Renovating vs building from scratch: Understand the cost implications before you start

By AmeliorateSEO 12 August 2021 | 1 minute read

Promoted by AmeliorateSEO

The age-old question - should you renovate your current house or a fixer-upper or build a new home altogether from the ground up? Not only has it haunted many, but it has caused stress emanating from budgets, schedules, the project duration and quality of the work. As a result, it has led to lots of people making decisions that they end up regretting.  

One might think that renovating is cheaper and faster to get your dream home, but it’s not, as we have discovered. It is just as draining and sometimes more costly than building from scratch. By comparing the costs and time it will take to either build or renovate,you will get a clearer picture before making a decision. Also, working through the pros and cons of both projects according to your lifestyle helps. 

After deciding which route to take, you will also need to think of your interior decor. Take a look at the latest offers from Spotlight for inspiration and guidance on costs. At least when you have a complete picture like this, making the decision will not be as much of a headache.  

Let’s look at the pros and cons of renovating and building from scratch, together with cost implications to get you the house of your dreams.


Image by Nolan Issac on unsplash


It is not entirely true that renovating is cheaper. Many factors will influence the cost of your project, with the most crucial being how dated the building you want to work on is. If it dates to a couple of decades, it means your renovations might have to be more extensive and hence, more costly. 

In addition, repurposing your structure may mean that you are changing the design to fit your needs. This means that you may need to knock down a couple of walls, make some extensions, change the shape of this into that; all of this comes at a cost.

Moreover, renovating a previously owned building might come with some unpleasant surprises. If you bought a run-down house in the hope of fixing it up to your taste, you are possibly unsure of mistakes or shortcuts that the previous owners of the building took. This means your construction team will never be sure of what to expect, and you may incur unforseen costs after you’ve started your project. 

However, with renovating, some parts of the structure can be left untouched because you already have a frame to work with, especially if you are working with a home you’ve already been living in. It’s highly likely that you just want to add a few rooms, or to take down some walls in order to create more space.  It’s easier for you to start your project, and even better, you will know what you want to change and leave untouched. This cuts some of the costs and time. 


When you are renovating an old house, one thing that is for sure is you are making a lifelong investment. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are acquiring and building something strong that won’t need more fixing any time soon. Plumbing and electrical might need some updates but no need to fret about the structure itself if you have a strong foundation and frame to work with. 

In addition, renovating an old home can help to give it modern character. There will likely be old woodwork, intricate details in the mouldings and quirky light fixtures and hardware. With renovating, you can give your home that unique look added by the antiques from the old house. It might help to give your home some sentiment as you give the house your personal touch.  


Buildings with older materials such as lead and asbestos can have an adverse impact on your health. To avoid any mishaps, the toxic materials need to be professionally removed and disposed of, which can be pretty costly.

Photo by R ARCHITECTURE on Unsplash

Building from scratch 

Building from scratch can be stressful due to the project’s costs, from the time the project will take to materials needed to the amount of workforce, all of which translates to dollar bills. All this effort cannot be undersold, but you can be assured of the best reward you could ever get at the end of your project. 


When you are building your own, you are making yourself a custom home, putting your signature on your project by conveying ideas to your architect. This gives you the most satisfying feeling as you have accomplished something of great sentiment.  

In a greenfield, there is no element of surprise from unknowns in the walls and foundations. Everything is from the drawing board to the structure. This makes it easier to schedule and budget for your work. 


The most stressful part of building from the ground is the time it takes to complete the project. It just feels like forever having to be patient and wait for something that you’ve put so much time into, something you’ve invested so much money into.

Photo by Jacques Bopp on Unsplash

At the end of the day, money talks. Be sure to do some due diligence if buying a fixer-upper - get all the professional help you can to determine how much it will cost you. If you are starting from zero, leave no stone unturned as you do your research on where to get materials that will reduce your costs. Cheers to your new home!



Renovating vs building from scratch: Understand the cost implications before you start
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