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Build a Custom Home or Renovate Your Existing House?

by Josh Kulbaba on Feb 22, 2017

There is a difficult choice to be made between building the custom dream home you’ve always wanted or renovating your current residence, the house you know and love. On one hand, remodeling could save you a lot of money, but you’d still be in your old home. On the other hand, building a new custom home means finally getting everything you want in a house. You get to choose every detail. The trade-off is that you have to move away from your old community and neighbors, not to mention, that you probably love that old house you’ve spent years in. How do you decide on the best option for your family, lifestyle, and budget?

The Pros of Renovating

Minor, cosmetic home renovations such as replacing kitchen cabinets, re-doing your bathrooms, installing new carpet and repainting can all be done relatively quickly and cheaply. If you like your home and neighborhood, but just need to update your home, renovations can be much cheaper and faster than building a new custom home from planning to completion.

If you’ve lived in your home for a long time, it can be hard to leave the community you know and love. You’ll likely have long-term neighbors, and it’ll be especially hard to move school-age children away from their friends. Established communities will also tend to have larger trees, established parks and will often be closer to trendy neighborhoods.

The Cons of Renovation

One of the biggest problems of renovating older houses is that you’ll be limited by the layout and size. It’s difficult to make rooms larger, increase closet space or add more rooms. Substantial renovations like removing walls, adding rooms, raising ceilings, etc. will all add significant engineering, architect and construction costs. Older homes were often designed with different lifestyle expectations, so they may have wasted or under-utilized spaces that are hard to correct with renovations.

An even greater problem is that older homes often contain dangerous materials like asbestos, lead paint or mold that will have to be safely removed by professionals to make your home safe for your family. This can greatly add to the costs of renovating.

In addition, older plumbing and electrical systems will likely need updating to meet modern standards and your family’s needs. If you have difficulty finding electrical outlets on a regular basis or have low water pressure problems, you’ll probably need to invest in a significant upgrade.

The Pros of Building a New Custom Home

The main reason for building a custom home is to get the exact home you want. Every detail from the view, layout, location, right down to the doorknobs can be chosen by you. If you are constantly annoyed by your current house and hate to stay at home, building new might be your best escape.

If you’re sick of your house and neighborhood, building a brand new home in a new community can be a transformative experience for your family. You can search for a great location on an inner-city lot or maybe fulfill your dream of moving to a spacious acreage with a view outside the city. The options are endless.

Also, don’t forget that the sales price of your old home will go towards the new house so building custom may not be that expensive. In fact, a large-scale structural renovation may not be recouped in the increased value of your old home, so building new might make more financial sense.

One final benefit is that you can remain in your current home while the new one is being built. If you are going to renovate, you’ll most likely need to find a different place to live while construction is taking place.

The Cons of Building New

Building a new custom home can be expensive. It’ll largely depend on what you want in your home. A giant house, with floor-to-ceiling windows, exotic materials, and top-of-the-line appliances will naturally cost a lot more than more modest choices. With so many options available, you’ll really have to curtail your demands to keep your home within budget. If money is no object, then this is not a problem, but for most, costs are a key consideration.

The other problem is the time it takes to build a custom home. You’ll need to choose a lot and plan out every detail of your home with architects, designers, and your home builder. It’s a lot of work, getting exactly what you want.

How will you Choose?

Both renovating your current home and building new will bring great improvements in your lifestyle. Take some time to talk to your family and really discover what you all want in your new home. No matter what you choose, taking the time to think about your future requirements and planning accordingly will help you make a better choice. There are clear benefits and drawbacks to both renovating and building, and that is a great problem to have.

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