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Knock down and rebuild or renovate?

Posted By  
20/01/2020
10:00 AM

Binge-worthy TV shows like The Block and Restoration Australia demonstrate just how popular renovating an existing home is in this country, but it's not your sole option.

 

Staying put and redo your home to your specifications is an attractive option when you love your area and your neighbours. Depending on where you live and rising property prices, it can be a financially positive choice, too. Better the devil you know, eh?

 

But, sometimes it's cheaper to knock it down and start again - particularly if you have an older property that's looking very tired around the edges.

 

A complete knock down and rebuild won't prove cheaper if all you want is a minor facelift and an extra room or two. But if you're dreaming of a major overhaul, you might want to sit down and crunch some numbers, because rebuilding can potentially save you up to 10 per cent of your hard-earned cash.

 

Why? Because often an older home renovation can uncover more problems than expected, necessitating the need for further costly restoration work and expensive expert contractors.

 

A friend of mine recently wanted to add an extra room to their small weatherboard house. It's quaint and full of character, but it hasn't been without its challenges over the years.

 

Located right on a charming creek, the outlook of the new room was going to be incredible. But when their builder started looking closer at the surrounding structure, it became apparent the creek had compromised all the stumps.

 

So, before any new additions could be done, every single Baltic floorboard had to be pulled up and the stumps replaced. Meanwhile, the builder had found significant rising damp in the walls, which had to be dealt with straight away.

 

My friends also had to vacate for the duration of the works, which meant dipping into their renovation fund to cover rental expenses for months on end. It's taken up their entire renovation budget, and nothing looks any different!

 

That's why it's so hard to get a fixed price contract for renovations - you don't know what you're going to find until you take a closer look. You might also need to consider that you may not be able to stay in your home while works proceed.

 

The older your house and the worse it's condition, the more likely a knock down/rebuild may prove more affordable for you. If you're also keen on sustainability, energy-efficiency and green home features, retrofitting the latest advances onto an older home can work out pricier than building from scratch.

 

When you're doing a renovation, costs can quickly spiral out of control. But starting again isn't all beer and skittles, either. A knock down/rebuild project has its own extras. Consider the costs of getting new plans drawn, waiting for council approval, engineer reports and demolition contractors as well as finding alternative accommodation.

 

Ultimately, it all comes down to what you want and how much you're willing to spend to get it. If you've got a budget of $250,000 or less, you'll probably need to rule out a knock down/rebuild. But renovations can often present more challenges than you bargained for, too. Therefore, it's essential to do your due diligence and work out a realistic budget that will allow for contingencies before you call the bulldozer in.