Is it better to build a house from scratch or renovate an existing property?


6 July, 2023


You’ve made a decision that will shape the rest of your lives: you’re going to buy a home. The next decision is almost as important as the first: will you build it from scratch or renovate an existing building?

Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to both options, but one important variable to consider is cost. It is more expensive to build from scratch or renovate?

Here are a few ideas to help you answer these two questions.

If you’re going to carry out a full renovation, it’s more cost-effective to build a house from scratch. This will allow you to tailor it to your tastes and participate in the design process alongside a team of architects. Of course, you’ll need planning permission and if you’ve purchased land already you’ll need to check that it can be built on, measure the slope, conduct geotechnical investigations and set up your electricity and water connections. You can leave this process in our hands with total peace of mind.

It’s important to bear in mind that building a house from scratch takes time. This is a common point of friction in many projects because there are so many professionals and suppliers involved in building a house that it’s easy for the process to overrun. To make up for possible delays, just think that in a new build you’ll be able to select the materials, decide how energy efficient you want it to be and choose every last detail of your home.

If you’re considering buying a property to renovate, here’s what you need to know.

By keeping the existing structure – if it’s a listed building, you won’t have a choice – you’ll save money and you won’t be as limited as you might think because in most cases the layout can be completely remodelled. When it comes to the cost of renovating, bear in mind that it all depends on the materials used and the quality of the construction and finishes.

One of the disadvantages of renovating rather than building is that structural issues can emerge during a renovation that require more time to repair and increase the initial estimated cost, although this is not inevitable. Another disadvantage is that you can be constrained by older elements in the property. In some projects, however, that can be a real advantage. Take our renovation on Calle Pedro III, for example, where dialogue between old and new materials creates a unique result.

So, are you going to build or renovate? If you’re still undecided, our team of architects can help you make the best decision so that, whatever you choose, you feel that every square metre of your new home is right for you.

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