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Renovate or Rebuild… that is the question

4 months ago

Hello everyon…..first post here......looking for some advice

Entering into the fray of either renovating or knocking down and rebuilding a house in the covid / post covid age (late 2023 or start of 2024).

I have listened to most of the UA podcasts and read many articles on the subject… none ever seem to include existing build quality when hey weigh up ”renovate or detonate” as the UA would say… so onward in my question….

The house we have is on Sydney's upper north shore on 1030m2 land size. The current house floor space is ~230m2, single story, orientation is easterly, double brick build, built on foundations (not a slab). Build circa 1965. The condition of the stuff that matters ie; foundations, brick work, floor joists is excellent from a visual inspection - no signs of brick work cracking, efflorescence on bricks and it has those wonderful never to be seen again hardwood floor joists (you builders out there know what I am talking about - great color, dense grain and straight as a tack), interior walls all brick. The roof tiles are nearing their useful lifespan, but the framework is all hardwood.

The position we are in at the minute is the place needs a refresh to better suit our needs. So do we either renovate to suit our needs or do we knock it down and start all over again.

Now building prices seem to have got a bit out of hand and I am strongly against knocking down and building a garbage volume builder cheap quality house - I have spoken to Meadowbank who whilst aren't "volume builders"....I would still say fit the mold of a builder who uses same same techniques and design ethos to build all of their houses (its not hard to see all their designs are cut from the same flavor....I guess done by the same design team)..... the problem is their builds Start at 1.6million I am told for a knockdown rebuild (I called them and had a brief discussion, so its not chinese whispers research)

On the flip side to renovate the property - add a few extra rooms and change the layout a bit on the ground level, add a second floor for family sleeping quarters and general modernizing (re-wire, re-plumb, aesthetics, kitchen and bathroom) to end up with a final floor area of between 300 - 350m2. Would feel like a huge shame to knockdown such a solid house, when it could be renovated into something just as nice, if not nicer and better built than a modern new build.

Of course the house needs to "fit the area" which is why a generic volume builder would not be suitable (Metricon, et al), it has to be a quality build by the likes of Meadowbank or Homestead using their inhouse design team (at a huge expense that I feel we cannot afford)..........or to renovate and use our own architect and builder to achieve a similar result but for less. Our budget is $1m comfortably (upper end stretch is $1.2m).

Which do the forum members believe is the best route......we are heavily leaning into renovating using an architect and a builder who we are very familiar with - i.e. we can trust who won't throw on the "north shore tax" (built and renovated other family members houses on the northern beaches and north shore)

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