In the latest episode of Real Estate 101: the Home Buying & Selling Show, Daniel Ott, President & Lead Designer at White Willow Design continues the discussion on home renovations and whether it is better to design a home from scratch or renovate it.
Design a Home from Scratch or Renovate? What are the Benefits of Designing a New Home from Scratch?
Whether a new home owner decides to starts a home from scratch or renovate, there are benefits to both decisions.
The biggest reason to build a home from scratch is creative freedom. This means the new homeowner won’t be restricted by anything other than the municipal by-laws and can design a home that best suit his or her preferences.
What are the Restrictions of Renovating an Existing Home?
Renovating an existing home brings with itself some restrictions as well. One of the main ones is the ceiling height in the existing building. Since most older homes have 8-foot ceilings, which is pretty low by today’s standards and can feel restricted, the only way to get more ceiling space is to tear a good part of the house down. Which could, of course, be very costly.
Another problem with renovating a home comes from the structural limitations of the existing building. A lot of time, you would have to get creative and renovate around the bearing walls in order to get the most out of the new design.
When it comes to an existing lot. the main restriction is its size. This is particularly an issue in the city, where space may be limited, but not so much in the country. In addition, different by-laws also limit the size your building can be in comparison with the neighboring ones, so you won’t be able to build a chateau in the middle of a bunch of bungalows.
Design a Home From Scratch or Renovate? What are the Cost Differences?
The cost difference here can also be a factor in the decision whether to design a home from scratch or renovate, but it will often depend on the project itself. In other words, in certain situations it is easier and cheaper to knock a wall down and build a new one than to renovate, but in other situations, renovation can be less costly.
Speaking of costs, home owners should also be aware of the municipal costs. One of the biggest costs of this type are the development charges. Basically, when you start with a new property or have a torn-down house on an existing lot and a few years pass, the property will now have new development charges.
Is it Better to Build in the Country?
While it is possible to build a bigger property in the country than in the city, with this come some other costs. Mainly, you would have to think about service connections like water and sewer, which isn’t the case for a city or town property.
For example, if you decide to build in the country, you would have to have a septic. This can cost 30 to 40 thousand. Next, you would have to drill a well since you don’t have municipal water connection like in the city. This can also cost a considerably depending on how deep the well has to be.
So what’s the verdict? Design a home from scratch or renovate an existing one? According to Daniel, the best option is actually buying on an existing home on an existing lot. Although this can mean having to pay more, the process is easier and you will save on municipal costs and all that.
Watch this episode to learn more about whether to design a home from scratch or renovate it.
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