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New Construction or Remodel? A Look at Your Options

The question of whether to remodel or build a new home probably has been discussed in the quiet of the family tent for as long as workers have built homes. Do you move your tent to greener pastures or stay put, add to or change your tent? Let’s explore the thoughts and steps to consider both in order to help guide your thoughts.

First let’s look at staying put. Your neighborhood generally has a value range in which homes sell. A member of the Houston Association of REALTORS® can help you determine a fair sale price for your home under existing market conditions. For example, if your neighborhood is in the $200,000 average range and you have a home near the upper end, money spent to remodel your home will likely not be recovered at closing. Admittedly, you may be planning on staying many years and the added expenses could be recovered in time. Should you have a $150,000 home in the same neighborhood, added value would generally be a safer move. As far as costs are concerned, the quality that remodeling adds to your lifestyle has an intrinsic value that only you as a consumer can evaluate. In short, if you have the money, want the improvement and aren’t worried about recovering your investment, then press on.

In addition, evaluate the extra size you need. Consider the needs you have and the possibility of those needs being satisfied on the lot you presently own. Often the restrictions attached to your lot relating to front, side and rear limit the amount of change possible in the footprint of your home. Though you might be able to afford the improvement and it make economic sense in your neighborhood, the lot restrictions might not allow the change. Again, if factors are in your favor, press on.

Lastly, I would consider your location in relation to work, neighbors, shopping, medical access and schools. If you love your location but “hate your house,” as many have said to me about an old home that does not meet their needs, then move forward with the remodel if the other considerations are in your favor.

Now what do you do? Contact a REALTOR® to get a comparative market analysis on your home. At the same time, work with the REALTOR® to view new homes in the area in which you what to live. With the information you gather, you will be better equipped to decide in which direction to proceed. If it is remodeling, contract with an architect or designer of your choice and select a builder to work on your team. The owner, architect and builder working as a team will make the project more understandable with generally less stress than without the team.

If the decision is new custom construction from the start, you would want to work with your REALTOR® to locate the lot, introduce you to the builders and begin thinking about the style of home you desire. Once a builder and lot are located, you would want to seek the services of the architect or designer to work on the team to bring your dreams to reality. If the home were under construction, the steps would be obvious and explained by the builder.

John St. John, President, JSJ Inc. /John R. St. John Construction, Inc. Past Director of GHBA, Member of the Custom Builder’s Council and Codes and Standards Committee for GHBA

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