Renovate or rebuild?

To bulldoze or renovate was the toughest decision we faced.  And to be honest, we’ve spent way too long worrying. Check out the timelines if you don’t believe me!

Our 1950s brick home was structurally really sound and was ready – so I thought – for a second storey and a makeover downstairs (complete with gutting). If we played our cards right we’d end up with an almost new house for not too much. Bargain!  So we hired an architect to guide us through the renovation and keep costs within our budget.    

Well, to cut a long story short, the building quotes (not to mention money spent on the architect, engineer, soil tests, environment rating) came in at almost double the price of a Metricon home!

I’m not sure what they think we were building! This was double our original budget – and we hadn’t even started yet. It seems that at some stage the architect’s view of costs and the reality of the market were way out of kilter. I’m sure we could have down-scaled the house, but we’d already compromised on some of the design. I couldn’t stomach more changes for even less gain.

I love the idea of recycling and renewing an old house. I love the idea of giving the old girl a new life. But this love cost me dearly as I tried to renovate a home that really was destined to the annals of history.

Experts say the cost per square metre for renovating is around double the new build price. Wow!

The more I listen, the more I hear this is a common story. New is the new game in town. New is cheaper. In this case new will definitely be better.

So how do you know whether your house is worth renovating or demolishing? Lots of experts to ask on this topic but this is my take:

  • How much of the structure can you keep?
  • Do you have a period façade or key period features?
  • Are you happy with the house’s position on the block?
  • Would any renovation designs be a compromise around current spaces?
  • What condition is the wiring, stumps, and plumbing in?
  • Is the roof in good condition? Are the windows sound or in need of replacing?
  • Can you do any of the work yourself?
  • Are you on a short timeframe (renovation is generally quicker)

What do you think? Any other tips? 

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