Renovating or rebuilding from scratch? The choice can be a tough one. Ask the right questions and you will be in your way to home heaven!

Deciding to renovate or rebuild can be a tough one, and generally, the final decision comes down to costs. In this tight housing market that Sydney is currently experiencing, the choice is not a simple one.
To help take some of the frustration away and help you make the final decision, here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
 

  1. What is the cheaper option?
    Generally speaking, the cost per-square-metre of a brand new build-from-scratch is cheaper than Renovating. BUT if you are updating individual sections of your home – kitchen, bathroom and a re-paint for example, the renovation to freshen things up will come in less expensive. Of course, keep in mind that if the bones of the house require some love and care in a few years, you might do better to start again with a knockdown that will have you comfortable in your forever home for many decades to come. Which comes to the second point…
     
  2. Is my house structurally sound enough?
    If your house is your ‘forever home’ you want to be sure that it is in good enough nick to make it through the next decade or so, if you do decide to go the way of the renovation. If you are already aware of structural issues, then there is no point in retaining a building that doesn’t have much life left in it. If you are unsure of the structural integrity of your home, get a building inspection, so you have a professional report on the condition of your home. Homeowners must be aware of any urgent maintenance required regardless of any building plans.
    Often, the final decision can come from this.
     
     
  3. What do I need to do if I want a second story addition?
     
    The build may require planning approval and will usually require building approval, which means it must comply with local zoning regulations and the local neighbourhood plan. All councils have height restrictions for residential buildings. In some instances, there are restrictions on whether or not you can build a second storey, mainly if the streetscape is largely single-storey.
    There are also floor space-ratio rules governing how much of your land you can build on. Also, if you are thinking about a second-storey addition, you’ll need to check the structural integrity of the ground floor. You may need reinforcement to carry the weight of the extension, and that can be expensive.
     
    Both a rebuild and a renovation have their pros and cons. With the right information at hand, the decision you make will inevitably bring new life into an old home.

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