Remodel or Build New?

Reader Question: We are empty nesters nearing retirement. We are considering a major remodel of our home that would involve some destruction, an addition, and a total makeover, including a new kitchen, bathrooms, floor coverings, lighting, and more. The thought of building new has entered the conversation as an option. What are the pros and cons?

Monty’s Answer: To keep it simple, we will compare constructing a completely remodeled home to constructing a brand-new home. These options involve very different concerns.

The Pros of Remodeling

Savings; ‘New’ Feel.  The home will increase in value if you utilize the right decision-making tactics. Here are some tips to determine if the remodel makes sense at New components reduce future maintenance costs. The new parts will feature product warranties, and specific items, such as a new furnace or roof, will lower operating costs. The new replacements improve aesthetics and livability. Your home “feels” brand-new with the added space and change in the floor plan. These changes will increase the pride of ownership. And it is far less costly than building new.

The Cons of Remodeling

Inconvenience; Frustrations. Cost overruns are common. Sometimes remodeling exposes new issues, or someone overlooked an expense. Remodeling disrupts the home routine and environment. Do you remodel all at once or do it in stages? Doing a remodel in stages is dusty and can be frustrating. Contractor delays, back-ordered parts, weather, on-the-job injuries, vacations, and more can cause stress and frustration. Planning to live somewhere else during construction may entail unexpected costs.

The Pros of New Construction

Comfort, Ease; You did it ‘your way!’  You designed and personalized your home to your life and tastes to maximize your comfort. There are fewer compromises with a blank slate. Today’s materials emphasize low-to-no maintenance. Many of the newer materials should reduce energy costs- furnaces are quieter, more efficient, and much smaller. Set the thermostat from inside from your car, and it’s done for good. Pride of ownership and a sense of exhilaration and achievement will peak from your first night in your new home. You will have the greatest ability to customize your new home. Warranties on many components, some extended, will further simplify life.

The Cons of New Construction

Higher and Unexpected Costs; Delays.  Choosing the best builder is paramount. Here is a helpful link at Unexpected cost overruns are common. More frequent construction delays compared to remodeling since there is no roof to start. More components mean a higher potential for change orders. The sense that this is ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ can lead to extravagance. Big time commitment: meetings, daily project oversight, component selection, negotiations, etcetera. Finally, since everything is new, this will be considerably more expensive.