For most of us, a dream home is a fundamental idea that draws from how we always saw comfort and beauty and how we want to live and where we want to be in our lives. There aren’t any ready-made solutions available on the market and, if you do decide to turn your house into the perfect home, it’ll require a lot of research, work and time. One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make when undertaking this journey is whether you’re going to extensively renovate your current house or start from the ground up with a knock down rebuild. Let’s go over the most important considerations when deciding on either the knock down rebuild process or the renovation process.
Usually something more common on newly purchased property, more recently knockdown rebuilding have become something of a trend in many Melbourne suburbs. It allows homeowners to start fresh and build the home they always wanted without having to get used to a new neighbourhood, change schools and work commutes (not for long, anyway). So, as daunting as the idea to knock down your own home of many years may sound, it is not that unusual for homeowners. In fact, it can be a faster and more efficient way to get your dream home than renovating.
The first deciding factor here is your budget. Retrofitting your old home can actually get more expensive than rebuilding it completely. The thing to watch out for here is the scope. If your current renovation plan includes extensive structural changes to your house, involves relocating and re-purposing rooms and affects more places than it doesn’t, it is likely to be more expensive than to demolish and rebuild. While estimating your renovations budget, get a quote on a knock down rebuild as well. If your estimates end up being pretty close, a rebuild would still likely be a better option as your newly built home would require less maintenance work than the old structure, so you’ll save up more in the long run.
Depending on how old your house is, there might also be some hidden maintenance and renovations costs that your estimates might not include. For example, old pipes and wiring may still work with your appliances but would have to be replaced to accommodate new ones or comply with changing building regulations. Having your budget suddenly doubled mid-way through your renovations or, worse yet, having to break open walls and re-do the work after your project has already been completed can both be nasty surprises that come with renovating older Melbourne homes.
Energy efficiency can also have a lot of impact on your wallet. Modern materials and techniques for glazing and insulation make our homes more economical, easy to maintain and less disruptive to the environment. Cutting down your power bill dramatically can make up the cost difference between a renovation and a rebuild in just a few months. While you can update your old house to be more energy efficient, the expenses are often much higher than building it right from the ground up.
On the other hand, if you have a Heritage Overlay on your property, a knockdown might not be an option. Heritage homes have a lot more restrictions on the kinds of changes that you can do. While a makeover project in a period home could be a lot more difficult and expensive, an increased property value would usually cover those expenses. A combination of a beautiful heritage facade for maximum kerb appeal with a modern, well-designed interior is one of the biggest draws in the real estate market – and it’s a truly lovely home to live in, too! Additionally, when renovating a period home in Melbourne, you can sometimes find older layers under the floorboards or cladding. With some clean-up and a bit of imagination those elements can be brought back to life as unique design features.
There are other legal restrictions in Melbourne that can make a knock down rebuild either impossible or simply not worth it. Before you finalise any construction plans and building budgets, do some research on development regulations that apply to your block and what kinds of approvals you’re going to need. For example, in many places height restrictions have changed significantly over the years, so if you knock down your old house you might not be able to build a new one to the same height or with the same number of storeys. Protected trees, storm sewage plans and neighbourhood-specific design guidelines are also things to look out for when testing the waters for a potential knockdown rebuild.
At the end of the day, choosing between rebuilding and renovating comes down to a variety of different factors specific to your block and your own preferences. We can’t tell you what to choose for the best results and quality to price ratio. What we can tell you, however, is that no matter how you get there, creating your own dream home is absolutely worth the trouble.