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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1

    Question Rehab or tear down?

    Who do you talk to, who doesn't have a vested interest in one decision or the other, about whether to tear down or rehab your house?

    I have a waterfront house with an excellent view of the Chesapeake Bay, so selling and buying something else is out of the question.

    The house was built in 1935, is 1100 sq ft, and in my mind, needs to be gutted, have two exterior concrete stairs replaced, the foundation sealed and have at least a few curved roof rafters replaced. If I build a new house I'm thinking of going a little bigger (maybe 1800 sq ft) by possibly going to two stories (a 50' wide lot precludes extending the first story). The only new part of the house is the furnace I had installed last year.

    Cost is definitely a concern because I'm planning to retire in about 5 years and don't want to dip too heavily into my stash. But I'm not into fancy appliances, fancy wood floors or status-symbol accessories anyway. Cheap, but functional is good enough. I can't do structural work, but I could do finishing work like tile and paint.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Rehab or tear down?

    your best bet is to talk to a reputable general contractor who does both complete renos and build new custom homes. have them price it up both ways. reason being the time it takes to tear down a house and build new can be much less than competely renovating it .

    the company i work for does this often when the drawings for what the homeowner wants is nowhere near what the existing is and creates too much work to make it economical. the most recent project we completed of this nature would have cost $100-$130,000 more to renovate it compared to building new.. so the homeowner opted to tear down and rebuild. also to build new it took us 15 weeks to complete as opposed to what could have been upwards of 5 months had it been a reno
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,615

    Default Re: Rehab or tear down?

    In addition, it's also a question of funding. If you are willing to spend the money for an 1800 sf new home, go for it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Rehab or tear down?

    I agree with Mr. Kirk.

    Generally speaking if you , the homeowner , say it needs a gut and because of the age you can expect the unexpectable to be found when doing a rehab. Then there's the might as well that comes into play. In many cases if you are investing a considerable amount of $$$ into a rehab you need to do it properly from the ground up. With all the unexpected or additional work can easily raise the costs close to what it would be for a tear down and build new.

    Unfortunately, there are times when restrictions for building new become a huge obstacle. Whereas the building that's there will be grandfathered and a rehab becomes a more practical solution unfortunately.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,631

    Default Re: Rehab or tear down?

    If you can find an appraiser that works for insurance companies, they should be able to help you determine the cost of remodeling versus rebuilding. They won't have a vested interest in selling you construction services or materials, but should have good insight into construction costs in your area. Some architects and home designers may also be able to help you figure costs.

    Expect to pay any of these professionals for their time and expertise.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Rehab or tear down?

    Hey Smitty,

    I'm sure you've seen the shows where they tear down and rebuild a home in a week and there are others (TOH) where months and months (or longer) are spent rehabbing. I'm defiantly a renovation guy, but I get the time/$$ implications (as well as Canuk's restriction/grandfather insights). In my eyes, having a renovated home built in 1935 would be better than having new. I'm just always prouder to show people my renovated homes than houses built recently. I've built new houses and renovated old ones and for me, renovating is more of a challenge, more of an adventure, and more fun.

    http://bloodsweatandpigsears.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    13

    Default Re: Rehab or tear down?

    Since your house is on the Bay, it's most likely in a critical area for development. We have a house on the Potomac, and there is a lot of red tape for permits. You may want to check out these restrictions first to see if rebuilding - especially adding on a story - is even a viable option.

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