Is It Cheaper to Remodel or Build A New House?

Updated May 5, 2022

When considering the possibility of a whole home remodel, part of the process is deciding whether or not you should invest in your current space or build a new home with the features you want. Long story short, it’s almost always cheaper to renovate inside your existing home than to rebuild.

Here, we’ll outline some benefits of whole home remodeling and how it impacts your return on investment and the personal value of your home.

The Cost of Remodeling a Home vs. Rebuilding

Let’s say you’re deciding between tearing down and rebuilding versus remodeling the interior of your home to fit your needs. According to The Spruce, an average rebuild costs twenty percent more than remodeling an existing structure.

If cost isn’t an issue, building a new home allows you virtually any option for your home’s structure, layout, ceiling height, and square footage that your lot allows. With home remodeling, you’ll be able to do a fair amount of space planning, including opening up walls, combining or adding new rooms, building new bathrooms, or remodeling an unfinished basement. However, you can’t add to the existing square footage to make the overall home bigger unless you combine a home remodel with a home addition project. Current beam heights will also limit changing your ceiling height or opening up the home vertically.

However, when you build a house (and if you’re demolishing the current one), there are pre-build costs to consider that aren’t necessary with a remodel. You’ll be dealing with the cost of the demolition as well as any costs associated with pulling permits and other partners you’ll need to get a new build on the right track. With a whole home remodel, you get far more flexibility in what you choose to remodel and what you’ll leave as-is to save on cost. A new build includes everything from foundation, framing, and other initial build needs — something you can bypass and save money on if you remodel an existing structure. Think about your ultimate “must-haves” for your finished product and if those new build features are required to bring you joy.

Raising Your Home Value with a Remodel

Remodeling your home allows you to truly invest in your home and even raise your home’s property value! Let’s say one of your remodel goals is to create more usable square footage in the house, but you don’t want to tear down and rebuild to do so. You can finish an unfinished basement to add an entire floor to your home and turn storage space into a fully habitable, customized basement. Using a finished basement as an example, a remodel can raise your home value by an average of $50,000! Virtually any remodel of the home is great news for your home’s equity, so make sure to run the numbers before deciding. Ask yourself, “Is the amount I’m investing an affordable, comfortable number for me, and will the return on investment be worth the cost?”.

With building a new home, you might also be dealing with zoning and HOA restrictions in your neighborhood that may not allow you to build a larger house than your lot allows. If increasing square footage is a must-have, make sure to check the regulations in your area before moving forward. 

Pro tip: Are you including a basement finish with your home remodeling plans? Check out our breakdown of how a basement remodel raises the value of your home.

The Personal Value Added to Your Whole Home Remodel

Going beyond the financials, remodeling your home adds a lot of personal value to a home. At FBC, we find that many of our more extensive remodel projects are built in mid-century homes, homes that have personal value to the family, and spaces that have historical significance to the owner. Remodels allow you to create the fit and flow you need for your day-to-day while preserving those irreplaceable original elements and materials.

It’s important to note the current state of an older home. If the house is structurally unsound or has irreversible issues, rebuilding may be the more straightforward and cost-friendly choice in the long run.

Pro tip: Looking to preserve a historical home through a remodel? Get some inspiration from our award-winning 1909 attic remodel here.

A whole home remodel is a great way to take a home you already love and make it your forever home. If your family is attached to the memories you already made in your space, you can utilize space planning to make your layout more convenient while keeping the original home intact. You’re not limited to simply changing out cabinets, finishes, and flooring with a remodel — design-build firms are experts in reconstructing and customizing the space within the home itself. You’ll feel confident that no other home looks exactly like yours in Colorado, Illinois, and Minnesota!

Accomplishing “New Build” Needs with a Home Remodel

As we mentioned before, many homeowners may not realize how customizable a home can be! Say you’re gutting your main floor or your current basement. With the interior stripped to the bare bones, you’ll be able to put virtually any feature in that space.

Some examples of how you can customize your design:

  • Adding a home theater, golf simulator, or wine cellar to your basement
  • Opening up walls in a current basement to create an ample entertainment space
  • Opening up walls between the kitchen and living room, creating an open floorplan
  • Adding or removing a kitchen island
  • Removing and replacing flooring, woods, and finishes throughout the house
  • Expanding the size of a current bathroom or master suite
  • Adding a custom vanity to a bathroom
  • Adding a new bathroom or room in a larger, open space
  • Choosing high-end materials and fixtures for a luxurious feel

We recommend booking consultations with builders, interior designers, general contractors, and design-build firms to determine which partner and project type is best for you! Be up-front about your must-haves and the budget you’re working with.

Get the Home of Your Dreams with FBC Remodel

FBC Remodel is a design-build firm specializing in interior transformations through space planning and customized design. Your vision is our focus, and we work in partnership with you to deliver the design you desire. You can feel confident that you’ll love your design before spending a dime, and our guaranteed price before construction makes it easy to budget for the entirety of your project. With a shorter timeline and lower cost, a whole home remodel is a convenient, budget-friendly option for getting that “new home” feel.

We’d love to build your dream space through whole home remodeling. We specialize in all parts of the home, so you’ll be working with experts who have seen it all! Please take a look at our gallery below for some home remodeling inspiration, and get in touch with us today to book a design consultation. We can’t wait to hear all about your project.

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