Build New or Renovate; A Common Houston Home Dilemma

11:22 Oct 2023
Houston Build New or Renovate

If you are experiencing a growing family and have been in your older house for many years, you likely are or have pondered the ultimate question; build new or renovate.

When it comes time to upgrade your lifestyle and with it your house, there are principally two main construction choices – build new or renovate your existing house.

Choosing one over the other would depend on a host of factors such as your financial goals, future plans, the condition of your existing house, your current location, and resale value, among others.

Deciding between custom home building a house or home renovation shall make a huge impact on your budget, schedule, and the structure of your existing house.

The decision is not easy to make, for if you think of renovating your house, you may find the changes and cost not may not be feasible to fit your situation.

On the other hand, if you want to proceed with custom home construction, you may find your existing home to be nearer to your dream with just the appropriate changes to match your lifestyle.

In case you find the decision to be more difficult than you expected, you may consult a construction professional who has the experience in luxury home design, custom home construction as well as renovating existing houses.

Let us take you through the pros and cons of evaluating to build new or renovate. Additionally, you may read our blog on the top tips for home remodeling and new home construction.  

Learn what to evaluate when deciding if either build new or renovate in Houston

Houston Build New or Renovate

Defining Build New or Renovate 

Let us first understand the two terms before getting into their respective advantages of disadvantages of deciding to build new or renovate.

Home renovation is about making major changes to your existing house by adding architectural features or amenities and transforming it into a dream home where you can live for many more years.

It is also about updating the structure consistent with the existing surroundings, changes in your family (addition of a new member(s)) or status.

With house renovation Houston, you can get rid of the ‘old’ vibe of your property and make it almost ‘new’. Build new construction, on the other hand, includes luxury home design and custom home construction from the ground up.

Here, everything is newly built and you can customize it to suit your taste, style, and requirement.

Which option is more cost-effective?

Cost plays arguably the most important role in any construction project. To get the best value for your money, the decision between to build new or renovate your existing house.

Making the choose between to renovate a home or building a home will usually be based on the one that makes more financial sense.

Cost for new construction:

It may appear at the outset that buying a fresh plot of land and erecting a structure on it is the more costly option and, in most cases, new house construction will be about 15% – 20% more.

To build new it begins with selecting a home plan and a building site.

You need to prepare the building site, construct the building including the foundation and frame structure, select all the finishes and attend to the details that custom building come with.

Since custom home building can be more complex, requires experience to comply with the building codes, permitting, compliance inspections, or to hire a competent professional to do this for you.

The factors that will affect new house construction cost are irregular shape architectural plans and the selection of finished products you choose for your house.

However, there can be instances where a major Houston home renovation project can turn out to be more expensive.

Cost for renovation:

When it comes to renovating your existing property, you will have to bear the cost of changing the structure as per your needs. Also, you will be responsible for upgrading your property to meet the current local building codes.

You may keep a few features in the existing building intact provided they meet the criteria of functionality, usability, robustness, and durability.

These can keep the cost of a house renovation lower than a new custom house.

But not every time! Renovating an older property can cost you more and leave room for any unexpected issue to crop up.

In other words, the remodeling contractors, notwithstanding their experience and expertise, may not always be spot on when it comes to predicting potential surprises once the renovation work begins.

For instance, additional cost and time may be needed to mitigate the impact of toxic building materials such as asbestos or lead paint.

Existing termite damage is another unpleasant surprise when dismantling the structure that have a negative effect on the construction cost budget.

The real expenses begin when you want to modify the house’s structure. Moving loads bearing walls and altering roof lines is not only technically challenging but get very expensive.

These types of renovations not only impact the cost, they can have a significant effect on the schedule. In some cases, doubling the length of anticipated time.

Converting an older outdated house into a luxury custom home requires both luxury house design by a qualified architect and structural engineer.

It is also recommended that a remodeling contractor work closely with the designing team to optimize the design and minimize the cost. They are a great resource for discussing your build new or renovate decision with.

Since major house renovations can be a great opportunity to make the older house more energy efficient, they also become good for the community and the environment, governments or foundations may offer financial incentives to encourage people choose renovation.

The government has long subsidized energy initiatives such as solar panels, high SEER air conditioning systems and clean water conservation. In most cases these types of house improvements are rewarded by tax credits.

In case you are merely looking at transforming your existing space built only a few decades ago, renovating can be a better, affordable, and viable option.

You may read our home renovations and understand the nitty-gritty of the process.

Build New or Renovate Houston Homes

Which Option is Quicker to Finish?

The duration of the construction process would depend on the scope of the project, the condition of the existing structure (in case of renovation) or whether you are staying in the property while the construction process is underway.

Duration of a new custom home building project:

It goes without saying that typically the duration of a new home construction will take a greater amount of time to complete than a Houston house renovation, due to the sheer scale of work that needs to be completed.

With new home construction, you need to select a building site and build a foundation before the next stage can progress.

Here, the custom builder has to frame the structure and added the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems just to reach the stage of a whole home renovation, where the remodeled home is stripped back to the studs before the remodeling begins.

Selecting a house plan, a house building lot and house construction  can typically take 9 months to 18 months.

Duration of renovation:

When compared to a new custom build home, renovations are faster, which makes them the more attractive path when considering building ground up.

This is due to the fact that most of the building elements are already in place during home renovation including the MEP’s as mentioned.

The MEP’s need to be integrated into the custom home construction process. In other words, since you do not have to start from scratch, like in a new construction, the remodeling contractors have a lesser volume of work to do in comparison.

However, there can be instances where remodeling an existing property can take more time than building a house, especially when it comes to historical buildings and the presence of harmful materials.

An important factor that can prolong the time of renovation is whether you and your family are living inside the premises.

The contractors will have to walk a tight rope in ensuring safety for your family or minimizing the impact of dust and debris by segregating the construction site.

However, it is advisable to shift to a different address if the entire property is undergoing renovation. You may read our resource on home renovation to know about the steps to be taken in completing the job successfully.

Which Option Can be More Attractive and Functional?

The appearance of a building can influence the inhabitants (you and your family) or people visiting it, the feel of aesthetics, comfort, and style.

For instance, fine and sleek finishing can offer a vibe of comfort and minimalism can exude efficiency.

So, with any construction project, goal is to reflect the owner’s lifestyle with the end results giving both happiness and a sense of fulfillment.

Build New or Renovate Houston

Luxury house design for a new luxury custom home:

Build new or renovate decisions require understanding that a new custom luxury home gives you the leeway to design the house suitable to your requirements – in terms of aesthetics and functionality.

With a new home construction, you can design it the way you want – from layout, size, and energy efficiency, and many other aspects.

Please visit our resources on this topic at; https://www.marwoodconstruction.com/custom-home-builders/

Redesigning an existing structure:

During remodeling construction, the choice can be fairly limiting, as you have to normally redesign within the confines of the existing property’s envelope.

Although you will have the opportunity to move walls, change the layout, and make additions to the structure, it is not normally cost effective to rebuild it again from the ground up.

That being said, a renovated building can retain its old-world charm and yet exude a modern feel, that can be very costly to be matched with any custom home building project.


In the ultimate analysis of determining to build new or renovate will each have their pros and cons, and it is the suitability of a particular option to your personal situation, your needs, and budget, which will determine the best choice.

For instance, living in an existing house that you love can make renovation a better choice while wishing to live in a newly built house that meets your desires can push the decision for a new luxury custom home.

In case you are still undecided on choosing Houston renovation or a custom build, read a blog to further expand your knowledge on the subject.

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