It’s an age-old question: should you build a new custom home or remodel the one you already have? It may come as a surprise that on a cost-per-square-foot basis, remodeling a used home is usually more expensive than purchasing a new home. But deciding upon new home options should not be solely based on the question of construction costs. Here are some factors to consider when looking into new home options:

Considerations for New Home Options

Needs Change

New home options between choosing remodeling or building new is not a clear-cut one. Every family’s situation is different. Over time, your home may no longer work for your family’s lifestyle or needs. You may require more or less space, and the floor plans and appliances may become outdated. Families grow and adapt, expanding with the birth of children, or shrinking as those children grow up and move into homes of their own. Maybe you just want a change of pace, or you want to incorporate future needs. Whatever the reason, at some point you may look around and ask yourself, “Should we remodel or build the home we really need and want?”

Proud parents showing family painting of son sitting on sofa at home. Smiling mother and father with children?. Black boy with his family at home showing a painting of a happy multiethnic family.
Happy young family renovating and decorating their home the boy is picking colors swatches with his mother and his father is painting on the background

Evaluate Motivations

A good first course of action is to evaluate your reasons for making a change. Once you acknowledge the motivation behind your desire for change, you are in a better position to select whether a remodel or new construction is in your future. Do you:


  • Think your home is old and just needs too much work?
  • Think you’d like to live in a more desirable neighborhood?
  • Think a smaller or larger yard will better suit your present needs?
  • Want to go from a two-story house to one-level living, or vice versa?
  • Want to be nearer to (or further from) family?

Questions like these are a great jumping off point, as they help reveal all the choices you may not have known you have.

Discover What’s Possible

Now’s the time for information gathering. Besides the wealth of written material available online, it’s a good idea to seek out the professional opinion of a design-build firm or contractor. They are your perfect source for finding out what you can or cannot change about your current home, as well as the logistics of building a new one. Talk to a local realtor, too, about what your home is currently worth and what impact a remodel might have.

Family couple meeting with female real estate agent to choose property for buying or renting, considering mortgage loan, young man and woman want to buy own house, rear view at realtor
beautiful young girl showing house model thinking remodeling planning at home with computer.

Weigh the Costs

There are two types of costs associated with building and remodeling: obvious and hidden ones. Obvious costs are things like materials, fixtures, and labor. Our design-build process walks you through all the steps involved in both building a new custom home or remodeling your existing home.  Hidden costs are often overlooked, but are very real just the same. For remodeling, they include:

  • Change orders
  • The cost of structural changes or repair of unseen problems
  • Interior design, furniture, and furnishings
  • The costs associated with temporary housing, dining out or ordering take-out

These hidden costs may seem insignificant when considered on their own, but they can quickly add up.

It’s also important to consider your return on investment, which depends on several factors. The value of homes in your neighborhood, the current housing market, and the inherent quality of the project itself should all be taken into account. A great source for this information is Remodeling Magazine’s online cost vs. value report. Since there’s simply no way to put a dollar figure on the long-term value you’ll receive from a new home or a remodel, think about how these home options will benefit your family the most.

Make a Decision

The choice between a custom build or home remodel is a major decision that is based on factors specific to your family’s needs. Intangibles like how attached you are to your current home, neighborhood, and local amenities should all be considered. Financial options need to be explored and it’s a good idea to get cost estimates for both a remodel and new construction.

There’s no right or wrong answer that applies to every homeowner. By evaluating the above factors, though, you can confidently make a decision that is best for your family’s needs. Our design-build process begins with a consultation that can help you make the remodeling vs. custom build decision an easier one. No matter what you decide, we believe the design-build approach is the smart choice, and we’d love to meet you and discuss your new home options.

Young couple are talking to real estate agent.

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