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Tear Down vs Remodel

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  • Tear Down vs Remodel

    Sorry for such a long post, but come looking for advice.
    Backstory is, wife wanted to move back with mother to take care of her since her father's passing. We moved in knowing that there were going to be house issues and the plan was going to be to fix them up. Since the short time we have been here, I have noticed a lot more than I was expecting unfortunately. So far my on my list is:
    New roof (there is a leak)
    Possible mold (from previous leak)
    Insulation
    New windows and doors
    Heating upgrade - currently an oil furnace
    All new electrical (old style panel and may find knob and tube :( )
    Floor plan is not the greatest
    Would need to install another bathroom and add a bedroom.
    More cosmetic stuff, including floors, drywall and paint.

    So, my options are, remodel the place, complete tear down or sell (which I am not sure I can do considering the long list of issues). With a remodel, just scared of the can of worms that we are going to run into. I have the space to add on, just not sure if it is the best bang for the buck. We do like the area and the lot is good size and close to the kid's schools. I know that there is no concrete answer, but what is the average price per square foot to build these days. We don't need to terribly fancy. Located in the east coast of Canada (New Brunswick).

    Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
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  • #2

    Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

    Given the large lot, likable area and proximity to schools, it doesn't seem like you could lose starting from scratch. Can't help with pricing.
    Provone likes this.

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    • #3

      Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

      With a new build, there would be so many great opportunities to take advantage of the latest materials and techniques. At very least you could go with ICF foundation and walls, and then you would have a real solid house that was excellently sealed and insulated - and that would pay back dividends for years. Or you could go farther and get into some of the super-insulated passivhaus stuff. EVen if you didn't go all the way with that, the number of things you could do in a new build that would improve energy efficiency is much greater than the retro-fit options you'd have with a reno.

      What's the lot like? Do you have the space to build new somewhere adjacent to the current house? Then tear down the old house after move-in? That would certainly take a lot of the headaches out of it.

      A truly efficient house can save you lots of money in the years to come. If you have the chance to get in on that, I for one would jump for it. My house is around 75 years old, and the work I am always doing to retro-fit it is stupid. I often (half) wish that it would burn down or something (while we are out, of course!) simply because starting from scratch would be so much easier and better.

      Egon likes this.

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      • #4

        Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

        I think you will need to find someone in your area for a price. If you build from scratch you will need a place to stay while that is done unl;ess you can build new on the existing property and live in the old house till it is done.

        Look into modular homes also, sometimes they are a cheaper option.
        Steve The Drill Sergeant
        Check out MyShopNotes on YouTube.

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        • #5

          Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

          If you bulldoze the property the only value you are left with is the lot.

          Added to that you have the cost of demolition and carting it all away. That includes the foundation. Add that cost to the cost of the lot above.

          Now price out the cost of the new building and see if the house you can build on that property meets the market cost of the other properties in the neighborhood. If it does it's an economically viable project. If not then it isn't.

          Is there a mortgage on the property? You will either have to pay off the mortgage or get the holders approval before you go ahead with anything like razing the house.

          Usually it isn't worth the cost of razing and existing structure and building anew unless it's in a neighborhood that's gentrifying and the property values are taking off like a rocket. The cost of demolition and the fact that the cost of the property reflects that there is a house on it makes it thus.

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          • #6

            Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

            Its a difficult decision you are going to make, I built my own home in 1991 and it is the best thing I ever did but it was a hard slog to pay it off, I sold it 25 years later during a housing boom and did very well but then only kept up with the market in reality, so what I am trying to say is you have to be in, and in for the long term, its a home as well as an investment, I moved to a smaller town where the property was cheaper and spent up large on a cheap house so we now have a good house but its only worth what the other houses nearby are worth but then we have the pleasure of a nice home to live in for the long term and its pretty maintenance free.
            For you I suggest, a reno always has the unforeseen the extra costs unanticipated, if you do it yourself and are working it takes a long time, to employ someone is costly, everyone makes compromises on a reno ( should I replace this or leave it in how far do you go) get a house builder to quote a new build then add in what they don't include.
            Ask each of the family involved to make a list of the pros and cons, what they would like.
            An old house is still an old house after a reno, but then I think my old house in some ways is better than the new one I built and visa versa.
            Good luck with your decisions.

