Profile picture for hakema

Remodel or tear down and rebuild our 1947, 1800 sq ft cape?

We live in one of the last in the neighborhood.  The rest have been replaced with 3000+ sq. ft McMansions.  We've been here for  15 years, and expect to stay for at least another 6 (and possibly 20). 
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August 29 2010 - Lexington
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I wrote an entire article on this issue.  You can get to the article through my website.  It is at the right hand of the page under the list of articles.

I don't know where you are.  The article was written for South Florida, but some of the principles may apply nonetheless. 

Maria Luisa Castellanos, Registered Architect, Florida
LEED AP
President
United Architects, Inc.
Coral Gables, Florida
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August 31 2010
If you have live in the house for 15 years then you are making what you have work.  My feeling is you do not need to tear down, but rather add on and renovate.  Since the neighborhood is on the upswing you should see more ROI for each dollar spent renovating than you would if you started from scratch.

Simon Mills
Mills Realty
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August 31 2010
I'm not sure I understand the last post.  If one of the most expensive parts of building a new home is land, why would hakema seek out that option?
I'm not sure if this is the same from state to state but in NJ, buying land requires 50% down. 
How would seeking out land to build on be an advantage?
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August 31 2010
Lexington Home owner:

If you can afford to live else where and can fund a new home that may be the way to go.  One of the most expensive parts of buying a new home is the land.  I would strongly consider reaching out to an architect firm to get some plans drawn and meet with some builders to discuss the options.  I can make recommendations if you need.  Best
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August 31 2010
I bet you will achieve the best value by remodeling. The neighborhood you described will lift your home upwards.

You have something very unique and you have the choice to preserve and enhance it.

Make your decision carefully and wisely.

Good Luck!

James Callas - Realtor®
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August 30 2010
I'd recommend having an energy audit done on your existing home.  In many cases the audit will indicate issues that can save you substantial dollars in energy expense in the future.  When you take these into consideration and the changes that they suggest, it opens a whole new window on the possibilities.
As our population ages some universal design might also point to some great improvements that will create added value for selling in the future.
Working with the materials that you currently have on site is the greenest solution that you have.  Be creative within it.
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August 30 2010
Profile picture for shapiroamg
I would say it depends on your needs. If you need some space, then renovate. If you need lots of space, then do the tear down (assuming you can). If you are only thinking about this to keep up with the neighbors, I would say stay as you are.

Your home, as is,  will still be valuable in the future as it could be sold to a family who wants to start in Lexington or a builder who will will desire the last small house on a street. Lexington is a great town. If you stay the same or do a smaller scale renovation, I thnk you will be on track for a great return on investment. But again base it on what your family needs for space are now and in the immdiate future.
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August 30 2010
Even if you do minimal renovations, your street is desireable and you should get a good return on your investment. One smaller project at a time may be more expensive that a total rehaul, but if you have been there for 15 years and have managed to live with the lack of square footage I think you will be fine. :)
Warm regards
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August 30 2010
As someone who went through a major renovation with a cape which was very similar in size and age as yours, I can tell you that for my town, tearing down a house and rebuilding is a lot more complicated and costly from a permit and tax perspective than adding on and renovating your existing home.
Capes are relatively easy to add on.  We knocked down walls downstairs to open the space up, turned a single car garage into a den, added a 2 car garage on the other side of the house and added 3 bedrooms to what was a 2 bedroom house (total 5 beds).  It didn't really increase our footprint that much so our taxes weren't increased as much as we thought they were going to be and the permit process was relatively simple.
From a builder's perspective, its much simpler to tear down but when we researched the pros and cons of each, it was much more cost effective to renovate.
I can't say you would necessarily recoup your costs in 6 years though.  You may have to live there longer to make it financially feasible.
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August 29 2010
Profile picture for the_country_hick
If you tear the house down all value is gone. That takes away a lot of money from your pocket.

If the house is solid it comes down to this: How much to make it like you would wish it compared to how much would it cost to replace it?

I would check a modular house dealer and ask how much it would cost to build a house to your specs. Then you can ask a builder.

Then see how much it would cost to remodel.

I do not think the mcmansions will be desirable in the future. High energy costs plus taxes will make them more and more unaffordable to live in. If you want to live there for 20 years just build, remodel, or live in the house as it is. Just choose based on what you want and live. Resale is irrelevant as you need a place to live.
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August 29 2010
 
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