Renovating vs. Rebuilding a House

Renovating vs. Rebuilding a House
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Whether to renovate or rebuild your house can be a practical and an emotional decision. An article published in “Residential Architect” magazine reports that homeowners faced with this choice evaluate a range of factors including money, time frame, resources and environmental concerns. To renovate or construct your dream house from the ground up with no regrets, take a step back and consider the pros and cons of both options from the view of the experts -- architects and contractors.

Set Your Goal

Your professional team -- your architect and contractor -- want to know exactly what you want in a house; think of this as your baseline. To a professional, knowing that you grew up in a house, that you’ve always wanted a certain design of house, a Craftsman for example, or that you just like the feel of a house with a history might mean that renovating is best for you. On the other hand, a professional recognizes that if you need a highly customized living space designed especially to suit your tastes and lifestyle, then rebuilding might be your answer.


If you want to change the way things look on the inside of a house or protect yourself from costly new construction permits, renovate. According to an article published in "The Self Builder" magazine, Edwardian and Victorian homes make particularly good candidates for renovations. You also might consider renovating a house if you just want to make modern upgrades -- for example, expand the kitchen and living areas, add a second floor and create a master suite. Begin renovating as long as project costs don't exceed the price of comparable homes in your neighborhood. Additionally, pay attention to the reality of renovation before you jump in; the unknown is a particular hazard when renovating an existing home. You can’t predict what problems may be hidden behind the walls and under the floors. Unexpected setbacks could seriously impact your budget and time frame.


Rebuild your house if you want it to be thoroughly eco-friendly and energy efficient. Consider rebuilding if you have very specific design ideas or wish to live in a home that meets current building standards. Rebuilding is also a good idea if your existing home would sell for significantly less money than other homes in your neighborhood. On the other hand, rebuilding typically takes longer than remodeling. If you’re on the fence, a rebuild can be the best way to have your cake and eat it too; conservation architecture incorporates the raw materials from your old home into the design and decor of your newly rebuilt home.

Your Dream Home

Once you’ve decided whether to renovate or rebuild, sit down with the professionals you have chosen to work with. Architects and contractors can help you identify any key factors you may have overlooked. Making an informed decision that incorporates your heart’s desire with the reality of what’s possible is the best way to end up with a dream home.