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            • #7

              Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

              Good advice above even if some contradict others. You describe what you have found as deficiencies in the existing house but is your list complete? Maybe get a thorough home inspection and give the inspector permission to make holes in walls as required to get the full picture. Then use the inspection report to get quotes on the work. While there is a ton of experience on this forum, as Steve said above, you need local pricing. You might also find that you can't find a local renovation contractor that you feel confident with and that would eliminate the reno route unless you are willing to do the work yourself (you don't indicate whether you are hands on or will hire a contractor for the work). You should also contact a local house builder and get at least an initial ballpark estimate to build new including the demo cost, again based on local pricing. You should also consider how long you plan to stay in the house. Short turn resale value may not be an issue if you plan on staying there for a long time and while the energy efficiency mentioned above may increase resale value, you probably can only recoup the cost if you stay long term. Another consideration, if you build or renovate to make the house suitable for your aging mother in law, you may want to take into consideration making the entire house "seniors friendly" for you and your wife in the future. Some of the features may not add much to the cost if done as part of major reno or new build and may increase resale value.

              Oh, and welcome to the forum.

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              • #8

                Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

                Thanks so much for all of the great feedback! There are indeed many things to consider. The area is going through a bit of a upgrade, a new school was recently opened, and probably 30 new lots have been created with the majority of them being sold and built on already. If we did decide to rebuilt, it more than likely would be home for many years to come.
                Now, I do realize that there is no value other than the land if we tear down. There is no mortgage, so we are free to do what we would like. We would more than likely to find a temporary place while either we rebuild or remodel. The lot is probably big enough to build and then tear down, but I would rather just expand the current layout so I could still have the backyard and such.
                I really do like the idea of modernizing the place with the latest building technologies. Wife and I will continue discussing and will update my progress.

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                • #9

                  Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

                  Maybe consider getting a quote to completely gut the existing and add whatever addition. A complete gut is almost as good as a fresh build, not sure of what the cost savings would be if any.
                  Steve The Drill Sergeant
                  Check out MyShopNotes on YouTube.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

                    It would help if we knew age of house. I am not sure of what is required to get a building permit in NB. In Ontario we have people that are qualified to draw house plans( I believe they are referred to as Architectural Technicians ). They are inexpensive and fully aware of building codes. They would be in a better position to give you a answer that included costs and possible recommendations for trades people.
                    Brian
                    If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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                    • #11

                      Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

                      My best guess at age would be having it built before the fifties, as it was originally her grandparents house.

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                      • #12

                        Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

                        Renovating is a no no unless you stay for years. Don't do anything if you choose to sell.

                        if you stay, gut it completely. Then you can see the structure and where you may be able to move a wall or whatever. But obviously make certain the foundation is in real good shape and if you need to add on make sure the foundations are compatible first.

                        Rather than demolish consider selling the structure and having it moved.

                        Demolition is not overly expensive nor is removal. Check to see what services are supplied to the lot. Check for height restrictions and square footages etc.

                        New costs are easy to find.
                        "Do it Right!"

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                        • #13

                          Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

                          Originally posted by Provone View Post
                          My best guess at age would be having it built before the fifties, as it was originally her grandparents house.
                          Lol I am a grandparent and built my last house in 93.

                          Brian
                          Provone likes this.
                          If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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                          • #14

                            Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

                            The neighbourhood I live in is considered a commuter town for Toronto which has lead to our built in the mid seventies homes getting priced in the ridiculous zone and people doing interesting things. A house around the corner that has a property that is known to have active springs and problematic drainage sold for $700,000.00. The builder they talked with convinced them that its was cheaper to rip the house off the foundation and renovate from there. $700,000.00 for a less than 1/2 acre lot that runs on septic and town water. They increased the foundation size and built a house that will probably never recover the cost. Quessimate for reno is about $450.000.00 bring total cost over a million. Some things just make you go ummmh.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Tear Down vs Remodel

                              From the description of the house if repairs are considered the extent of work will probably end up more like a new build but leave you with the mostly old floor plan as well as not having the newer energy saving features. Meeting today’s building codes may require much tear out and replace. ( it would remind me of the Bluenose 2 overhaul! )

                              I’d suggest a new build from foundation up but that all depends on your budget.

                              Price out a prebuilt house or get general costs for one. That should give you a good starting point for the budget.
                              Last edited by Egon; 11-13-2018, 08:29 AM.
                              Egon
                              from
                              The South Shore, Nova Scotia

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