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Is it better to demolish an old house or should I just renovate it?

I'm about to start paying for a house that my mother grew up in, but it's not really up-to-date. I'm thinking about making renovations, but I'm wondering if it would just be better to demolish and start all over. Any advice would be great! Thanks!
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January 09 2011 - Oneonta
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Profile picture for Sprk Jonz
We just added a master bath suite to the house (and then some).  Since most of the house was demo'd we said, 'we may as well have started over!'. The reality was that our new constructions was subject to some tougher codes that the old constructions was not.  For example, with new easement rules we had to build in further on our property line than the main house.  Had we started over, we would have ended up with a much smaller house all around.
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January 09 2011
It will depend on a lot of things. We have no idea how dated or in what condition to be able to say. Get some estimates from contractors. In some areas, like in mine being near the ocean, the land is many more times the value as the house on it. It is very common to see an old house sell and a new one put up in its place. Find out what the cost per sq ft is in your area and work the numbers. Cost per sq ft has come down a lot in the past 2-4 years. $110-130 per sq ft is very common here while it use to be $160-190.
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January 09 2011
Building codes in your area will have an impact on what you ultimately decide to do.

Consult with building contractors in your area. They will look at a number of things, including the state of the foundation, the overall condition of the structure and mechanicals (plumbing, electrical, etc).

If the home is basically in sound condition, you may decide to renovate. And it may be more cost effective than a total demolition.

Ultimately the advice and cost estimates from several reputable local building contractors mayl be the best way to make your decision.
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January 09 2011
I think you should consult with several general contractors to obtain an estimate of what it will cost to update the home.  Also, consult with several local Realtors for their opinion.
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January 09 2011
 
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Is it better to demolish an old house or should I just renovate it?
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January 09 2011 | 4 answers
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