Renovation or New Build?

By on November 23, 2019

Style & Design Editor Cindy Trimble Discusses the Pros, Cons and Costs of Renovation vs. a New Build

Renovation versus tear down is a huge question for many of our clients. Renovating a home comes with potential hazards and risks. But, tearing a house down can add costs such as huge demotion and disposal fees. The first question to ask – is there any way the house can be modified to meet your needs and lifestyle? Or are you going to be forced to live with features that will limit the way you want to live in the house? The “end result” should be your first consideration. Is it possible to get what you want with what you have for your budget?

Pricing renovations can be difficult for builders. It’s hard for them to guess at what lurks behind your walls, siding, under your roof or foundation. Builders often add additional costs for the “unknown.” Or they may add a clause that protects them from the unknown should they uncover a monster with big costs that may cause a delay in the schedule. This may lead to a big hit to your wallet during the construction. 

New construction is a much cleaner slate. There are given parameters for the construction and the related costs. There is a known schedule and budget. Everything will be new and designed exactly as you want it.

Renovation has been very popular recently as homeowners want to reuse and reclaim as much as possible. This has slowed down a lot of the “throw away” and “tear it down” actions and has encouraged many to try to salvage as much of their older home as possible. 

If you have to tear down, maybe there are materials that can be salvaged and reused in your new home. There’s a huge market for salvaged materials. We incorporate reclaimed materials from older homes, warehouses or barns in our projects all the time. Some of the older details in reclaimed materials are priceless and can’t be duplicated in new wood and construction. Plus, older details and materials add a very unique element that you can’t get any other way.

Older homes have details created by artisans and craftsman that are hard to find these days. So, if there is a way to preserve some of those features, that may be worth the effort. However, there is a threshold you may reach where the dollars to redo and preserve exceed your budget. 

Sometimes our clients engage a real estate agent to value a renovated home versus new construction. A renovated home may be worth more and have a wider appeal depending on where it is located. Many people buy the heritage and the character of a home, particularly in small towns or historic districts.

A big feature of a newly constructed home is the utilization of modern materials resulting in minimal maintenance. This is a huge issue with many homeowners these days. The other consideration, here in the mountains, is using materials that are rot and bug resistant, hence the proliferation of using concrete siding. And newer construction makes it much easier to incorporate updated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems without having to tear the house apart to run new systems. This pertains not only to the interior of the house, but connections to the water and sewer supply systems in the site or city. 

Then again, a benefit to renovation is the opportunity to phase the construction and spread the costs over time which may be beneficial for your personal budgeting. New construction is one lump sum that happens all at once. Construction is not an easy task, so some may prefer to get everything done at once and not drag it out over many years.

Renovations can be very disruptive to a household! We strongly advise all clients considering renovation make sure they have a place to live during construction. Living on a construction site is one of the most stressful situations. You must move as much of your belongings out of your house as you can. Construction dust and debris has a way of penetrating everything – cabinets, fabrics, furniture, mattresses, etc. And it is really important to clear the areas very well for your builder. You want to make sure your builder’s focus is on building a great house for you not having to work around all of your belongings (if at all possible!)  ACLM

Cindy Trimble, ASID is owner of StudioTrimble, Inc. based in Blue Ridge. She is NCIDQ certified and a Georgia Registered Interior Designer. 

Cindy Trimble,StudioTrimble, Inc.