You saw its potential from day one. The shuttered windows, north-western exposure and sweeping elm standing guard out front. You’d lived in enough closet-sized rentals to know that whatever it took to make this sweet space your own — you were in like Flynn.
Two dogs, three burst pipes and one record-setting winter later — not necessarily in that order — you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle. Even though you’re pleased with the updates and decorative touches added so far, your home improvement to-do list keeps growing.
It’s time to face facts — this house needs significant work. Should you renovate or rebuild from scratch? Consider the following four critical factors in each camp before you decide.
For a minute, you’re going to have to push aside all emotions and play the numbers game. Don’t worry — the effect comes back into the picture soon. Chances are, your house is your most prominent asset — financially speaking, of course. How will the renovations you’ve got in mind affect value?
Putting on a second story, for instance, adds as much as $125,000. A major kitchen remodel, perhaps creating a more open floor plan, has the potential to up the ante by more than $75,000. Thinking of a master bedroom addition? You may see an approximate $150,000 boost to your resale price tag.
Now, investigate area comps. How does your home’s value compare to others in the neighborhood? How much do you anticipate that figure will change after remodeling? Is your answer enough to warrant the cost — plus a 10% cushion for unexpected structural issues — and inconvenience?
Another pivotal point of consideration is whether your home, in its present condition, can support the desired renovations. Bring in a structural engineer to check for evidence of cracks in the foundation and water damage.
As you receive renovation bids, make sure contractors weigh in on your current electrical situation. Will extensive re-wiring be necessary? Is it safe? Ask the same of plumbing. Will main lines require moving? Is there any indication doing so might uncover additional problems?
Plus, demolition may reveal building materials that contain asbestos or lead, especially if your home is older. Toxic substances must be removed by a licensed professional, which can add significantly to project timelines and cost.
Go to your local land use office and brush up on any pertinent zoning ordinances. Check into approved procedures for alteration and tear-downs, as well as what limits there might be to disposal. Arm yourself with as much information as possible going in, including copies of project plans, so you can ask specific questions and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Remember that part about putting your emotions to the side? Here’s where they get to come back into play. By now, you’ve got a pretty good feel for the feasibility of your renovation options given the realities of budget, standing structure and zoning. You’ve always loved this house — but do you like what you can do with it?
How would it feel to reset the clock and start from scratch? Nope — no numbers yet. Consider being able to customize from the ground up, work in electrical and plumbing lines naturally, maybe even incorporate green updates for long-term sustainability?
Okay, you’re channeling it. But construction takes time, and you don’t like seeing anything go to waste — a lot of the materials in this house are perfectly fine and have years of use left in them.
On average, it takes six to eight months to rebuild a typical home. That’s a sizable chunk of time, especially when you factor in the cost and inconvenience of staying elsewhere. On-site weather conditions, mechanical issues and material acquisition all hold immense potential to throw things off further — and you have no control over any of these variables.
Alternatively, modular home construction is 65% faster. Why? Modular homes are manufactured in factories and moved to the building site in sections. Because factory conditions are fixed, high-quality construction is assured within a given period.
A contemporary floor plan, gourmet kitchen, hardwood floors and en-suite spa are some of the many features available with a customized colonial, ranch or beach house design. Other benefits include:
Finally — something you don’t have to decide until after weighing the pros and cons! Whether you choose to renovate or rebuild, find a local charitable cause that accepts donations of fixtures, appliances, lumber, brick and switched-out appliances. You’ll receive a tax credit to balance project costs, and — best of all — nothing will go to waste.
Do your homework, gather the facts, pow-wow with zoning, check in with your gut feeling and if all else fails — ask the dogs. They always seem to have a knack for finding the best in any situation!