Home Renovation

New Construction Vs. Renovation- Which is Best?

When your house is no longer working for you, is it better to start fresh with a custom-built home or is it better to remodel?

June 27, 2022
Ian Nicule
June 27, 2022

When your house is no longer working for you, is it better to start fresh with a custom-built home or is it better to remodel, working within a home’s existing footprint? For many families in Vancouver, the choice between renovating and hiring custom home builders comes down to cost, but is that the only factor worth considering?

Here is a breakdown of the main differences between renovating and building new with custom home builders, making it easier for you to decide which is best for you. Still not sure? Reach out to us here at Nicons, our team is always happy to answer questions.

New Construction Vs. Renovation- Comparing Costs

Most people would assume that building a new custom home is more expensive than renovating, and in most cases, they would be right – but not always.

New builds require a much more significant scope of work than most home renovations. There is site prep, excavation, and utility connections to contend with, and that’s before construction of the structure even begins. The costs for new builds, including labour, materials, and equipment, can quickly add up. When you renovate your existing home or purchase a fixer-upper, you are no longer starting from the ground up and that work’s already done. Depending on the scope of work you need to undertake, having some of the construction elements already in place can represent significant cost savings.

But that doesn’t mean you are entirely off the hook because once walls start coming down, you may be in for a few surprises. Older homes tend to need costly upgrades to bring them up to meet new building codes. This could be anything from replacing old plumbing and electrical to dealing with hazardous materials like asbestos. Generally, the older the home, the more problems you’re likely to find.

New Construction Vs. Renovation: Timeline

Returning once again to the scope of work, most custom home builds will take longer to complete. With no existing structure in place, custom home builders need to start from scratch. How much longer will depend on the site, the design, and your home builder’s level of experience.

Except for particularly old or historically significant properties that may require special permits, the average timeline for renovation projects will be less than that of a new build.

However, if you plan to live in the home while the renovation is underway, it could considerably add to your timeline. Crews will be required to ensure that the house is livable throughout the renovation, with electricity, running water, and site cleanup at the end of each day.

New Construction Vs. Renovation: Design Flexibility

Without a doubt, building a new custom home offers the most freedom in choosing the feature and functionality you want and need from a home. Custom home builders- often supported by interior designers and possibly even an architect, spend a lot working with their clients, going over every square inch of a planned structure.

Custom builds allow you to create the exact spaces your family needs and all the fixtures and finishes you want. Flexibility with a home renovation depends on the areas of the home that will be touched. It is always possible to remove walls or add an addition, but you are still somewhat limited by the existing footprint.

New Construction Vs. Renovation: Which is Best?

There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to custom building or renovating- it comes down to your budget, your wants, and your needs.

Custom-built homes offer the most flexibility when it comes to size, layout, and design. You’ll pay more for it, but it allows you to build your forever home. Home renovations are a good option for families who primarily need cosmetic upgrades and minor changes to the layout of an existing home and the renovation will cost you less and get you back in your home sooner.

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