Should You Remodel – or Build? Here's the Lowdown
Wave goodbye to spring cleaning, remodeling season is upon us! In many parts of the country, homeowners are remodeling their kitchens, bathrooms, and exteriors in an effort to add that “je ne sais quoi” back into their home. While it’s sure nice to finally have that countertop and pantry you’ve always wanted (did someone say walk-in pantry?), is a little remodel really what you had in mind? For all you folks who have set aside money for a remodel, why settle for just a room or two?
Let's compare building versus remodeling on aspects such as the budget, footprint, value, location, and more. Stay tuned, because this is why you might be better off looking to house plans and a new build rather than the DIY Network this fall.
If you’re being honest, plans to build your dream home are probably never far from your thoughts. As you navigate that awkward floor plan or pull up to your 1970s exterior after a friend's new-house warming party, you just heave a sigh. While remodeling may appease that urge to knock it all down and start over for a little while, it can really just be a band aid on a broken leg. There are many reasons we think you should consider building instead of remodeling.
So you're thinking of remodeling and you want to build that fab kitchen you've always wanted with a walk-in pantry. It isn't easy to find the space for something like that in an existing floor plan without practially doing a teardown as the "remodel." Why not build new using a house plan like this striking 3-bedroom, 3-bath, 2-half-bath rustic Craftsman-influenced home (top)? The main-level floor plan (bottom) is open and modern – and has a large walk-in pantry (red circle) just as you've always wanted (House Plan 198-1011)!
Realistically, no remodel is even going to come close to the price of building your own house – unless perhaps it's a complete gut or teardown. We’re not going to pretend that it is. But how many of us have gotten into a remodel and realized that we significantly undercut the budget it was going to take? If the number of projects that are always paused halfway through are any indication, there are a lot of us.
Let’s compare that with the budget for building a house. Typically, when you choose a house plan, there will be an estimate of how much the house will cost to build. When you view one of our home plans (House Plan #141-1242, for example,) and click on "Order a Cost-To-Build Report," you’ll be taken to this page where you have the option to purchase a cost-to-build report for only $29.95. From there, you hire a general contractor who will give you his own estimate for the project. While there may be things that crop up such as a rainy day that damages the wood, there are ways around that and the amount you spend should be pretty close to the amount you anticipated. If not, there are alterations that you can make to your house plan in consultation with your builder that involve taking away a feature or two to help you remain within your budget.
2. The Footprint of Your House
Do you have an oddly shaped cupboard or closet that you just aren’t able to use? Perhaps you have a strange section of a room that juts out suddenly. When you move into a pre-built home, you’re pretty much stuck with the layout. Remodeling just adds on to the cost and may or may not include all of the elements of the home that you wish you could change. For many, this means dealing with tight storage, building custom furniture to fit their home, or simply not using parts of their house.
When you decide to build your house, however, you can control that footprint. Suddenly, you’ve got extra storage in a designated room of the house. You’ve got cupboards that allow every piece of dinnerware and appliance you own. As for the furniture, your favorite set of couches and that lovely dining table and chairs now have a space designed specifically for them. There is no section of the home that is unusable or awkward, and the house is tailored to fit you.
3. Home Value
Many people use home value as validation for knocking out walls and adding a bathroom or a larger kitchen. While it’s true that some remodels do add value to your home, you won’t see the recoup of every dollar you put into the house when you go to sell it later.
Rather than adding on to your home in hopes of raising the value, why not choose a house plan that already has what you’re looking for, whether it’s multiple bathrooms or a larger kitchen that has been on your wish list for a while? Building a home ensures that the value is already there and means that you have quite a while before replacing anything major, such as a roof or siding, and don't have to make do with what you already have.
If you're looking for multiple bathrooms that you don't have, build new plan like this (top, foor plan of the lead house image), which has a fabulous master bath and a full bathroom between bedrooms #2 and #3, as well as a fourth bedroom, with it's own bathroom, at the back of the house (House Plan #142-1193). For that larger kitchen, this transitional country home (center) has a magnificent open kitchen layout at the center of the floor plan (bottom), which looks out on teh family room with fireplace and has a breakfast nook and walk-in pantry (House Plan #117-1117).
When house hunting, people generally have an idea of where they want to live and find a house that most fits their needs within that area. That means sacrificing on either location or a few of those extra things you were looking for in a house. Rather than remdeling what you already have – and have made compromises on to have in the first place – or buying an existing house that you’ll only have to remodel sooner or later, control both the layout and the location by building your house. It may take a bit longer to get into, but it's worth the extra time when you have the commute and yard you were hoping for, along with the home of your dreams.
5. Future Repairs
Buying a resale home means you buy all of its problems with it. If you’ve purchased a house for its historic charm, for example, there’s the likelihood of having the historic wiring (and plumbing and heating, etc.) as well, which is a recipe for disaster. Rather than buying a home that needs a whole new HVAC system, energy efficient windows and a new septic tank, you could put that money toward a home with the same design and fewer problems.
If you’ve already bought a house and it’s clear that a remodel is in order, you may want to consider selling and using that money to build a house from the ground up –and no repair concerns. You can purchase house plans with historic charm if that's your thing, contemporary chic, a country vibe, or a natural Craftsman appeal, which is trending thses days.
This Country style home plan, with hints of Craftsman and Farmhouse styles, pays homage to a bygone era while still managing to appear curret offer up-to-the-date modern amenities. The home has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, including an in-lay suite in the walkout/daylight basement (House Plan #109-1193).
So, let’s recap: when building a home, you typically have more control over the value and footprint. You also are able to choose the location and have instant value into the home, with little-to-no foreseeable updates or remodels to complete.
If you do a remodel, you run the risk of going significantly over budget, especially if you’re opening up walls! Although a remodel may add value to the house, you’ll likely never recoup every penny you spend on the house. Additionally, depending on the age of the house, you may have many more such remodels and repairs in your future.
Still on the fence about remodeling or building a home? Head over to our library of house plans to get a sneak peak of what building a home can mean for you!
Footnote: Photograph in lead image is of a 1-story, 4-bedroom Traditional style home with mudroom (For more details, see House Plan 142-1193).