Live + Work is a residential design concept that combines residential living with a dedicated work area for people and businesses working from home. Thanks to broadband and the shift towards working remotely, you can now take full control of your lifestyle by living in a space designed for the new way of working.

Is it better to Renovate or Build a New House?

Jul 26, 2020

Have you ever wondered if it’s cheaper to renovate an existing property or upgrade to a house that has everything you need?

In this article, we will investigate the pros and cons of renovations versus a new purchase – taking into account more things than just finances.

Live and Work Case Study

Over the years we have been approached by many clients who wish to upgrade their property. The most recent example entailed a visit to a client who owned a house in Centurion.

He wanted to add a second floor with a bedroom and services to an existing ground floor house. The original house has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms at the back of the stand while the living areas and 2 garages are at the front.

The house had a double pitched roof and was built with traditional face brick, like a typical ’80s house on the outskirts of the city. The house was well built and in very good condition. The idea was to change the layout on the ground floor, convert one of the bedrooms to an office, expand the living areas, leave the third bedroom for guests, and move the main bedroom suite to the proposed new addition upstairs.

The client was facing a change in his working conditions and he expected that he would be working from home for the next 12 months at least.

The current living space, which was composed of an open plan kitchen, dining room, and lounge, did not offer the functional conditions he needed for his office work. The family shared the living and dining areas and he found it too noisy and disruptive. He often ended up working from his bedroom, or, if the weather allowed, from the patio next to the braai area. In the winter months, working outdoors was a less appealing option.

Architecturally it was possible to add the second level because the house looked to be in good condition with no visible cracks; it seemed structurally sound. However, to do the changes, we would have to demolish the roof of a large section of the house, exposing the rooms on the ground floor. The family would have to move out for the duration of the construction period.

Although the investment cost worked out feasible, was it worth the effort?

We decided to explore the option of selling the current house and buying a property that complies with the current needs of the client.

We estimated the cost of the upgrade at R400 000.
The house was valued at R1 600 000.
Add to this the cost (and inconvenience) of moving back and forth and renting a place for a few months.
Would it be possible to find an alternative property with the required rooms and attributes for 2 million rands?

The proposed service was to research the market for an alternative, do minimal upgrades to the new house, and sell the current property to cover a large portion of the new loan. The money spent remains the same but the family does not have to go through the temporary relocation and the stress of construction.

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