To add more rooms to an existing structure or change the way a house is sectioned, the traditional approach has usually been renovation. However, the rising cost of renovation work has prompted more people to consider the knockdown and rebuild approach. So, if you’re asking: Can I knock down my house and rebuild? Our short answer would be to wait, weigh your options and consider everything carefully.
The knockdown and rebuild option is particularly attractive for those who have outgrown their home, need more space, or are thinking of expanding their planned rebuild project into a full-fledged duplex home as an income source. Conversely, there are also people (think empty nesters) looking to downsize and restructure their residential space.
Either way, you need to assess your needs carefully and find out how viable it is to knock down and start from scratch instead of renovating, and make sure you consider the following:
1. Does it make sense to renovate or rebuild?
One of the first things you need to consider if you go for renovation is how extensive is the renovation work you have in mind? If you need more space, how much extra space do you need? How much of the old house will be left after the house is renovated? Will you be able to retain most of the existing structure in your home renovation designs?
If a majority of the original home will have to be demolished to make way for the changes, you probably need to re-evaluate your plans to see if it is worth investing in a major renovation. Also, look into the physical condition of your home. Is it in a bad state of disrepair? Is the interior design old-fashioned?
A house that requires major repair work may be better off being demolished and rebuilt. However, a house with an interior that’s badly in need of updating may still be efficiently renovated.
2. Are knockdown and rebuilds allowed in your area?
Stressing over your knockdown and rebuild option is futile if the council planning laws in your area do not allow it. In some areas, demolishing a home that has reached a specific age or has a certain historical significance is prohibited.
If building a new home is your primary goal, you need to work out the age of your home. You can do this by accessing the original drainage plan or getting a copy of council records. If it’s established that your home isn’t covered by restrictions, you can start planning for your home design and calculate building costs.
While you’re at it, make sure you find out applicable regulations and legalities regarding demolishing and rebuilding, including planning restrictions or local council regulations that dictate how you can go about your project. Also, note that a complete house demolition requires planning. You need to select a reliable demolition company, get the required permits, and have the site prepared for new construction after the demolition is complete.
3. What expenses should you prepare for?
Since a knockdown and rebuild is similar to a new home construction project, you need to factor in the expenses that go into building a new home on top of the house demolition bit. Rebuilding projects can commonly involve factors like:
- Measurements of the house to be built
- Architectural and design features of the house
- Location of the home building project and site accessibility
- Materials to be used for house construction
- Required site work preparations
- Contractor-related fees
- Professional service fees
4. Do you have a place to live while the rebuild is ongoing?
Getting the demolition work done and the site prepared won’t really take long. However, rebuilding your home from scratch can take anywhere from 10 to 16 months or more, depending on the scale and intricacy of the project. While all the work is ongoing, you need to decide where you (and your family) will be living.
5. Who will be your building partner?
In home knockdowns and rebuilds, hiring a contractor is the typical way to go. But if you’ve never had a home construction project done before, how would you go about finding a reliable, trustworthy contractor?
Shopping for a good builder is like shopping for a brand new home. You need to exercise caution and not be swayed by the cheapest option because quality should be the top priority. To find a contractor, take note of the following:
- Come up with a list of prospective builders. If you want a custom-built home, you need to research custom builders. If you’re building a duplex, look up duplex building experts in your area.
- Reliable sources of information include your local homebuilders’ association, property listings, local real estate agents, and friends and relatives.
- Interview your prospects and get permission to talk to some of their former clients.
- View samples of their work. Take a drive around one weekend and talk to homeowners about their experiences with specific builders. Take notes so you can use these later for making comparisons.
- Talk to your chosen builder and iron out all details of the project in advance.
So, back to your question: Can I knock down my house and rebuild?
However, before you can get to that, you need to ensure you’ve covered all the bases. Never rush into making a decision. Even when the time comes for contract signing with your builder, make sure you read the fine print.
When you’re fully prepared for your home rebuild, you won’t need to stress. Soon, you’ll be living in your beautiful new home with all the construction behind you.