Remodel It or Tear It Down?

When you buy an older home and it's not 'move-in ready', what are your options? 

1)  Live with it, update rooms one by one and suffer through years of dust and inconvenience

2)  Hire a general contractor and architect and do a full remodel

3)  Tear it down and build something new from the ground up

It may surprise you to learn that Austin is seeing an uptick in remodeling of Single Family homes. There just aren't many unimproved lots available in the city, so when people buy in a close-in neighborhood there is usually a home already on the lot.  If they want a brand new home, they'll have to tear down the existing structure and start from scratch.

What if You Can't Tear it Down?

Why can't you tear it down and start from scratch?  Did you know that city codes that applied to the structure when it was built have probably changed?  And that if you tear down the house, you tear down the codes that applied to it, and you are now subject to the CURRENT city codes?

That can mean you now have to adhere to 21st century impervious cover rules, setback rules, tree ordinances, and height restrictions that might not have applied to the existing home.  A home on a corner lot with only 60 feet of street frontage now has a 25 foot easement attached to it....on two sides. That .10 acre is far less buildable when you can't build within 25 feet of the corner, plus you have setbacks on the back side. That leaves only a skinny sliver of your lot left to build on.

But if you REMODEL the existing home, the existing code restrictions stay with your remodeled structure. The setbacks are grandfathered in.

That's why the home pictured above is just a skeleton. If we scraped it to the dirt and started over, we would have to start the new structure several feet back and to the left in order to adhere to current city code.  Keeping the home and remodeling the shell maintains the old rules for this East Austin project. 

Whole House Remodel of an Existing Home

While it might be easier to scrape it down and start from scratch, lots of times you can't because you can't rebuild within today's restrictions. Call a General Contractor, call Camelot -- we can help you decide if the home and lot you're buying has premium remodel potential. We are experts at telling you what you can or can't do with an existing structure, and give you a ballpark on what it will cost.