Making the Right Choice for Your Dream Home: Is it better to renovate or build new? 

Is it better to renovate or build new? New home kitchn

Is it better to renovate or build new? This is a common dilemma faced by homeowners who are looking to make major changes to their homes. When you’ve got a vision or idea for your dream home in mind, you may find yourself torn between the options of building a new home from scratch or renovating an existing property. While both options have their merits, the decision ultimately depends on several factors that are unique to every situation. 

To help you make an informed decision that aligns with your vision and goals, here are 5 factors to consider when deciding whether to renovate or build new construction.

#1 Location, location, location

The real estate adage rings true as ever! The property’s location is a significant factor in determining whether to choose a new build or renovation. If the current property is in a highly desirable area where land availability is limited (such as Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) renovating an existing structure might make sense—or be the only option! However, in other areas where the market is more flexible, it’s essential to assess whether the cost of renovating would be a wise investment based on the overall value of the property in the market. A new build in a desirable location may have a higher resale value, while a thoughtfully renovated home in a sought-after neighborhood can also fetch a good return.

Is the property in a location where renovations will eventually generate a return on your investment? Consult with experts in the real estate market to assess the demand for renovated homes versus new builds in your area. Understanding the market dynamics will help you determine the best course of action to maximize your investment.

You may also be interested in: 8 things realtors want you to know about buying a home in Ponte Vedra Beach

#2 Condition of the existing house

Consider the age, structural quality, and condition of the existing house, whether you already live there or are considering making an offer. Older homes may require significant updates to meet your desired standards of electrical and plumbing systems, energy efficiency, weatherization, and overall functionality. If the structure is compromised, in poor condition, or simply doesn’t align with your vision of a desirable floor plan, a complete rebuild may be a more practical and cost-effective solution. However, if the structure is solid and the necessary upgrades can be achieved without breaking the budget, renovating an existing home could be a viable option that enables you to put your budget toward the details most important to you.

You may also be interested in: Home Maintenance Checklist

#3 Alignment with your vision

We recently worked with a couple who were considering buying a house in a location they loved. However, the house itself left a lot to be desired, and it would take extensive renovations to even get it close to what they wanted for their family. In cases such as this one, it generally isn’t worth it to buy and renovate. There’s only so much a renovation can accomplish—sure, we can update the kitchen and bathrooms, knock out some walls, and even add square footage with an addition. But a complete rearrangement of an existing floor plan is generally cost-prohibitive. We suggested that they were better off with a new build that gave them exactly what they were envisioning.

Evaluate whether your current home, or any house you’re considering buying, aligns with your vision for your dream home. If the property has elements that you love, such as unique architectural features or a desirable layout, renovation can be a rewarding choice. In any renovation project, you generally want to retain the character of the existing structure while incorporating desired new elements and upgrades. However, if your vision requires a complete transformation, a new build will offer the freedom to design and construct a home that suits your needs and preferences. 


Are you ready to turn your house into the home of your dreams?

We’re here to help you every step of the way with our free Home Renovation Checklist. 

Home Renovation Checklist

#4 Modern technology and environmental sustainability

Older construction is often ill-equipped for modern technological needs, especially when it comes to electrical systems. That’s why designing and building a new home from scratch generally allows for more control over energy consumption. A new building’s materials, floor plans, electrical components, and plumbing systems can all be built with energy efficiency in mind, which will make a significant difference in long-term energy costs. Efficiencies can often be gained when renovating an older home, but not always. If you’re seriously considering renovating an older property, ask a professional to evaluate the details that will determine the home’s energy efficiency and inner workings.

#5 Cost considerations

Evaluate your budget and compare the financial costs of renovation vs. a new build. After every angle has been taken into consideration, how much will the renovation cost? Go beyond construction estimates to consider the impact on your day-to-day life. If your renovations are going to be extensive, you may not be able to live in your home for some period of time. You’ll need to determine whether remodeling will be worth the cost compared to simply building from the ground up. Remember that what seems like a more affordable option in the short-term might not always be the best choice when weighed against long-term goals or other factors, such as those mentioned above. 

Engage in a thorough analysis of the expenses involved in both options: 

  • Consider the estimated cost of renovations, including potential hidden issues that may arise during the process
  • Compare this to the cost of building a new home from the ground up, factoring in the materials, labor, permits, and design fees


We highly recommend consulting with professionals to obtain accurate cost assessments and determine which option aligns best with your budget and goals.

With John Merrill Homes, your home is in safe hands

The decision to renovate or build a new home involves careful consideration of multiple factors, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. At John Merrill Homes, we are here to help you align your decision with your vision, goals, and budget so you can confidently move forward with your home transformation project.

If you have a home design idea in mind, we’d love to hear about it! Please reach out to the team to schedule a free consultation.

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