is a massive downsizing of space, the best option could be buying a smaller home altogether.

But, if what you want is a grand mansion, it may be easier to buy one that already exists.

Making any improvement in your living situation is exciting, no matter how small or big the scale. But, before you deflate your excitement by taking on a dreadful process because you weren’t prepared, consider these three things.

An informed decision will ensure you are prepared for managing a new building project or taking on renovations that bring your home visions to life for a fraction of the cost.

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