Is a knock-down rebuild worth it?

by | May 4, 2023 | Knockdown rebuild, Knockdown rebuild guide

With blocks of land in quality locations becoming more difficult to come by, many homeowners are turning to knock-down rebuilds for their new homes. While it’s all the rage, is it the right option for you? Let’s have a look at whether a knockdown rebuild is worth it, as well as examine some of the alternatives.

How much does a knockdown rebuild cost?

A knockdown rebuild can cost anywhere between $350,000-750,000. It can also greatly exceed this if you’re building an expensive design or home and other factors come into play. The key elements that can influence the cost of your knockdown rebuild include:

  • Size of your home
  • Home design
  • Accessibility of property
  • Council fees
  • Materials used to build a house.
  • Any delays or mistakes can increase the cost significantly.

Knocking down an old home and rebuilding a new one may sound like an extreme option, but when done well, it can ultimately be a cost-effective and affordable option.

What are the key benefits of a knockdown rebuild?

Stay in the area you know and love

It’s easy to get attached to a place. Your kid’s school is nearby, you know the route to work like the back of your hand, and you know where to get the best cup of coffee in the neighbourhood. However, perhaps your existing house has seen better days. You may have a growing family and need more room, or perhaps you just want a clean slate. A knockdown rebuild allows you to stay in the area you know while still having the opportunity to upgrade to a new house.

Obtain land in a desirable place

Vacant land in the most established neighbourhoods is a rarity you may not have the time to wait for. Due to this, more and more Australians are buying houses in established suburbs and performing a knockdown rebuild. Whether you’re looking for the perfect location for your dream home or to create a nest egg with an investment property, this approach can be a great way to get your foot in the door.

Provides an opportunity to build your dream home.

The clean slate provided by a knockdown rebuild means you have the opportunity to design a house exactly as you want it. It’s a chance to have a newly built home with a layout to suit the lifestyle of you and your family. Consider your current home and what you like about and what you’d love to change. This is your opportunity to make it happen. Naturally, you’ll need to consider whether your dream home design will work on your existing property (for example, if you want a sprawling acreage house on your narrow lot, we’ve got some bad news for you).

Could save money and time

Purchasing a rundown home and renovating it seems like a great idea on paper, but the size of the job often turns out to be a lot bigger than homebuyers expect. Before they know it, they’ve spent as much or more than they would have simply built a new home. A knockdown rebuild is easier to gauge the costs of and often turns out to be a better value-for-money option.

Guarantee your home is safe and meets standards.

Due to older homes being built decades ago, they may not have had to meet the same standards the current new houses need to. While older homes have character, this may mean they don’t have the advantages of modern home designs including prioritising natural light, eco-friendly orientation, accessibility features and open floor planning.

Are there any drawbacks of a knockdown rebuild?

No approach to building a new home is perfect for every situation, and knockdown rebuilds aren’t without their drawbacks. Let’s take a closer look at some of the potential downsides.

You’ll need accommodation and storage.

We highly recommend you don’t stay in your house while it’s being knocked down. Joking aside, during both the demolition process and the rebuild, you’ll need to find accommodation for yourself and storage for your possessions. This can be costly, especially if you need a hotel room, plus the cost of a few months of storage can add up.

Council approval can be difficult to obtain.

Before undertaking any building project, you should check with your local council about what you can and cannot do with your block. For example, if you want to knock down an existing property to build a duplex, you’ll need to see if you check this is achievable. An older home may be heritage-listed, which means it cannot be knocked down, so you’ll need to double-check this as well.

Your choice of home builders is essential to a successful project.

The make-or-break element in any building project is the people you hire to do the job. Anyone who’s built with an unreliable, sub-par builder will tell you what a nightmare it was. It pays to research your potential builder and talk to an expert like Buildi about which building companies deliver the goods and which are full of hot air.

What are the alternatives to a knockdown rebuild?

A knockdown rebuild isn’t a universal solution for everybody and it’s always a good idea to investigate all your options. Let’s take a closer look at some of the other possibilities.

Sell your home and buy elsewhere

Selling your current home and buying property elsewhere is the first option most people will think of. Whether you want to buy an existing house or a vacant block of land for a new build, there are both advantages to selling your home and making a complete move.

Sold Home For Sale Sign in front of Beautiful New Home.


  • Opportunity for a completely fresh start: Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday.
  • You might find the perfect vacant block of land for you.
  • Buying a pre-existing home allows you to move into your brand-new home sooner.
  • Chance to make a profit: This is especially true if you’re looking to downsize.


  • Stamp duty: If you buy a pre-existing home, you’ll have to pay stamp duty on both the house and the land. This can be tens of thousands of dollars.
  • You’ll need to adapt to a new area: Moving is always a big step, especially if you have children involved. Things like finding new schools, or even work, can be time-consuming, stressful procedures.
  • Buying a pre-existing house allows less flexibility than building a home from scratch. If you have particular needs or
  • As odd as it may sound, buying a pre-existing house is often more expensive than building from scratch, especially when adding extras like stamp duty.


Renovating certainly has its place and shouldn’t be ruled out completely as an option. It can be a fantastic way to spruce up your home and give it new life. With that in mind, let’s look at the pros and cons of renovating your home.


  • Quicker: When everything goes to plan with renovating an existing home, it is a speedier process than a knock-down rebuild.
  • You can live in the house during renovations: In most cases, you’ll be able to still live in your home during a renovation
  • Can add some market value to your home if you’re looking to resell.


  • Bound to the existing structure: This will be the big deciding factor for many homebuyers. With a renovation, you’ll need to work within the existing structures of the home.
  • Unexpected complications: Renovations can be a bit of a gamble, especially in older homes. Unsuspecting renovators may discover structural damage, water damage, mould or hazardous material, which will add to your price tag.

Is it cheaper to knock down and rebuild or renovate?

As surprising as it may seem, it’s often cheaper to knock down and rebuild than it is to renovate. A lot of this, of course, will depend on your specific project. Guessing the actual cost of a renovation can be a real shot in the dark, as complications can arise out of nowhere which can double or even triple your overall cost. Knockdown rebuilds are usually easier to keep within the quoted price.

We recommend thinking about not what’s cheaper, but what’s better value for money. If a renovation doesn’t result in a house you love, but a knockdown rebuild does, you could argue the second option was better value for money, even if it cost more.

What’s the best option for me?

The answer to this will come down to what you’re trying to achieve. If you love the structure and design of your current space or you’re only planning to change part of the house, a renovation could be the best option for you. A knockdown rebuild will best suit those who:

  • want to stay in their area but want a new house.
  • is planning significant changes to their current home
  • and have found the ideal location, but don’t like the house that’s already there.
  • are looking to make the most of an investment property
  • are in any situation where they love the location but want a different house design.

Talk to an experienced building broker for free advice

Considering a knockdown rebuild, but feel you need a little guidance? That’s where Buildi comes in. We play the role of client advocates in the building industry. We’ll listen to your needs and help you find the perfect builder for your project. We will then help you throughout your building journey, helping you stay on budget. We’ve helped our clients save time and money on their new homes and we’d love to do the same for you.

Book your free, impartial consultation today


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Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

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Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

Advice & inspiration