As a property owner, you may face the issue of rebuilding versus remodeling. This can occur if you buy a distressed property or if your existing home starts showing severe signs of wear and tear. No matter the situation, choosing whether to rebuild or remodel is a significant decision. To make the right choice, it is helpful to consider the pros and cons of rebuilding versus remodeling. For example, remodeling may require you to invest in quality tile tools for re-flooring your kitchen or bathroom, while rebuilding will likely require you to hire a team of contractors for the job. Explore the pros and cons of remodeling versus rebuilding to help you assess your goals and resources and make a sound decision.
Remodeling Your Property
Remodeling refers to making relatively significant changes to the structural elements of your home. A home remodel is more involved than a home renovation but less involved than a rebuild. Remodels are usually large-scale projects that change the function or layout of a room or combine spaces in your home.
Remodeling your home offers several positives over a complete rebuild. The pros of remodeling versus rebuilding include the cost, time commitment, living arrangements while remodeling, and the ability to do much of the work yourself.
Typically, remodeling your home is less expensive than rebuilding from ground zero. The average renovation cost in 2021 is around $13,000, while the average cost to build a house is between $117,297 and $448,791, depending on the size of your home and its location.
- Time commitment
Remodeling requires less of a time commitment than rebuilding. Depending on what elements you are changing, you can complete a large-scale project in a few weeks to a few months. Alternatively, the average time to build a home is seven to eight months.
- Living arrangements
One significant benefit to remodeling over rebuilding is the living arrangements during the project. Most remodeling jobs allow you to remain in the home while the remodel occurs. You spend less money finding other living accommodations, and it lessens disruptions to your daily routine.
- Remodeling work
When you choose to remodel over rebuilding, you can save on costs and frustration by doing some work yourself. A rebuild requires the help of a team of contractors, but with the proper knowledge and skill set, you can complete many remodeling projects on your own. Invest in a few high-quality tools like a multi-use trowel and a professional-grade tile saw, and you’ll be able to work at your own pace to complete your remodeling projects.
There are a few cons that come with remodeling versus rebuilding. These include unforeseen complications and the potential for the remodel to bring fewer long-term benefits than you could have gained with a total rebuild.
- Unforeseen complications
One of the biggest cons to remodeling is the potential for unforeseen complications. These include damaged plumbing, hazardous or outdated electrical systems, and unexpected rot, decay, or structural damage. These types of problems can end up ruining your remodeling plans and incur costs that would have made rebuilding the better solution.
- Fewer cost-effective benefits
If your remodel runs into issues, you may find yourself paying more than you had anticipated. You may also have to hire additional professionals or end up having to rebuild due to unsafe structural conditions. When this occurs, you lose out on the cost-effectiveness that remodeling can offer and instead end up spending much more time, money, and other resources than you may have by rebuilding in the first place.
Rebuilding Your Home
If the damage to your home is extensive and remodeling poses a significant risk or is too costly, the best decision may be to tear down your home’s existing structure and start again.
For owners of distressed homes or severely damaged buildings, a complete rebuild offers several benefits, from increasing the resale value to allowing for long-term savings on energy.
While it might seem like demolishing your home and rebuilding would be more expensive than renovating, in some cases a rebuild is more cost-effective long term. For houses that are more than five decades old or homes that have not been well-maintained, renovation costs can quickly sky-rocket if structures, plumbing, or wiring need to be replaced.
- Better resale value
The rebuild cost typically doesn’t include the price of the land underneath your home or other factors that often influence the market value of your home, such as proximity to amenities. For homes in desirable locations or with expensive views, rebuilding a brand new home to replace a dilapidated residence can improve your home’s potential resale value.
- Greater design control
If you plan to live in your home long-term before selling it, rebuilding is often the better option. Rebuilding gives you more control over the design and elements you want to include in your home. This allows you to create a home specifically designed to your needs.
- Improved energy efficiency
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average energy consumption per person annually is around 10,700 kWh. This can add up to thousands of dollars each year, depending on the region in which you live. Rebuilding your home from the ground up allows you to add energy-efficient features, which can save you money over the long term. When rebuilding, you can include design features such as super-sealing your home’s envelope, solar tempering to reduce reliance on HVAC, and supplementing your grid energy consumption with photovoltaic panels.
Although rebuilding is an excellent option for some homeowners, several drawbacks may make remodeling a better choice.
Rebuilding from an existing structure may take longer than building from scratch. You have to demolish the home, remove the debris, and repair or replace the original foundation. This can add several months onto the average completion time of seven to eight months. Additional factors, like recent lumber shortages, can affect how long it may take for you to rebuild your home.
- Labor intensive
Rebuilding your home is a labor-intensive process. Whether performing the work yourself or hiring contractors, rebuilding requires immense time and labor to complete. This may require a larger time and financial commitment than you prefer.
- May need to organize alternative living arrangements
Rebuilding your home will likely force you to make alternate living arrangements. Living in a relative’s house may not be an ideal solution for such a long time period. It might also be an expensive hassle to live in a short-term rental property while rebuilding your home.
Which Decision Is Right for You?
When deciding between remodeling and rebuilding, it is crucial to consider the pros and cons of each option. Remodeling typically costs less and allows you to live in the home while the project is ongoing. Rebuilding is usually the most expensive option, but it can offer greater long-term value for the property. When deciding between rebuilding and remodeling, assess all your options and make the best choice for your financial situation, long-term plans, and the property.