Remodel or Tear Down? How to Decide

Does your home need some TLC? Sometimes the best tender loving care is not refinishing original wood floors because your foundation is crumbling, for example. In that case, the best TLC is actually a wrecking ball. On the other hand, teardowns can be expensive and disruptive to the normal flow of family life, so maybe achieving your dream home could be accomplished by remodeling in stages that aren’t so disruptive to everyday living.

There are many technical and financial factors to consider in this major decision, so while every home is unique and every homeowner’s situation is different, here are some decision-making steps that can steer you in the right direction:


• Have an experienced contractor examine your home’s “bones”.
While every home can be remodeled, not all should be. If the foundation is in bad shape and cannot be repaired, no amount of new flooring, paint, or cabinetry will take away a sagging foundation. But if an expert tells you that the structure is sound, then a remodel can be a good option.

• Consider your long-term goals.
If you plan to be in the home for a long time, an investment into tearing down and rebuilding will reset the clock. A new home with the latest in heating / cooling, energy efficiencies, and smart technologies will be more attractive when it’s time to sell later. However, tear downs are generally more expensive, so if you plan to sell soon, a smaller-scale remodel is wiser.

• Be realistic about what you can afford.
If money is tight, remodeling is a better choice because it can be accomplished in smaller projects as you can afford them rather than all at once. Once the demolition crew starts on a rebuild, there’s no stopping, so you will need to pay for all of it at once.

• Most importantly, define exactly what you want to accomplish.
Often, homeowners have a long punch list of remodeling projects that they want done to make them satisfied. If the cost of those projects adds up to more than what a teardown and rebuild would be, it doesn’t make sense to remodel. But if remodeling can create your dream home for less, then that is the obvious choice.


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