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Should you remodel or build a new home?

How we help our custom home building clients choose

By Kim Hibbs

We often meet with clients who love their home and neighborhood but have outgrown their current space or have learned enough about energy efficient building to know they would benefit from an energy efficient renovation. A home renovation solution is never one-size fits all, and the goal of this first meeting or initial phone call is to ensure that you leave with solid information and a complete view of the possibilities for your home renovation project. Sometimes an addition or complete remodel is the answer, but another possibility for some homeowners is a complete tear-down and rebuild of their home on their current lot. We meet with people in all stages of the decision-making process to help them determine what is right for their home.

Starting with a real estate comp review

The first thing we explore is the comps in your neighborhood, and your current equity position. Co-owner Jan Hibbs is a certified Realtor and is equipped with the tools and experience to help determine how a renovation will impact your home’s value. When we build or renovate we have to ensure that the home will appraise for the neighborhood, and that the project will not be over-built and will not price our clients out of the neighborhood.

Reviewing the condition & value of their current home

Armed with the appropriate comps, we then look at the overall condition of the home. Everything starts with the foundation, so we check to make sure it is in good condition and there aren’t any issues that would prevent us from working with the house you have.

If the home and foundation are in good shape we look at the size and orientation of the lot. We want to see if we can easily add square footage, and if we can’t expand out we try to determine if we can go up. In the last year we have worked with a few clients who have had great bones on their house and have added 1/2 story additions to their home during complete, high-performance renovations. Both clients had considered a tear down and rebuild, or infill, project. But with a structurally sound home we determined it would be better to go as green as possible and reuse as much of the existing home as we could.

However, there are cases where a complete tear down and rebuild on the current lot is the best way to approach a project. If the home’s equity position makes sense, and a new home will comp out for the neighborhood, homeowners can build a completely new home on their current lot. In fact, we have two clients in Kirkwood and one in Olivette we are working with who will start demolition and infill projects on their existing lot before the end of the year.

Considering their lifestyle & future needs

Increasingly, we are seeing families building homes with the plan of having multigenerational family members residing in their primary residence. Simply put, we’re planning for mother-in-law quarters, handicapped access for elderly family members, and we’re creating private spaces for adult children. (Read our post “Eight design ideas for building a multigenerational home.”)

Do you have health concerns such as allergies or a chronic illness? We should consider the ways that your home make your coping with these issues better or worse, and build your custom home or plan your remodel accordingly.

We understand that a home can be the biggest investment a family makes in their lifetime, and we know that a comfortable home is invaluable. That is why we feel it is important to educate homeowners on their options and the financial impact of a building project. And because of our involvement in the local and national home building communities, we are also equipped to refer homeowners to smaller contractors if the project scope is smaller than we typically handle. We’d love to discuss your home renovation options with you, even if you are just trying to find out what is possible.

Give us a call at 314.581.8205 or drop us an email from our contact page if you have questions about the home building or renovation process.


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