To Renovate, Extend or Rebuild? photo

To Renovate, Extend or Rebuild?

If you have got the perfect block but a less than perfect home, there are a few options you can explore. You can either renovate, extend or knock down and build a new house. Whether you love where you live but find that your home is bursting at the seams or have bought an older house that needs a revamp, it is not uncommon to be a bit torn between these options.

Each option comes with their own pros and cons and what will work best for you is influenced by several different factors. Choosing how you want to have your home upgraded is a really important decision and will vary with each household depending on the requirements, budget and expected outcome.

What is a Renovation or Extension?

Also known as remodelling, an extension or renovation is when a homeowner improves or replaces certain features of the home, that work with the design of the original home.

In these instances, most people would be making value added improvements such as Kitchen or bathroom renovations, repainting the walls or refreshing exterior surfaces, converting rooms or adding extensions to the existing building.

A renovation allows homeowners to update their existing home to better suit their need without completely changing their entire home. It is commonly the preferred option when there are restrictions such as budget, council related restraints or simply when the better part of the home does not require any improvements. In some instances, with older homes, a renovation is preferred so as to maintain the vintage architectural charm of the home.

What is a Knock Down and Rebuild?

As stated, the process involved the complete demolition of the current home and the design and construction of a completely new home from scratch. Home knockdown and rebuilds are generally suited to homeowners who like the area they live in but are unsatisfied with their current home. It might seem like the costlier approach but in some circumstances, it’s cheaper to start with a blank slate than it is to try to work around the existing structure.

Though it can be a lengthier process, the major benefit of rebuilding is that you get to completely customise your new home. With this freedom, homeowners could possibly optimise their land and even improve their views. New homes also have the advantage of coming with sustainability features that might not be possible to add to old homes.


Common Reasons to choose a Renovation or Extension

The first thing that comes to mind when considering renovations or extensions is the cost. In most cases, the cost of a renovation or extension can be far less than rebuilding especially if the changes are not extreme. Several variables will influence the final cost of an extension, the main one being the extent and scope of works. It is probably very relevant at the start to understand what goals you are hoping to achieve and how much more space you actually do require when determining if the cost of your renovation/extension outweighs the value of a rebuild.

In some cases, it may not even be an option for you to demolish your existing home and build something new. In some areas, council planning laws prohibit houses of a certain age, or specific historical importance, from being demolished or significantly changed. It can at times be a lot easier to get planning permission for alterations to an existing building than to get permission for a new house. This is not always the case but will usually be the path of least resistance so really the decision to renovate or extend is made for you.

When homeowners are trying to retain the charm of their current home, a renovation or extension will certainly be the preferred choice. While all new work will have to comply with building regulations, with an existing dwelling, there’s no need to upgrade existing non-compliant features of the building as long as the proposed works will not make their non-compliance worse. A sympathetic renovation/extension that keeps with the style and era of the original building can add value and space whilst retaining the charm of the current residence. It will contain complementary features and design facets to blend seamlessly in with the existing roof line.


When Rebuilding is the Better Option

Many times, when the decision is between to two, the option to build comes from the fact that it will cost somewhat similar to a renovation option but can cost less in the short and/or long term. From an environmentally conscious perspective, while the process of knocking down and rebuilding might require more energy than retaining and reusing. If the existing building cannot have its materials upgraded effectively, the long-term energy losses of retaining it can outweigh the short-term energy use in a rebuild. This will naturally be influence by the kind of home you have and will vary with each home. As we all know, the more energy used, the more you will be paying. The orientation of the home as it is may also have influence on your energy usage in your day-to-day living. If the bedrooms are too dark, or the living rooms get way too much light that they require constant cooling then changing it up can become a game changer when it comes to regular expenses. Building a new home will also allow you to take complete advantage of your block and work with you at making a more qualitative investment.

Drive through many previously modest suburbs and you will quickly appreciate how knock-down rebuilds have transformed these neighbourhoods into desirable, sought after pockets. It can become a big influencer when you see a number of neighbouring homes being renewed and following suit simply means you will not only have the home that you want but also that you are keeping up with the quality of homes in your area which would be a great advantage should you wish to sell in the future.

Some homeowners may be really attracted to the idea of living in a home that no one else has lived in before. People often do feel much more comfortable with something newly built, knowing that it is entirely sturdy, where the services run and so forth. You enter a newly built home with all new materials, appliances and warranties. In addition, your options will not be restricted. You will not need to find ways to work around parts of the building that can't be changed such as a load bearing wall that can't be moved, or an impractical drainage system.


The decision of whether to extend or rebuild must be taken on the merits of each case. A good place to start is to discuss with your broker or lender your prospects for borrowing funds with each scenario. Understand what kind of budget you feel comfortable to work with and then start to assess your way of living and what you require to improve your lifestyle and your homes liveability. If by this point you are still uncertain of your best option, get in touch with us at Auscape Exterior Transformations where we can provide you with feedback and from a builders perspective, assess what options will work best for you. Whether you decide to renovate or rebuild, we are here to help.