Is it Cheaper to Completely Remodel or Build New?

When considering a home transformation, one of the most pressing questions homeowners face is, "Is it cheaper to remodel or build new?" This decision can be particularly challenging in areas like the Cincinnati housing market, where both options present unique opportunities and challenges. Cheaper isn’t always better, and the cheapest option will likely depend on your circumstances. Legacy Builders Group, seasoned design-build remodelers, created this blog to dissect the pros and cons of renovation vs. new construction, helping you navigate this critical decision.

Home addition interior on first floor of Cincinnati, OH home with fireplace and TV above

Building a New House: Key Cost Considerations

  • Overall Expenses: Building a new house involves significant financial planning, encompassing costs for materials, labor, and land acquisition. 
  • Land Acquisition: Purchasing land is a primary cost factor. Prices vary greatly depending on location, size, and the local real estate market, especially in areas like Cincinnati.
  • Permitting and Fees: Acquiring the necessary building permits and paying associated fees add to the overall cost. These vary by location and the specifics of the building project.
  • Utility Connections: Setting up utilities such as electricity, water, gas, and sewer systems incurs costs, particularly if the land previously lacked these connections.
  • Landscaping and Exterior Work: Budget for landscaping, driveways, and external structures, as these elements are crucial for your new home.

Understanding the Expenses of Remodeling

Remodeling an existing home can be an appealing option, especially for those attached to their current location or their home’s character. 

  • Scope of Remodeling: The cost to gut and remodel a house can vary significantly based on the extent of the renovation. Are you looking to update a few rooms, or are you considering a whole-house transformation? A kitchen or bathroom remodel might offer a substantial return on investment (remodel ROI), but they are also among the more costly home improvements per square foot.
  • Hidden Costs: Older homes might reveal issues like electrical problems or plumbing needs once the walls are opened. It's always wise to have a contingency budget for these surprises.
  • Remodeling in Cincinnati: For residents in the Cincinnati area, understanding the local housing market is crucial. How much does a remodel increase home value in your specific neighborhood? Is the area experiencing a surge in property values that might justify a more significant investment in remodeling?
  • Sustainability: Remodeling can be an opportunity to make your home more energy-efficient, potentially saving money in the long run. Consider upgrades like insulation, windows, or more efficient heating and cooling systems.

First floor remodel in Cincinnati, OH with arched windows and modern brick fireplace

Weighing Time and Convenience

Apart from the costs, another crucial factor in the decision to remodel or build new is the consideration of time and convenience.

  • Renovation Timeline: Unlike new construction, a remodel might allow you to stay in your home during the project, depending on the scale of the renovation. However, living through a remodel can be disruptive and might not always be feasible, especially during major projects.
  • Project Duration: Generally, remodeling projects can be completed faster than new constructions, allowing you to enjoy your updated space sooner. 
  • Convenience Factor: Renovations can be scheduled in stages, minimizing disruption to your daily life. For example, you might choose to remodel one floor or room at a time, whereas building a new house requires a complete relocation until the construction is completed.

Environmental Impact

Comparing the environmental impacts of remodeling versus new construction is another critical aspect of the decision-making process for many Cincinnati homeowners.

  • Sustainability in Remodeling: Remodeling can be an opportunity to implement sustainable practices. Upgrades like improved insulation, energy-efficient windows, or eco-friendly materials contribute to a greener home.
  • Waste Generation: Remodeling typically generates less waste than new constructions. By refurbishing existing structures and materials, the environmental footprint is often reduced.
  • Energy Efficiency in New Construction: New homes can be built with the latest energy-efficient technologies and materials from the outset, potentially offering greater environmental benefits in the long run.

First-floor home addition with windows meeting at corner in Cincinnati, Ohio home remodel

Emotional and Personal Factors

Deciding whether to significantly remodel your current home or build a new one isn't just a financial decision; it's also deeply personal and emotional.

  • Attachment to Current Home: For many, their existing home holds sentimental value. Memories and emotional connections to the neighborhood and community can make remodeling an appealing choice.
  • Vision for Your Ideal Home: Building new provides a blank canvas to create a home precisely to your specifications. If your current lot or home's structure limits your vision, constructing a new one might be the way to go.
  • Lifestyle Needs: Consider how your lifestyle will be impacted by both choices. Remodeling might mean living in a construction zone for a while, whereas building new requires relocating.
  • Family Considerations: Think about how each option affects your family. Will remodeling accommodate growing needs, or is a new home better suited for future changes?

White custom cabinets in mudroom with seating bench below window in Cincinnati, OH home remodel

Choosing between remodeling your existing home or building a new one is a decision that weighs heavily on financial, practical, and emotional factors. In the Cincinnati housing market, where both options have unique advantages, it's essential to consider all angles. If you decide to renovate your current space to better fit your lifestyle, Legacy Builders Group is here to guide you through each step. Our team offers expertise, creativity, and a commitment to quality. We understand the nuances of both processes and can help bring your vision to life while ensuring the best value for your investment.

Ready to take the next step in your home journey in Cincinnati? Contact us to discuss your options and craft a space that truly feels like home.