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The Final Showdown: Renovation vs Building New

Renovating never is quite what the TV shows make it out to be. On TV, the home builders are in and out in a week, with the house seemingly coming together with no major hiccups. And, of course, money is no object in the world of cinema. Despite renovation being a fantastic way to make your existing property a place that feels more like your own, it can also have a lot of drawbacks that are impossible to foresee on the surface. Rather than thinking of it as a cheaper alternative to building from scratch, property owners need to walk into the renovation process with their eyes wide open. Deciding whether to undertake a new build or to renovate an existing home will often depend on your circumstances – availability of resources, time and money all play a big part in the decision. Planning a for a home change? Let’s take a look at which option is right for you.

Renovation Pros & Cons

Picking up an old home and re-making it in your own vision is a hugely exciting prospect. An opportunity to leave your mark on a home and try your hand at a range of skills from design, through to construction. With the frame already built, you have borders within which to envision your new home. If you have the time, money, resources and know-how, then renovating a place is a brilliant option for you. However, if you’re short on any of those, the reality of the process could turn out to be less than ideal.

Pros of Renovating

• Old houses come cheaper. If you’re buying a real tried-and-true fixer-upper, then your wallet is going to take less of a hit.
• Their bones are solid. Some older homes made of brick, stone and timber are all laid in configurations to last decades, so choosing to renovate an old home means knowing the bones there from the get-go.
• The framework is already there. When renovating, your imagination is limited to the framework of the house already place. While you can add and take away from it, the basis of your new home is laid out in front of you when you walk onto the section. To many, this is more appealing than building a home from scratch.

Cons of Renovating

• Renovating old homes is not cheap. While the capital cost of an old home may be less upfront, you will have to be ready for hidden costs which will only become apparent when you start digging into the project. While some projects might only require an updated colour palette, many will need a full workup of new plumbing, earthworks, electrical and roofing, making the scope of potential costs wide and largely unforeseeable. Compare this to house & land packages where you know all of the costs, upfront, with no surprises.
• Older homes may have toxic components. Construction methods before the 2000s utilised substances like asbestos and lead paint, so you should always have an older home checked for the presence of toxic substances. Removing and replacing these adds to the budget.
• Surprises come every day. Renovating is undoubtedly a process full of twists and turns, so you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the wiggle room to deal with that! That means having a realistic budget that can grow if necessary, time that can be unexpectedly dedicated, and a flexibility in your final vision. You also might find yourself without a working kitchen or without electricity for an extended period of time if the unforeseen happens.

New Build Pros & Cons

Building from scratch is a larger cost at the outset, but when you chose the right build partner there are very few things that can surprise you during the building process. With the help of professionals who know their industry backwards, you can build your perfect dream home from the ground up.

Pros of New Builds

• You can achieve your ideal vision. Rather than compromising your initial design to fit an existing structure, you can design and build the perfect home suited to your lifestyle and budget from the ground up. This is usually why people choose to build from scratch, the budget is set right from the start with the guarantee of achieving the end result, which you will live in for many years to come.
• New Zealand offers a HomeStart Grant to new home builders. If you’re going from the ground up, you can apply for a KiwiSaver HomeStart grant of up to $10,000 per person, which will take a big chunk out of some of the building costs. Renovation on an existing home only fetches a maximum of a $5,000 grant.
• You know everything that goes into the build. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are actually a lot of benefits to knowing precisely what’s behind the walls. For years to come you’ll understand exactly what your home needs in terms of upkeep, and there won’t be any nasty surprises or potentially dangerous materials lurking in the roof.

Cons of New Builds

• The initial cost is larger. For many, this is a daunting prospect, as you pay a larger chunk all at once. However, you tend to save money in the long run with a new build, so if you have the savings for it, then a new build is for you. House and Land packages also make it easier on the wallet, with only 10% needed to commit up front until the keys are yours.
• The potential stress. Working on a project like this can inspire a lot of stress – after all, it’s a lot to take on! You can negate this by making sure to work with industry professionals who know their business and, more importantly, have your best interests at heart. Overall, the perfect choice depends on what you want out of your final result, and what your financial situation looks like. Regardless, it is always best to work with companies that know what they’re doing and won’t cut corners during the building process.

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We’re New Zealand’s second largest residential home builder and that’s come from 23 years of dedication to delivering clients dreams with undeniable quality. If you’re ready to start on the journey towards your perfect home, give us a call today!