RENOVATE OR RELOCATE?

Your home is one of life’s biggest investments. Therefore, it is no surprise that the decision to start work on a new home can be a very daunting one. Do you want to extend and renovate your existing home, or start fresh with a new build? Which is the best option for you? With this in mind, we have put together the below to hopefully provide insights into both options and provide some guidance in the decision making process. It is important to keep in mind that everyone’s situation is different- what may be the best option for someone, might not be the best for you. There is no right or wrong answer, it all comes down to what is the best option to suit your individual needs.

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You have heard it said many times before- location, location, location.  Chances are, if you are considering the idea of renovating or extending your existing home, nine times out of ten you are already in an area that you love and are comfortably settled in. You might be located close to work, family or friends and your kids might be in the local school. Not to mention, you would know all the best super markets, growers markets, café’s and all the back ways to get home to avoid traffic. Giving up all this to move to a new house can be an overwhelming thought. If your location is perfect, but your house no longer suits your needs, you may then begin to think to yourself, ‘what if we demolish the house and rebuild on the existing block?’. This is certainly a viable option and in many cases, may even open more doors for you. You may be sitting on a block with a zoning that allows subdivision. This option could allow you to offset the cost of your new home with the sale cost of the subdivided land.

However, what if you are in an area that no longer suits your needs? You want to move closer to the city or maybe you want to get further away from the hustle and bustle and move by the coast or up in the hills. If you do decide to sell and buy else where, it is important to remember that before you even walk in the front door, you have already outlaid a substantial amount of money. This money is not only in the selling cost of your existing home, but also in the cost of buying and removalist fees. The costs involved in moving can very quickly add up. 

Now, if you have decided to move, but can’t find an established house on the market that suits your needs, naturally, you could decide to build your own, custom home that suits your exact needs. A huge positive of this is that you can design your own, dream home, purpose built to meet your exact requirements. Maybe you need a four-car garage, or possibly you work form home so want a home office that is completely separate from the living areas. You may even be the next master chef in the making and want a particular kitchen design. Whatever your needs are, you have the ability to start from scratch and design the house to fully function around these particular needs.  Again though, you do have the costs associated with selling your existing home, however, you now also have the cost of covering your current mortgage, as well as the new build mortgage.

If you find yourself in a situation whereby you are settled in your home, with a perfect location and an emotional connection, however it no longer suits your changing needs, where do you turn next? With the high costs associated with relocating, you may decide that this money could be better spent being invested into your existing home, renovating to not only suit your new needs, but to add further value to your home. One of the first things you should keep in mind when considering which renovation path is correct for you is the size of the project. Is it a small addition off to one wing, or are you remodeling the entire existing house? Can it be designed and built to work around your living needs so you can remain living there? If it’s an entire remodel, chances are you won’t be able to live there through the project and so you have two choices. One, you move in with friends or family or two, you rent whilst the project is built. So, whilst you have saved some money as you are not paying selling agents fees along with any of the other selling and buying costs, you now likely have a mortgage and rent to cover so definitely something to think about. 

Now that we have covered some of the upfront planning cost behind your two main options, here are some other things to consider.  One big thing to be conscious of is the cost of a new build in comparison to a renovation and extension build. The cost of tackling a renovation and extension can be more expensive compared to a new build. The reason being, firstly your builder and trades need to be more experienced and have a larger skill set to tackle these projects, but on top of this is the work involved. With a new build you are starting with a clean slate and not working around an existing structure. You are not pulling down a wall here to add a room over there, so before you even begin new work there is already cost involved in demolition. This is where smart design comes into play when working with these projects and designing something that meets your requirements, but has as little cost impact on the existing house as possible. This is why working with a designer and builder who are experienced with these projects is important.

So, it’s a bit of a sliding scale to work out if it’s going to be more cost effective and better suit your needs to sell and move on or stay and extend. Both are valid options and both with various pros and cons, but careful planning is required to decide which of the options will best suit you. If you do decide to stay and extend, one of the huge benefits in our opinion can be the final design you end up with. In working with the existing home and modeling a design that not only suits your needs, but also complements the existing home, you can end up with some quirky design items that you normally wouldn’t include in a new home build. Some of these quirky design items give your home a point of difference, giving it its own personal character.  Stay tuned for our next post where we show you some examples of these quirky designs that can be created by working with existing homes. 

Janik Dalecki