Building versus Renovating: Which One Is Cheaper, Faster, and Sleeker?

couple renovating

To renovate, or not to renovate — that is the question. Homes these days are getting smaller than ever, but the need for multifunctional living is getting bigger. The realtor market is booming, thanks to high demand and low supply. Meanwhile, there are those left with two choices: to renovate an existing home or build a new one.

Deciding whether to renovate or build has a big impact on your project’s schedule, budget, and the resulting structure. Both options have their own advantages and drawbacks, so it’s important to think things through. Some may consider building a custom home to make their dream house a reality, while others may think of renovating for the sake of giving their home some TLC.

The right option depends on different factors, from the price, project duration, and design. If you’re still deliberating whether to renovate or build anew, it’s important to compare the advantages and difficulties of each option. That said, we’re here to help you decide if rebuilding or renovating will suit your current needs.


Cost is a critical factor whether you’re renovating a home or building a new one. Everybody wants to get the most of their budget to obtain quality materials and preferred design. While we all want to give the best things for our homes, our financial status can greatly affect our decision and the action to take.

Obviously, building a new foundation on fresh land is the most expensive option. Starting on a clean slate means doing the entire site work, from the structure, foundation, utility installations, and exterior finishes. Since it involves more complex work, you’ll likely spend more on buying new materials and hiring construction experts and labor.

Some assume renovating an existing space is generally cheaper than starting all over. But there are situations where a renovation ends up being more expensive. But it still makes a cheaper option if you’re just planning to add a few changes to the existing building.

When renovating an existing space, you also have to upgrade the house according to health, safety, and building codes. You can add a few features to the building and leave out a few things depending on the extent of the renovation. These techniques will drive the cost lower than building new.

When renovating an older building, there’s a bigger chance you’ll spend more. Old buildings require the remediation of outdated building materials, so it’s more costly to renovate. Renovations also pave the way for unexpected situations. You may encounter a few surprises as the construction progresses, which can potentially add up to the project costs.

construction workers using laptop

Project Duration

The duration of a project lies in the project scope, the existing building’s condition, and construction activities. As expected, the duration of building a new home is far greater than renovation because of the extent of work a team needs to execute. With a new house, you have to carve out the area and foundation and lay all utility requirements. Basically, you have to start everything from scratch and build all the required elements.

But if you’re in a hurry or have a limited timeline, renovation is certainly the quickest option. Since all the required building aspects are already in place, from the structure, foundation, and layout, all you have to do is integrate some personal touches. On the other hand, renovations will take longer if you’re dealing with an old building. It’s like building a new home since you have to replace old building materials in adherence to safety codes.

The duration of construction lies in the type of building operations. Generally, renovating an existing home is quicker than building from the ground up. But some renovations may require multi-phased schedules that can lengthen operations and cause disruptions.


When we talk about the functionality and attractiveness of the design, building a new home obviously takes the crown. Nothing feels better if you have full control over the function and aesthetics of the building, from the size, layout, design, and energy efficiency.

Meanwhile, renovations have limitations in terms of scope, aesthetics, and design. Although you can tear some walls, add a few touches, and tailor the building for your needs, it won’t be easy to achieve the desired look because of the limitations set by the existing structure.

Now you know about the advantages and drawbacks of building or renovating a home, it’s time to decide which approach matches your lifestyle. Your budget, situation, and needs will help you make the final decision. Whatever option you wind up with, we hope we help you decide and get started on your dream home.


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