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Is it better to knockdown and rebuild or renovate

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Knockdown rebuild, Knockdown rebuild guide

Looking for a change to your home? Maybe the place needs a sprucing up. Or perhaps you have your eye on a property in a beautiful location but the house has seen better days. In each of these situations, you’ll find yourself asking will a renovation do the trick or should you consider knocking down and rebuilding your home. It can feel like a tough decision, but in this article, we’re going to discuss what you need to consider so you can make the best choice for you. First, let’s have a quick rundown of what each term means.

What’s the difference between knockdown rebuild and a renovation?

Knock down and rebuild means knocking down your current home and building a new house on your existing property. This provides the opportunity to start afresh with a brand new home without giving up your current location.

Renovation means restoring to a good state of repair. This could include re-painting, re-tiling, choosing new fixtures or new light fittings, adding finishes, replacing windows or anything where you aren’t changing the fundamental structure of the house. Rather you’re giving it new life through improvements.

Knock down rebuild or renovate – 8 factors to help you make a decision

Are there any council restrictions on your current home?

With any major renovation, you’ll need to check with council restrictions to make sure what your planning is legal. It’s important to remember all councils vary with their guidelines, some with more strict regulations than others, and the rules in one suburb can be completely different to another. Regulations also change so you need to double-check guidelines with every project you undertake.

How much work needs to be done to your existing home to achieve the look you want

This is one of the biggest factors in deciding whether it’s worth doing a knockdown and rebuild. Major renovation or lots of renovating can quickly add up in terms of costs. There’s also the risk of finding out there are more issues with your home than you initially thought.

Another factor is, what are you hoping to achieve? Renovations best suit people who are happy with the floor plan they have and just want to spruce up the place. If you just want to redo the bathroom, renovation is the answer for you.

If you’re buying an existing home and are considering renovating the entire building, this is when you need to start considering whether a knockdown and rebuild might actually be a better idea. For more significant changes, particularly anything that will require a change to the house’s structure, knockdown rebuilds may be the better option.

Is it cheaper to renovate or knock down and rebuild?

Generally speaking, renovation projects should cost less than rebuilding the entire house. However, there can be a lot of variables once you start renovating. One discovery, such as asbestos or damage to the structure of your home, can add thousands of dollars to your costs. In these situations, it may actually be more cost-effective and better value to perform a knockdown rebuild.

A lot of this comes down to the bones of your current home. First, do you like your current floorplan and house? Is there sentimental value or is this an old house you’ve bought more for the location than the home itself?

Finally, your financial situation will play a role in determining what you can afford. You can renovate in steps, whereas a knockdown and rebuild is an all-in move.

What is your timeline for the project?

The average timeline for a knockdown rebuild is between 6-12 months. There are some big ifs in this equation though, such as the type of house you’re building, whether you’re building from an existing plan or a custom floorplan. Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, building timelines have become less reliable, however, things appear to be slowly returning back to normal.

Renovations vary so much in definition, so how long it’ll take will depend on what you’re trying to do. It’s like asking how long it takes to cook a meal. The answer depends on the type of meal you’re making. With even a major reno though, you’ll likely be able to live in your home sooner than with a knockdown and rebuild.

What sort of home could you fit on your block?

If you’re performing a knockdown rebuild on the block you’re currently living on, your new house will obviously need to fit within the same parameters. For a smaller block, a double-storey home is a great way to upgrade the size of your house without having to give up your location.

What do I want my rebuilding process to look like?

We’ve spoken a lot about how your end goal will give you a clearer idea of what process you should choose, however, let’s not forget neither a knockdown rebuild nor renovation happens overnight.

If you choose to proceed with a knockdown rebuild, you’ll need to figure out your accommodation for the duration of the construction process. Will you stay with family or rent somewhere? You can usually still live in your house while a renovation takes place.

Is the orientation of your home workable?

