“If you love your current neighborhood and like the bones of your existing home, then an addition or update to meet your current and future needs is a great idea,” says Bryan Edwards of Hughes-Edwards Builders. “Interest rates are historically low and financing can be more easily obtained for a remodeling project due to your home’s equity. We like to work with a client to determine what changes will have the greatest impact on a family’s happiness while being a financially good decision for the overall value and appreciation of the home.”
Edwards adds, “There are a lot of great affordable, cosmetic changes that give you great impact for your money such as refacing cabinets, new counters, updating bathrooms. and new appliances.” Adding a screen porch is like “adding an entire room to your home with milder Tennessee climate conditions,” he says. “The options are creative and endless, but when making remodeling priorities you should choose the space in which you spend the most time.”
With interest rates under 4 percent, many folks are also considering the opportunity to build a custom home. Edwards say. “If a home owner needs to drastically change their floor plan or add significant square footage, it may be more advantageous and cost-effective to build a home. If a home owner wants higher ceilings and significant wall changes, this can cause a chain-reaction in building costs—it may be smarter for this family to build.”
“People build for square feet and remodel for quality,” says Neal Luther of RSU Contractors. “Generally, remodeling is more expensive per square foot than building. However, when you compare the cost of remodeling a kitchen and bathroom versus building a new house, remodeling seems like the smarter choice.”
Luther adds, “Most people make home improvements before putting their house on the market. Moving isn’t as simple as packing your things and moving to a new home. There are many factors that cost money before your house is ready to sell. And while new homes are built with energy efficient feature, remodeling is ‘green’ by nature as items are improved and often recycled.”
Alan Looney of Castle Homes suggests that low interest rates are creating a window of opportunity motivating more people to begin home construction projects. “In order to make it a positive experience for everyone—making the build or remodel determination—Castle Homes’ staff researches all project elements to determine the best plan of action, reviewing a family’s short and long-term goals and evaluating if the project they have in mind will accomplish their goals.”
“By carefully budgeting the project we can provide the client with guaranteed pricing – a crucial element,” says Looney. “Budgets drive everything which is why we are meticulous in our pricing process. In Forest Hills, we have currently gutted an existing home and by saving the footings, foundation, exterior frame walls, brick, and subfloor have saved the client over $75,000.”
“One of the most important things to consider when debating a remodel is to think about where you’ll live during construction. Can you move out? Or are you okay living in chaos?” says Maggie McClure of Beth Haley Design. “Will you be able to recoup the money spent on a remodel when you sell your home?”
When deciding between a remodel and new construction, look at your existing space and “see if you can make it functional,” says McClure. “Do you need to start from scratch? Will a remodel meet all the attributes of a home you desire?”
McClure points out that building from the ground up can be more expensive—“but remember there are almost always unforeseen costs that arise when tackling a remodel. Most of our clients use the equity in their homes to complete a remodel project, so the total investment in the home is less than brand new construction.”
According to Jennifer Markanich of Timeless Interiors, LLC, remodeling allows a homeowner to customize their home to meet their needs probably for considerably less than the cost of having a new house designed and built. “I work closely with clients to help them determine whether a remodel is the best choice, or if a move or new build would be most beneficial. The majority of remodeling projects are redesigns of kitchens and bathrooms. These are the the renovations that yield the greatest benefit in terms of livability and return on investment,” she says.
How big a home or addition do you want? That’s where Amanda Sweeney-Davis suggests the conversation about build versus remodel begin. “Also consider your budget, and have an eye on aging in place as you plan a remodel or new construction,” she says. “Generally, you can buy more for your money when it is an existing structure.”
Remodeling one or two areas in a home is generally a cost effective solution, according to Anna Aycock of Designing Healthy Interiors (DesiNou). “Gutting an entire house, however, can be more expensive than building new,” she says.
Lauri Marks of BetterLiving Sunrooms says sunrooms are often an affordable way to add space that can become a family’s favorite place to spend time together.
“The best bang for your buck is still kitchens, baths, and family room additions,” says Katie Karrle of AB Home Interiors. “Look into the options available because a small addition can completely change the look and feel of a home—and for a lot less than building a new one.”
One suggestion for remodeling space comes from Susan Phillips of Modern Iron Concepts, Inc., who says, “Those with a traditional exterior but who like a contemporary look can gain that by adding modern stair railings. It’s amazing the difference this makes in a home interior.”
And finally, before you reach a decision, “Don’t forget the cost of the move when comparing costs. If you love your home/neighborhood, ask yourself if you can fulfill your needs with a remodel,” says Bohnne Jones of the Decorating Den.
There are a number of sources to help with the build/remodel decision including:
AB Home Interiors
Beth Haley Design
David Patton Construction
Just Design This
Modern Iron Concepts