If you're waffling whether 'tis better to work with what you've got or start fresh somewhere else, Bud Dietricht, IAI, architect's insight can help.
Do you stay where you are and renovate your existing house or do you move to another, maybe newer, house? How do you make that decision? Some will counsel you to leave that old house and buy something new. Others will tell you to tear it down and build new, while others still will tell you to stay and remodel.
So how do you make that go or no-go decision? What criteria do you use to make a rational decision to stay put and renovate or move on?
Here are some questions to ask yourself. Your answers will certainly help you decide on your next move.
How do you feel about your neighborhood?
Is it a place you enjoy? What about the neighbors? What about amenities? Are you happy your children go to the local schools?
In sum, make sure that the neighborhood is the right fit. Take to heart the old adage that you can always fix a house but you can't fix a neighborhood.
Is there some intangible quality to your house?
While not every house has a significance beyond simply providing shelter, many do. Whether it's age or design or some other quality, a home that has significance shouldn't be subjected to the wrecking ball. Expanding, renovating and adapting these homes are sure ways to keep that significance alive for future generations.
Does renovating make economic sense?
There are a whole host of factors to weigh when it comes to this question. If you're renovating, there's not only the cost of the renovations. There could very well be associated costs, such as temporary living quarters while the house is under construction.
Additional costs are also associated with moving (such as Realtor fees and decorating the new house).
Determining whether to go or stay requires that you identify all of the costs, not just the construction costs, before making a decision.
Does the existing house have good bones?
Not every house is a good candidate for a renovation. While there might be a reason to rebuild an old historic barn that's full of memories, a 20-year-old tract house with a failing foundation or another significant defect might not be a good candidate. So make sure to assess, or have a professional assess, the bones of your house to see just what lies beneath those foundation cracks and less-than-level floors.
How will the latest zoning restrictions affect the project?
If your house is older, it very well could have been built under different, often more lax, zoning restrictions.
While your house may suit you better through the benefits of these laxer restrictions, a new house in its place might not. Evaluate height, distance to property lines, yard dimensions and so on to see if saving the existing structure provides some benefits that would be lost if the house were razed.
Can I be patient and have fun with the project even when it isn't going well?
In any case, building a new custom home or renovating your existing house will require you to make countless decisions. From the macro, like how big and how much, to the micro, like what hardware you want on the kitchen cabinets, you'll spend countless hours on Houzz and elsewhere researching what you like and what's available. If you're new at this, you'll likely want to have a professional help you every step of the way, so you can avoid "We should have done ... " or "Why did we ...?"
Being patient is key. And starting at the right place for you — whether it's where you are or somewhere new — will make the end result truly worth the journey.