A house is a carefully planned construction and you need to keep this in mind when making any changes. For example, will this new room you’re planning to add completely throw off the house’s ability to make the most of natural light?

The orientation of your home plays a major role in your everyday comfort, from allowing good ventilation to maximising natural light and maintaining temperature. Any changes your make should either maintain or improve the orientation of your home. If you’re rebuilding your house, it’s an opportunity to design your perfect home with the ideal orientation.

In Australia, most houses are built to face true north. The above map shows where that is depending on where you are in the country.

What is likely to add more value to your home?

Do some research and look into what is selling in your area. Do they tend to be renovated homes or modern new homes? A local real estate agent should be able to tell you the types of houses that sell and the market value in your area. The last thing you want to do is rebuild or renovate and decrease the value of your house. Likewise, you don’t want to overspend and not be able to make the money back if you choose to sell.

How we can help you find a builder in Brisbane

At Buildi, we help you find the right builder, save time, reduce stress and stay on budget.

How We Can Help You

Building a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. At Buildi, we’ll be there throughout the entire building process, guiding you step by step so you can avoid any pitfalls. We will help you by following these steps.

  1. Free Consultation – We will sit with you to understand what you are looking to accomplish.
  2. Due Diligence – We work with you to ensure you’re buying the right block of land at the right price without hidden problems.
  3. Builders tender – We will take your requirements out to the market of builders and they will bid to win your business.
  4. Present solutions – We will compile the top 3 options and present you with a comprehensive proposal on builders’ strengths & weaknesses along with prices and specifications.
  5. Contract Signing – We will work with you and your selected builder to ensure there is full transparency in what you are entering into.
  6. Building your home – We work closely with the builder to ensure all service levels are met and your project is on schedule.

Five reasons why a knockdown rebuild is a better option

Less nasty surprises, hidden costs

When renovating an older home, you run the risk of finding unexpected problems such as damaged pipes, wires, structural issues and even asbestos. This can double or even triple the costs you’d expected to spend, making renovations a potentially difficult job to budget for.

Chance to build exactly the home you want

A knockdown allows you to start from scratch, providing a clean slate to create the exact house you want. With the renovation, you have to work with the basic layout and framework of your existing house if you want the project to be financially feasible.

Potentially better value for money than a renovation

If you’re trying to re-invent your home, a renovation could be a long-winded and expensive way to achieve that. It really depends on how much you’re trying to re-invent your home.

New Homes need less maintenance

An old house may have charm and a certain character, but they’re also more difficult to clean and maintain. Newer houses usually require less upkeep.

Five reasons why a home renovation is a better option

Allows you to keep what you love about your current home

Many homeowners are attached to their houses and it makes sense why. You have memories of your growing family, you love the quirks of your current house. A knockdown rebuild means giving up all this and starting a new, whereas a renovation allows you to keep what you love about your house.

You can modernise a heritage home

Perhaps your home has a certain character you simply won’t be able to recapture in a new home. A renovation allows you to keep the charm of your original house while still fixing any flaws or problems.

Can often live in your house while it is being renovated

A downside of a knockdown rebuild is, once your house is demolished, you need to find accommodation while your house is being rebuilt. Most renovations, even big ones, don’t require you to leave the house and live somewhere else (there are exceptions).

Could be cheaper.

Knockdown rebuilds have additional site costs, demolition costs and construction. Renovation, assuming no complications arise, will usually be cheaper. However, there’s an unpredictability that comes with the renovation and any problems (structural damage, mould, asbestos) will add thousands of dollars to your costs.

Could be quicker

There are a lot of steps in the knockdown and rebuild from organising a demolition crew to choosing a new design. Renovation on average will take less time to achieve.

Key takeaways

  • Knockdown rebuilds make more sense for larger projects, big changes and as a means of purchasing property in a sought-after suburb.
  • Renovations are best for sprucing up a house or smaller changes.
  • Before you commit to a knockdown rebuild, you’ll need to see if it is a viable option.

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