When Do You Know It’s Better To Tear It Down Than Renovate

Our houses speak to us, especially if we’ve been in them for a while. Your home will begin to tell you when it needs a bit more TLC. If the signs are coming fast and furious, however, you might be wondering if these fixes are even worth it any longer. How do you know when to renovate vs. whether you should tear the home down and rebuild? Let’s explore that below.

How Long Do You Plan to Stay?

If you see yourself staying for the long haul, the short answer is typically to tear it down. As arduous as a process as that can be, it helps you to basically start anew when it comes to fixes. And if you’re already seeing the signs, there are likely many more of them to come. As this article by TheSpruce.com puts it, “By rebuilding, you reset the clock in terms of the house’s physical nature: everything from the appliances to the house’s envelope (roofing, siding, etc.). When it comes time to sell 15 years later, you’re selling a 15-year-old house instead of one that is 40 years old.” Your resale value shoots through the ceiling and, as an added bonus for you, you get to live in a new house until you do sell.

How Much Money Do You Have?

This is really the first question you should ask yourself, as a rebuild is always more expensive than a teardown. This is true even if you remodel the entire home. So if you’re at a point in your life when your current and/or future money intake is a concern due to your budget, tearing your home down could cause you to get in over your head financially. Go for the remodel or partial remodel … preferably the latter if you do think a teardown would be possible in the future.

Be forewarned, though—the remodel often has costs that sneak up on you during the process. As owner and president of Akron, Philadelphia’s Eby Exteriors, Inc. says via trulia.com, “Anyone who has ever done an expansive renovation project will tell you that the final cost is always higher than anticipated. There are always unexpected costs such as excavating surprises, unseen rot and mold, electrical issues, structural inadequacies, etc.”

Is Your Home Worthy of a Remodel?

In some cases, an old home has so many things wrong it that it makes a remodel nearly undoable. For instance, there may be things about the home that you simply can’t fix, like low ceilings. Some folks also find themselves in the situation in which they want to add an addition to a certain part of the home but the addition footprint doesn’t get approved. If you want more space but permits for additions continually get denied, it could be time to tear the home down and make it bigger.What’s interesting is a teardown will often get approved much faster than a remodel.

You also don’t want to make fixes to a home that has a bad foundation. Many people ask, “How do I know if the structure of my home is unsound?” As any homevester worth his or her salt will tell you, there should be no water in your basement, no cracks in interior walls, and windows should open without effort. When looked at from the outside, walls should be straight. If you find any of these things to be untrue, your home might not worthy of a remodel.

Weigh Character vs. Modern Efficiency

Many times, the decision to remodel or tear down comes down to what you love about your home and what you want from your home. If your home has a lot of character and is steeped in history, remodeling could very well be the way to go to keep things like high quality wood, arched doorways, solid doors, crown molding, and marble windowsills. However, if you feel ready to part with these charming yet older features, the efficiency of a tear down could be very appealing. All new appliances and the like will help your house to run like a well-oiled machine. Plus, environmentalists will love that they can now make their home as green and as energy-efficient as they’ve always wanted it to be.

When it comes time to evaluate whether to remodel or tear your home down, ask yourself these questions. Run the numbers, do some soul searching, and make your choice. Because your decision is personal to you and what you want from your home, it’s always going to be the right one.

Image via Pixabay / Maitemara

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