Deciding whether to build from scratch or renovate can be very challenging for a lot of homeowners. However, the decision that they will make will likely depend on their needs and wishes as well as their budget and site.

If you own a house and you think that it requires a little love, then you might be wondering whether you should remodel your house, or knock it down and start all over again. Since this is a big decision, you have to make some careful considerations. To help you make the right decision for your needs and budget, you have to start with a few questions. Take a good look at what you are hoping to achieve, the local laws that can influence your project, as well as the current condition of your house.

Renovation Versus New Construction

The term “new construction” is quite obvious. There will be a design for the house, and it will be built from scratch. Everything involved in the house is newly installed and constructed. Renovation is typically used when you are making some modifications to the existing structure. There are a lot of reasons why you choose to renovate your home.

New Construction

When you choose to construct a custom home, you should work closely with your team, including your builder, architect, and interior designer. In this way, you can make effective decisions with regard to all the aspects that are involved in your new home. For instance, the type of finish that will be used throughout the house, where will your new home be constructed on your lot, the architectural style that you prefer, and a lot more.


Renovation occurs when you are trying to make some modifications to your existing home. There are a lot of varieties of home renovation including an entire interior gutting, a single room remodel, etc. The most important thing is that your wishes can be accommodated in the existing space.
The following questions can help you in making your decision.

1. Is constructing a new one much cheaper than renovating?

According to Cameron Doueihi, director and builder of Scopeview Projects, the cost per square meter of constructing a new home is much cheaper compared to the cost per square meter of renovating.

Generally, this is because of the expenses involved in updating an existing home as well as the rise in labor costs needed to put a new addition into an old house. Usually, the cost of building a new home can be determined upfront, however, the cost of the renovation is hard to predict. This means that the builder should provide a contingency on his quote just in case there are unexpected expenses.

Doueihi also expressed that homeowners who choose to work with their existing house want to save some money, however, you cannot avoid that there are more hidden costs. For instance, your house might require plumbing and rewiring.

Most people don’t recognize that there is more patching, repairing, and rendering that needs to be done in an old house. Obviously, this can be a huge expense, especially if your house requires structure reinforcing or underpinning. On the other hand, if you are trying to construct a high-end home, then it could cost as much or even more than renovating an existing home.

Some people will do their calculations based on the basic design of their home, however, once it is customized, the costs could go up so quickly. You also have to consider that the cost of your project will likely depend on the number of square meters you construct. If you have an existing 200 square meter home and you want to have an additional 100 square meter which costs $3,000 per square meter, then it is still much cheaper to build a new 300 square meter home from scratch that only costs $2,000 per square meter.

2. Can I Tear Down My Present House?

If you have plans of knocking down your home, then you should verify this first with the local council if there is some kind of preservation order on your property. Perhaps your property is one of those listed in the houses with heritage value or located in a neighborhood with a heritage overlay.

If your property has some restrictions, then you might need to keep the whole building or you might be required to only keep the facade. If you are making renovations, then be sure that it matches with the period of the existing home.

3. Can I Construct A Second Storey?

Residential buildings have height restrictions as mandated by all councils. In some cases, there could also be restrictions on building a second storey, especially if the streetscape is extensively single storey.

There are also rules concerning the floor space-ratio. So, be sure to verify this with your local council before you design an addition. Check how much is the floor space-ratio in your area.

4. Does Your Existing House Have A Solid Structure?

If you love staying in your current house and you want to keep it, then you should ensure that it is in excellent condition so that retaining it can be a feasible option. According to Doueihi, if your existing home is not habitable anymore, then it would be wise to begin from scratch. There is no point in retaining a building that does not have any life left in it, and it is probably not safe anymore.

If you are planning to construct a second storey, then it would be wise to check if the ground floor has a sound structure. Perhaps you might need reinforcement to manage the weight of the extension, which could be very costly.

Amelia Lee, a serial renovator and architect, revealed that it would be wise to request a building inspection so that you can obtain a professional report when it comes to the condition of your home. Lee also points out that it is important for homeowners to recognize any crucial maintenance that requires attention regardless of its building plans. This information can help the homeowner in deciding the type of renovation that they need to do.

A building report will assess everything that needs to be brought up to code. Perhaps there is a need for you to install new balustrades or new lightings all over your house. Various councils have different rules when it comes to what needs to be done when upgrading your existing house and it is important that you take this into account.

5. Is Your House Facing the Right Direction?

The direction where your existing home faces is another important consideration. Lee says that the ideal direction would be where you can get northern and/or north-easterly sunlight into your living room. In case your home is facing in the wrong condition, then perhaps you should not use your mortgage for the renovation of your home.

6. Are You Overcapitalising?

Lee suggests that homeowners should check the home values in their neighborhood. Is your home the cheapest and the smallest in your area, with buyers wanting to purchase bigger homes? Is the value of your home closer to the top amount payable in your neighborhood?

Furthermore, Lee states that it would be wise to have a talk with the local agents so that you will know the current value of your home in comparison to its value when it gets renovated or when you decide to construct a new home. This strategy can provide you two benefits. First of all, the difference between the current value of your home and how much it is worth will give you an idea of how much you should spend on your project so that you can prevent overcapitalization. Secondly, taking into account the resale value of your home temporarily can eliminate any stress from your decision.

Lee thinks that there are several people who are doing home renovations, yet they have never considered that they might like to sell in the future. They are worried that if they will think about the next buyer, they could not get a home that feels like them. As for Lee, she thinks that you actually do not know what is around the corner. What if you will get a sudden job offer that requires you to move abroad? This is your largest financial asset and it only makes sense that you should do a value check.

7. What Type of Homeowner Are You?

Lee recommends that you should evaluate whether you are the type of person who loves and wants to keep the style of your existing home and puts new life into it or if you are the kind of person who likes to live in a home that is brand new. The second type of homeowner loves the idea of living in a home where no one has ever lived before. They are attracted to the idea of “brand new” and they admire the idea that they are able to create something that is exactly what they want.

Although both Doueihi and Lee acknowledge that renovations can be very challenging compared to new constructions, however, both of them also love the idea of bringing new life to old homes. Doueihi says that she likes taking something old and transforming them into something impressive. You will likely love its end result more. If you need help in deciding whether you will do renovations or build a new home, then BLC Homes can assist you. Just call us at 559-288-0499 or send us your message at