Does it make more sense to renovate your existing home or should you build a new custom home to get exactly what you want? While home renovations seem to be the more economical choice on the surface, they are not always the best option. Here are some of the benefits and trade-offs of both new custom homes and remodeling.
The biggest reason to build a custom home is that you get to choose exactly what you want. You get to choose the location, layout, finishes, appliances, everything. Of course, everything will also all be brand new. It’s nice to move into a 100% new home. While the total cost of a new custom home is likely going to be more expensive than renovating, it’s also important to factor in the resale value of your current home. Often, total renovation costs for a major upgrade to an old home won’t be recouped in the increase in value of your home. You may be able to save money by selling your current home and putting the proceeds and your home renovation budget towards building a new house.
If you are just going to paint or replace the carpet then it makes sense to renovate. If you plan on major remodeling like moving walls, ripping out the old kitchen or adding new rooms, costs can add up quickly. On older homes, opening walls and ceilings often expose many serious problems. Older homes will have old plumbing and electrical that will need to be brought up to code. There may be lead paint, asbestos or serious mold issues that need to be safely before renovation contractors can start on new construction. Problems with supporting beams or the foundation can easily add tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of the renovation. Few of these problems are detectable the before the renovation starts, so you may be in for a big surprise when the estimated quote is drastically increased.
If you love your current home and neighborhood, then you probably don’t want to uproot for a new home, regardless of how beautiful it may be. There is comfort in the old and that shouldn’t be taken for granted. If you are going to stay in your home, try to keep renovations to more cosmetic of surface improvements. Repainting, putting in hardwood floors, changing cabinets and replacing appliances are all great improvements that will keep your costs down. If you can avoid it, don’t tear down walls or ceilings because you may not like what you find.
Only you know how attached you are to your old home. If you are sick of the neighbors and ready for a change, a new custom home will not disappoint. However, if budget is the main consideration, staying put and making minor renovations makes a lot of sense.