Saturday, August 28, 2010

Real Estate: Build Or Remodel?

     On July 26th, I started a label on buying real estate where I talked about where to look. Now I want to continue with that label and consider the pros and cons of building from scratch or remodeling. My wife and I have always looked for properties to remodel so this will be slanted in that direction. 

     The biggest advantage to remodeling is that you have a place to live right off the bat. Of course this means that we find something that is not only livable but comfortable while we are working on the place. This is something to think about in the search process. And while we are looking at properties we try to imagine a plan of remodeling that will not be to invasive to the space we live in. Is there a way to separate sections of the house so we can live in half and remodel half at a time? The main thing is to be able to keep dust out of the part we live in. 

    Another approach might be to have a plan to have an addition built that will supply the needs for the house. This is particularly helpful if you need another bathroom or kitchen for it allows you to use the existing one while working on the new section.

     Building is by nature a very invasive process so it is important to maintain as much comfort as possible while the work goes on. Plan this out while you are looking at property. Don't back yourself into a corner after you are committed to the property that could affect your mental or physical health. This could make the difference between a successful project and a disaster, either for yourself or your relationship with your partner.

     Another advantage to not building from scratch is that we don't tear up raw land that is still in it's pristine state. Recycling what is already there is much better for the environment and saves land that may have a higher value for agriculture, forests or just as open space. There is land that has already been altered by mining, industry or whatever that may be buildable. This may even help to rehabilitate that land. Otherwise, recycle and add value to existing property by making it a more environmentally friendly. This means add passive and/or active solar, insulate, and update, among other projects.

     We meet a lot of people who dream of buying inexpensive property in the middle of no where and  building their perfect home. This plan can often times go down in flames after they have ruined a beautiful piece of property. They don't allow enough money or time to build and the remoteness means their vehicle is constantly broken down by the rugged roads, not to mention the erosion caused by those roads.

     Stuck in mud with a stripped out clutch is no fun. When they run out of money they have to move to town to get a job, leaving a half finished job that they may never get back to. And then if there are kids involved how will they get around to school, activities, or friends? Know your strengths and weaknesses. I would not mention this if I haven't seen it all happen.

     Living in a town or city that is the appropriate size for our individual needs is the most environmentally friendly way to live because it should cut our transportation costs and save time and energy. I hope this helps some. Next time I get back to this topic I will cover on line real estate sites.