Urbacity Ottawa Blog

At a crossroads: Is it time to renovate, rebuild or move?

Trying to decide whether to renovate, rebuild or move is not always an easy prospect.

Ever fantasize about how you’d redesign your home if you could? Maybe shifting around the layout in a renovation would do it. Or maybe you’d like to raze the current house and start from scratch. Or maybe the effort involved in renovating or rebuilding is just too much and it would be simpler to sell and move on.

Houses have lifecycles and need maintenance and work just like everything else. Knowing when to undertake a major renovation, rebuild or move on can be difficult and stressful. Your house is the largest purchase you will make in your lifetime and you want it to be a source of pride and peace of mind.

When to renovate

If you’re happy with the size of your home but can’t take the dated decor or impractical layout, renovation is the way to go.

The size and scale of the issues that need solving will determine your budget and duration of the renovation. Keep in mind that a large renovation can take six months or more and will usually require you to be out of the house for the duration.

Most people assume a renovation is more cost-effective than a rebuild, but this is not always the case. It depends on the size of the renovation, the age of the home, and any unforeseen issues that can come up. Once the walls are opened up, if we see issues with things like electrical, plumbing or structural supports, those need to be dealt with, even if they weren’t part of the original plan.

This is why it’s important to budget not only for your wants but also for your needs; there are always surprises in a renovation. A good contractor will be able to help minimize the surprises and, if all goes well, that extra you saved as a contingency fund can be put to upgraded finishes or furniture at the end of the project.

Need some guidance on options for financing your renovation? Canada Mortgage and Housing offers some ideas.

When to rebuild

Rebuilding may be the best move if the space is too small and several parts of your home are at the end of their life. A growing family in a neighborhood they love may make the decision to rebuild from the foundation up (or even start from scratch) to get the space they need while still staying in their neighbourhood.

If you already need a new roof, windows, kitchen and two more bedrooms, rebuilding will likely provide the best value for money. It’s important to take a step back, figure out what you will need now and in the future in your home and work with a designer to determine whether rebuilding is the best option for you and your budget.

It’s better to get all the details sorted out first before making a hasty decision. Here’s one homeowner’s tips after tearing down and rebuilding their home.

When to move

Sometimes the best option is just to find somewhere else to live. This is a very personal decision, but if you’re able to find exactly what you are looking for, in the neighbourhood you want to be in, for the right money, this may be the best option for you. And while moving may be disruptive, it’s certainly far less disruptive than a months-long renovation or rebuild.

Of course, given the current housing market in Ottawa, moving is easier said than done, depending on where you want to live.

Navigating these options can be exciting and fun — or stressful and heartbreaking if you don’t get what you want. Understanding what you want versus what you need is crucial and being realistic about what you can afford helps ensure your peace of mind throughout the process.

We are experts in both renovations and rebuilds. With us on your side, navigating the waters of home construction becomes exciting and fun instead of stressful and heartbreaking.