Advice

Renovate or rebuild? Creating your dream home

6 November 2019


To renovate or rebuild? That is the question and a typical dilemma when making major changes to your home. However, it is a good dilemma to have, as it means you are about to start the journey of creating your dream home.

A lot of homeowners decide to purchase distressed properties because there is a higher return on investment and leaves budget spare to create the property of their dreams. Nevertheless, will a major renovation be enough to create the sort of home you envision? Or, maybe you are in a situation whereby you are tired of your current home and you have been considering a major makeover for some time now? Is it worth it? Wouldn’t it be better to simply start with a blank canvas instead?

No matter the situation you find yourself in, in this blog post we are going to take a look at the pros and cons of renovating and rebuilding so that we can help you to come to the right decision for you. Needless to say, there is no magic formula or a clear-cut answer. So, let’s take a look at some of the different key considerations that will help you to come to the right solution for you.

There are a number of different moving parts when determining whether to renovate or rebuild. You need to consider factors such as sustainability, planning permission, financial cost, structural quality, and design freedom. However, there are also factors that we cannot advise you on because only you know what is right. These are factors such as whether your family has an attachment to the property, where you will live while the building work is being carried out, and so on.

But let’s deal with the elements that we can assist you with…

What does your existing building offer in terms of style and charm?

You are undoubtedly going to benefit from more design freedom if you go for a complete rebuild. However, there is the other side of the coin, and this is the architectural or historical charm of your existing property. Does it have any historical merit? If so, it’s unlikely that it is going to be a property that you are going to want to give up that easily. You also need to think about how far the existing layout and style are from what you want. There is no denying that the main reason why homeowners go for a complete rebuild is that it gives them complete creative license and they do not have any boundaries holding them back in terms of design.

What about planning permission?

Another area that you are going to need to consider is what sort of planning permission you will need. Your
self build home will need to meet all modern building standards, therefore we have more complex planning applications to consider. When renovating a property, this is not always required. In fact, a non-compliant building is acceptable so long as it does not deteriorate the current level of non-compliance. You would not be expected to include wheelchair accessibility and achieve certain energy efficiency levels, for example.

How much will both options cost?

You need to work out the expenses associated with both ventures. A full house renovation may be more expensive than to demolish and rebuild a property. This is not what people tend to expect, and this is why you need to speak to an architect to work out the finances rather than working from general assumptions. One reason why renovations can be a lot more expensive is that you will have 20% VAT added to everything. However, when you build a new home, some items are 0% VAT via a VAT rebate. This can be a huge saving overall.

Is the existing structure of good quality?

The next element you need to consider is the structural quality. If the structure is poor, rebuilding would be the evident solution. However, if you have good structural quality, renovating will be advisable. It is important to recognise that structural quality is a huge safety issue, so do not take any risks on a building that is structurally poor. It will cost you more to make a structural change during a renovation, so you may be better off demolishing for a rebuild to begin with if you envision that there could be some issues with the structure.

Which option is the most environmentally sustainable?

Last but not least, considering the environmental sustainability of the project is also important. Generally speaking, it is greener to work with what you have instead of replacing it. Embodied energy is not insignificant with regards to self build homes. This relates to the energy that is needed for the construction of the house which includes transportation and manufacturing of materials. You also need to consider the amount of rubbish that will end up in a landfill through the demolition of the property. If environmental sustainability is a key factor in your decision, you are better off opting for a rebuild.

As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered when deciding whether to renovate or rebuild your home. We hope that the information that has been provided will have helped you to come to the right decision for you.

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