Should I do a custom home build or renovate a home? That’s the question you keep asking yourself as you think about creating your Florida dream home. The final vision is a home that provides the comfort and lifestyle that suits you and your family.
How you get there is the question. It’s one we get all the time. After all, our entire business is devoted to building custom homes. But we’re going to explore both options so that you can make the right decision for you and your family.
Here are some key factors to consider when deciding between a custom home build and a home renovation.
Your Home’s Building Materials
If you’re looking to purchase an older home – whether it’s already the one you live in or it’s on your ideal lot – you’re probably going to make a tradeoff between comfort and cost.
Some older homes are made with unique materials and finishes that you can’t find anymore. Plus, it’s kind of hard to renovate when you can’t find the proper materials for the project, especially if you are looking to match something.
On the other hand, modern materials give you an updated look.
What’s more important to you: a renovated home that has a few upgrades, or an entirely new home built on the latest in best practices?
Your Home’s Utilities, Plumbing, and Heating Systems
If the home you’re thinking about renovating has internal systems in poor shape, you might be looking at a major expense and a complete life-disrupting hassle.
This kind of work requires contractors to get in hard-to-reach places. Accessing walls and possibly the attic to remove and replace all the pipes, ductwork, insulation, and possibly the air handler is a messy job. Consider this:
- Do you really need that kind of hassle?
- Will the new system perform as required once your other renovations are complete? If so, you’re in good shape.
Just be aware that expanding rooms and changing layouts can affect the strain on your AC unit and the infrastructure of your utilities. In these situations, a custom home build is likely to be more cost-effective.
Your Home’s Structural Challenges
There are two main issues we’ll look at when it comes to structure. One is the structural integrity of the home’s foundation and wall/ roof structure, and the other is the FEMA 50% rule.
Considering the structural integrity of your home’s foundation and wall/ roof structure, you know all too well how Florida hurricanes and storms can leave homes in ruins. Depending on the extent of your remodeling project, the renovation may require a serious look at the safety of your home’s foundation and wall/ roof structure and bringing it up to code.
The FEMA rule works like this: If the cost of the renovation is more than 50% of your home’s current value, then your residence has to be brought up to the current standards that newly built homes must follow to prevent flood damage.
Depending on the results of a thorough home inspection, a custom home build may again be more cost-efficient if structural damage is found.
Your Home’s Code
Renovating a home often reveals hidden – and unwanted – surprises. There are always unexpected costs when you open up a wall or excavate a floor and discover you’re dealing with a host of all-new problems:
- Unseen rot and mold. Check your homeowner’s policy. There’s a good chance it doesn’t cover damage due to rot and mold. Do you want to spend money to mitigate a bad situation or would you rather start fresh with materials that will withstand the elements?
- Electrical issues. Older homes were often wired in a way that would now be considered a fire hazard. Once you start a renovation process, your contractors are obligated to ensure everything they do it up to code.
- Structural inadequacies. If a renovation affects load-bearing walls or otherwise affects the integrity and safety of the home, you’re looking at costs that go far beyond the original remodeling vision.
Once these and other issues are revealed, you should continue with the renovation only if the remodeling costs will be considerably less than new construction. Or if you want to keep the home’s historical attributes intact.
Otherwise, a teardown and complete rebuild is typically an easier and more straightforward process.
When tearing down a house a house becomes the right choice, it can be overwhelming at first. Especially if the house you’re tearing down was one you had hopes of renovating. The typical price of a teardown is around $10k-$15k. Plus, unlike a vacant piece of property where you have to pay to bring in new utilities, when you tear down an existing home you will likely have all of those utilities already in place. So, by having water, sewer and electric already there, it helps offset the cost of demolition.
An easy way to start the building process
Whether you decide to build on your current land or on a new lot, LaBram Homes can help. We’ll take care of everything some other builders won’t handle:
- Site preparation (including the survey of your land)
- Demolition of any structures
- Removing any trees that make it difficult to carry out the construction process
We’ll do all this while following Florida law and getting the proper permits.
Why renovate when you can build new? Consider some of the other advantages you get from starting fresh:
- Construction to Permanent Loan. With this kind of loan, you get the financing you need to build the home. When the home is finished, the loan then becomes your mortgage. No need for two separate loan processes.
- Ability to personalize everything. When you build new, you get a home that is truly customized to your tastes and lifestyle. There’s only so much you can do with a renovation to reach that kind of outcome.
- A higher-value home. Your new custom home is probably going to be worth much more than your current home, even after renovations.
If your home renovation turns into a tear down – we’ve got you covered. No matter how well you’re doing financially, be smart with your money. But don’t let the cost of a demolition hold you back. Here’s why:
As you’ve seen above, tearing down a home and building new is sometimes more affordable than a complete remodel. Some other factors you’ll need to consider when faced with this dilemma:
- Location. There are a very limited number of options in sought after locations. Undeveloped lots are hard to find, which often leaves the option of tearing down a home for a custom build or trying to renovate an older home.
- Timeline. Talk to a custom home builder to get an estimate of the length of time that goes into the entire process. For home demolitions, you may be surprised that it only takes couple of weeks to complete.
In many cases, a new build is still economically more practical with the added benefits of customizing your home to fit your unique dreams.
Let’s start the conversation about building your custom home. If you’re facing a choice between remodeling and building new, let us explore that together. Contact us today for a complimentary discovery meeting with our team of experts.