Why Building A New Home Is Better Than Fixing Up An Older Home

Love Your Location But Not Your Home?

You live in a great location, good school for your children, your favourite shops and you are right around the corner from all your friends and family.  But your current home is just not meeting your needs or aspirations anymore.

The thought of selling and buying a new home in a completely different location is just not up for debate and carries its own set of associated costs. What are your options?

You are faced with choosing between renovating your current home or doing a knockdown / rebuild. You are not alone, this is an increasingly common choice facing Melbourne homeowners. To help you figure out which would be the best option for you, we have put together some of the factors you need to consider.


Renovating is often seen as the cheaper and easier option. It is, for smaller projects. If all you need to do is upgrade the kitchen, remove a wall or two to create an open living area and replace floor coverings then the total project cost will be a lot less than building from scratch.

However, the reality is that renovating costs more per square metre than building new. This means that for extensive renovations, aimed at creating your dream vision of how you want to live, the cost equation might not be so clear cut.

For a start, with extensive renovation projects a major cost is demolition, repair and refurbishment. A renovation demolition takes careful disassembly and manual demolition which takes longer and incurs a greater cost. In addition, every wall, cupboard and door that is retained requires repair and refurbishment to bring it up to a modern standard. Ask yourself why would you want to use a large portion of your budget removing and repairing items than custom building them?

Another cost factor to consider with renovation is the reality of unforeseen costs and delays. Some renovation costs just can’t be identified or anticipated before work begins. Footings that need reinforcement or underpinned; rewiring or replumbing of the older parts of the house or flooring that need to be completely replaced all add extra cost and time to the project.

Lastly and importantly, a renovation means you will need to compromise the design of your home. The ideal design you have in your mind must be changed and modified to fit in with the existing structure. Some key feature that you may want and could achieve with a new build may just not be possible with a renovation.


One of the obvious benefits of a knock down/rebuild is being able to stay where you are, but in a beautiful new home with all the modern design and features you would want.  Your design does not need to be compromised, all the layout and features that you dream about in a new home can be achieved.

With a knockdown/rebuild demolition is relatively quick and easy and occurs as one operation after which construction of your new home can commence. Construction will proceed quicker because the builder doesn’t have to work around the existing, sometimes complicated, frame and roof of the existing house.

On the cost side, the total cost a new build may be more than a renovation, but in the long term it will be better value. Not only do you get a house with modern design features but the resale value will be much higher. Your potential buyers do not have to worry about whether the renovation was done properly or worry about the age and condition of the parts of the house that weren’t worked on. They also won’t be put off by the design compromises you made to fit your vision around the old house.

Finally, with a knock down/rebuild you will know the costs of your project up front. Estimating the cost, a new build and sticking to the budget is a lot easier than estimating a budget for a renovation and then dealing with all the surprises and unforeseen costs.

Weigh Up the Costs

Land is becoming extremely scarce in popular suburbs and knocking down and rebuilding your home, or doing a complete renovation are becoming a standard project in home building.

So, which is for you? Ultimately the best way to decide on whether to renovate or do a knockdown/rebuild is all determining what you want to achieve, the associated short and long term costs of each option. At first glance renovating may seem like the easier option, but when you take into account design flexibility, cost, resale value and risk factors, doing a knockdown/rebuild may be the better option.

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