This is something I often get asked from prospective clients. Unfortunately, there isn’t one straight answer that fits everyone. There are several things that you should take into account prior to making a decision.

Firstly, you should ask yourself:

Why would you like to keep the existing home? Or the other way around, why would you like to build a new home? What is working at the existing house? Or why is it not working for you? In most cases the answer is probably that the house is too small and or that it performs too poorly (having no insulation and really bad old windows)

So obviously, something must change. But do you want to extend/renovate your existing home because you think it will be cheaper? Or because it is better for the environment to keep an existing house, rather than putting it into landfill?

If you do want to keep the existing house, because you do not want the house to go into landfill, then yes, that is definitely great. But keep in mind, a renovation or extension might not always be the cheapest option.

 If the main drive of why you do want to do a renovation and extension is because you don’t want or can’t spend that much money, then you have to look first at the extent of the potential renovation and extension, to find out if it will be really cheaper than building a new home.

As a general guideline I would think about the following:

Do you like the existing house?

Does it have nice features that are worth keeping? Maybe nice period features or great built-in elements?

Do you like the look/feel of the house?

Are there some areas that can stay unchanged? Where at least the walls/structure can stay as is? For instance, can the wet areas stay where they are, but only need to get updated or maybe made a bit larger? Can the living room stay in the same location, but needs a little extension?

If you can answer yes to all, or at least the majority of the above, then yes, it is usually more than worthwhile to keep the existing house.

 On the other hand. If you don’t like the current house. If there are no special features in the house that are worth keeping. If the entire floor plan is not working at all and you would need to move or shuffle around all or most of the rooms. Then in many cases it will cost about the same or maybe a bit more to demolish the house and build a new home.

Another problem is, that no mater how good you renovate/retrofit insulation, most renovated homes will not perform as good as well done new home could, unless you really spent a lot of money on it. So you also have to think about if you rather save $50,000 to $100,000 by renovating and extending the existing house to improve its performance. Or if you rather spend a bit more money to get a brand new better performing home.

This is definitely not an easy answer and is different for every single home. As a general rule I revert back to what I mentioned before. If you do like/love the house or some features of the house. I would definitely lean towards a renovation/extension. But if there is nothing about the house that you like and if the layout is not working at all it is most likely better to start fresh.

If you do have an existing house and if you are not sure which direction to go I would love to have a chat with you to discuss further.