The Benefits of Building a New Home vs. Remodeling an Old One
Remodeling a home is not always the right call — there are a lot of complicated factors at play (and we’re here to help). If you are wondering about the advantages of building a new home instead of remodeling an old one, here is a quick primer on the advantages of new construction.
July 18, 2019
Designing and building a new home from the ground up is one of the most exciting things someone can do when figuring out where to live. In a city like Seattle, where there are very few lots that aren't already built up, deciding to build new or remodel can be tricky. (Currently in this predicament? Here’s a primer on what to consider if you’re trying to make that call.)
Remodeling a home can certainly be a wonderful experience, and for the right home, it can be the best choice. But, what if the house you happen to own doesn't really warrant a remodel? (That alone is also a topic worth a whole blog post.) Or, what if you are looking to buy a new place, but nothing on the market really meets your needs? Sometimes, building a brand new home is the right call.
Here are the things I think can be huge benefits of opting to build new instead of buying a house to remodel.
A Blank Slate
With a new home, you can get what you want — you aren’t limited to the constraints of an existing house. You can decide how much square footage you want and where it’s allocated.
When building new, it’s easier to meet the goals of a high-performing house. The science behind creating a high-performing — or even a passive house — is largely understood. With a new home, we can create something air-tight, comfortable, and super inexpensive to maintain. You’ll almost routinely get a better-performing house than if you remodeled.
Current (Or Future) Elevator
An elevator is a relatively easy addition in the design of a new home. Seattle has fairly small urban lots, so homes often get spread out over many floors. Especially as we all get older and want to age in place, an elevator can be a wonderful addition to a home to ensure you can stay there for years. Even if you don't intend on adding it right away, in a new home, it is fairly easy to plan for a future elevator so it's not a major disruption when the time comes. With remodels, that can be quite difficult without major compromise.
Older homes often have low ceilings. With a new home, you can almost always go much higher.
With new construction, a smart home is easily achievable. You can build in features that are far more challenging to pull off in a remodel. You can wire things in advance, and have a home ready for the technology of today and tomorrow.
Take Advantage of Views
Views in Seattle are often visible from the second floor. While having a view off of a future master bedroom in a second-floor addition is nice, it seems far nicer to me to have the views accessible from your kitchen and living space. If you can get comfortable with climbing some stairs to the shared spaces of your home, rather than the private spaces, you can have a main living space that is filled with light and takes advantage of gorgeous views.
Any Style You Like
With a new home, you can select whatever aesthetic direction you prefer. Oftentimes, a remodel of an older home really warrants a style that respects the original house. With a new home, you can select the desired aesthetic that works both with the neighborhood and with you.
When building a new home, you can control your budget better than with a remodel. Remodels are inherently filled with unknowns, and while the great team of contractors we work with is excellent at keeping costs in control, the reality is, those unknowns will come up, and they cost money to deal with. Removing this from the equation means you have much more budgetary control.
In the end, deciding whether to build new or remodel isn’t an easy one. Understanding what is possible on your site and what your goals are is be something a good architect can walk you through. If you go the route of building new, it is exciting, scary, and one of the most amazing journeys you can take. A good advocate in your camp can help you make the most informed decision possible.