In this article we explore whether to renovate your home or rebuild it. Giving your house a makeover of starting again from scratch are both big decisions, so read on to discover the pros and cons of both renovating and detonating.
So you’ve found the perfect location - close to everything you need, great neighbourhood, lovely atmosphere, the works!
However... the house is a bit of a shambles. Unloved or maybe just a bit on the small side, either way you know something needs to be done. So the question comes out:
Do you improve on what you have, or replace it altogether? Neither is an easy decision.
Renovation might seem like the cheaper solution, but will it add enough value to your propertyto make up for the initial cost? Meanwhile the idea of getting out the ‘big guns’ and demolishingyour old house might have your inner child jumping in excitement but what might it do to your wallet?
First things first, make sure your property really is in the perfect location. Talk to your counciland see what plans they have in motion. The last thing you want is to finish building your dreamhome only to have something built across the street that instantly devalues your property.
Take a good look at your block. Does it have any trees that you’re going to have to fight with the council to have removed? Does it have a slope that will add to the building costs? Does the house contain asbestos? Is it potentially heritage listed?
Before you even consider rebuilding or renovating you need to know what limits you’ll be constrained to. Money is the most obvious, but you also need to take into account councilrestrictions such as how many storeys you can have, where your driveway has to be, how close to the road you can build and what materials you need to build with. Some areas are flood prone or fire prone and this, too, can add additional restrictions.
Often an older house was built prior to new standards so you’ll need to consider exactly what will have to be done, and how much it will cost, to bring the property up to scratch.
Secondly, today our world is probably much greener and more energy efficient than it was when the house was originally built. So it begs the question - how energy efficient is your home? Will renovating it improve or decrease its efficiency? If you’re planning on installing solar panels and a water tank then you need to consider placement and whether or not the location gets a decent amount of sunshine and rain to make it worthwhile. An older roof may not be able to support the panels or might not be in the prime position to get the best sun.
It’s shown that green initiatives such as solar and rain water storage can go a long way to increasing the value of your home, so it’s well worth taking these into account when considering renovating or rebuilding.
So let’s get to the point, shall we?
How many people do you know with half-done renovations about the place? Whether it’s an unpainted wall, a missing fence or a whole room that just ‘isn’t quite done yet, sorry’ it seems that most renovations go on forever! So before you even begin, make sure you have a vision forwhat you want at the end of it all and a plan to get there.
Renovating can be both an adventure and a trial. Depending on whether you choose to get in the experts or practice your own handyman skills you can learn a lot about yourself and a lot about the trades industry in general.
You also need to ask yourself questions such as:
Also, when planning your renovation, don’t forget to:
The biggest point in the list above is the first one. Well, that combined with the last! So many people start renovating and never finish. And an unfinished renovation will not add value to yourproperty. Even a finished renovation, if it hasn’t kept to budget, still might not add enough value to make up for what you’ve put in. Especially if the house wasn’t anything special to begin with.
There’s a saying in renovating: If it was dodgy to begin with, it will probably still be dodgy onceyou’re done with it. If that’s likely to be the case for you, then you might want to consider:
Detonate is a pretty strong word, but however you put it demolishing, removing or rebuilding a house is going to cause some pretty big changes. You’ll need to take into account the opinion of your neighbours, the council and your bank.
You’ll also need to work out what you plan on replacing the old house with. There’s no point getting in the demolition experts if you can’t afford to build something brand new. Like with renovating, you need to ensure that you really will be adding value to your property and gettingthe most out of the money you put into it.
So consider the following questions:
Obviously a lot of the answers to these questions will vary between councils and personal situations. Some councils might require you to submit a landscaping plan and ask you to plant a certain number of native species. Others might need you to submit an audio assessment and will require you to make adjustments to your building materials depending on how well they protect you from external noises.
You will typically need to submit both a form for demolition approval and a form for building approval - and make sure you don’t start one without the other! Demolishing the old house before you have approval to build is a surefire way to ask for trouble. The last thing you want is to be staring at an empty block growing weeds and attracting all the local rubbish while you wait for approval to build.
Plus in some councils it is easier to organise and get approval for the removal of things like trees once there is a building permit in place. So be patient and wait it out.
Once the block’s cleared it’s just like building any house - with days of joy, frustration, tears, rain and sunshine.
So whether you choose to renovate or detonate your home, remember these key points:
Hopefully, with a little bit of luck, you’ll have a dream home to match your perfect location before you know it!
This article, written by Service Central's lead writer, Pauline Hill, was published in Fantastic Living, Issue 1, 2011.