Is it cheaper to renovate, buy, or build new home?

Open Concept Renovation

Open Concept Renovation (Photo Credit: iStock)

The answer to this question depends on the general condition of your home and on your location. In cities like San Diego, it is often cheaper to build new home rather than to buy one, especially if you already own the land.

Buy vs. Build New Home

Think of it this way, for example, just by hiring a contractor to build your new home you are saving RE agent sales commissions on buying one. Also consider home builders and housing tract developers and their sales profit margin. You save on those costs, commissions, and fees as well.

Housing Tract Developer

Housing Tract Developer (Photo Credit: iStock)

Home Building vs. Home Renovation

If your house is in really rough condition with lots of major problems then building a new home may be cheaper, faster, and easier than renovating. Large, expensive, and difficult problems such as:

  • Sewer and other underground/under slab plumbing problems
  • Severe structural damage (earthquake, tree falling, vehicle accident, etc)
  • Extreme age of home
  • Fire damage over 70% of home

Another consideration is whether or not your home has the necessary footing, layout, support, and internal construction requirements for renovating it the way you want. There is a chance that you home might not be able to support the changes you want without the cost being way higher than just building it new.

Home Renovation

Barring any of the above major problems, then home renovation may be a cheaper option over building a new home. However this depends on the scale of your renovation. If you just want to upgrade by adding a room or two, replace some flooring, move a wall, or build a loft into a vaulted ceiling, then definitely consider renovating your current home. How about adding a new laundry room?

But, if your house has some problems with its foundation, sewer, electrical, load bearing structural, roof, or plumbing, then those costs can add up quickly. When you add those repairs in with the upgrades then the economic scale might tilt in favor of building a new home; but also, maybe not.

Also factor in the cost of your landscaping, patios, and walkways. Disturbing or removing the concrete and landscape immediately surrounding the home will most likely happen during new home construction. It might also happen during a renovation depending on size and scope. In most cases, when the layout of the new home differs much from the old one, then you can expect major changes in landscape design.

How long does it take?

Again, the answer to this question depends on the scope of your project. In many cases, building a new home takes about the same amount of time as doing a large scale open concept renovation of a home. It could be anywhere from 1-6 months.

One perk of renovating over building is that you may be able to live in a section of your home during the renovation process. If building a new home, then you will have to find off-site temporary accommodations.

In contrast, minor to medium renovations are faster than building a new home.

Free Consultation and Price Quote

Hopefully this short article gave you some food for thought. Maybe you already know which direction you want to go. If not, the best way to decide is with professional information and advice. So that’s why we give free in home renovation inspections, consultations, and price quotes. This way you’ll have all the facts, information, and pricing you need in order to make a smart decision.

Call, text, or email us to set up a special time for you. We’ll come over, chat a while about your wants and needs, then inspect your home accordingly. At that point we can give you a professional opinion and your best options.

Then next, after your decision, we’ll go back to our office and work up a custom price quote just for you. This may take a few days to maybe a week or two depending on the scope of the project. Then we’ll meet again to go over the quote and set a timeline for moving forward.

Sound good? Great! Start by contacting us. By the way, there are no obligations with the free consult and quote. You can choose to say “no”, owe us nothing, and continue on with your search. But we’re hoping you’re thrilled with our advice and service and SAY YES to us today!


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Company: HK Construction, Inc.
Owner: Marc Gieselmann
Location: Poway, CA.

Phone: (858) 748-6580

Service area: All of San Diego CA and surrounding cites and counties. See complete service areas list.

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