Tear Down or Remodel?

July 9, 2021
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From 100-year-old houses in unforgiving environments to poorly constructed buildings in otherwise dream neighborhoods, there are several instances in which customers ask themselves, “Should I tear down my home or remodel it?” Between these two different — and quite costly — choices, homeowners will want to know they’re making the best decision before taking any action. This is where your expertise comes into play.

In the choice between a home remodel or total home teardown, professionals must first assess the property to answer any immediate questions. To ensure you and your team of tradesmen can properly advise customers if they should tear down or remodel their home, and help homeowners make the most financially-sound decision for their situation, consider the following questions.

1. Does the Home Have Features the Customer Wants Preserved?

With many home inheritances and vintage fixer-uppers on the market today, these aged homes can feature historic or high-quality characteristics that are hard to replicate with modern-day style construction. When faced with a tear down vs remodel debacle, customers may struggle with the idea of totally eliminating the structure, or preserving it. Even though the current appearance may not be up to par, added values of character, like classic crown molding, arched doorways or original wood flooring, may want to be preserved rather than destroyed.

Before tradesmen can give a sound answer on whether they should take on a home tear down or remodel project, they must first understand their client's preferences. Despite the presence of high-quality and historic characteristics, the whole “charming historic home” idea may not be a customer's first desire. So, be sure to address the characteristics of the home from all angles and inform customers on what they can do to preserve or modernize various features.

2. Does the Current Layout Match the Customer’s Needs and Expectations?

When deciding on whether a home remodel or tear down project is best for a customer, contractors must also consider a client’s needs and expectations. One massive factor in this situation is the expected length of time the customer anticipates living in the home. From a financial standpoint, if the customer expects to be living there for just a few years rather than long-term, a remodel may be the best decision since it’s less time consuming.

Furthermore, the living needs of a customer should also be addressed before making any remodel or tear down decisions. With many remodeling projects, homeowners can typically reside in the home as the project is being completed. With tear down and rebuild projects, homeowners will need to find another place to live while the home is being rebuilt — which can take some time and add an additional cost. Likewise, if the homeowner wants to move in immediately away after purchase, a total home remodel may delay their processes.

3. Is the Home Structurally Sound?

Although a structure can always be remodeled, it may not be a financially sound decision to do so if the home isn’t structurally sound. When deciding on whether a remodel or tear down project works best for your customer, one of the most important things to do before providing a decision is to complete a full assessment of the home's foundation and core components.

One of the first things to look at when assessing a property is the presence of previous or ongoing damage. Discovering the presence of water or pest damage in a home's foundation can quickly help determine if a rebuild or tear down decision is necessary. Likewise, if major foundational components, such as walling, roofing or the concrete base of the home, show signs of cracking and deterioration, these high-cost repairs could signal the need for a rebuild.

Outside of assessing the major safety components of a home’s foundation, contractors must be sure to assess the more specific utility systems throughout the structure as well. If the home previously lacked any sort of maintenance or general use, plumbing and electrical components may feature heavy wear and tear. This will require a bit more than some simple repairs to get back to operation, so be sure to warn customers of the upcoming costs and timeline of these issues.

4. Are There Any Local Zoning Restrictions and Regulations?

From location to location, there are several zoning laws that specifically regulate the type, size and location of a home or business. This is an especially important point to consider in instances when a customer is leaning more towards a home tear down. In many suburban locations, home rebuilds are restricted to the original layout of the home, meaning if the original home was on the smaller side, customers may encounter difficulties having the construction approved for a larger home on the same property. As a tradesman or contractor, be sure to thoroughly understand your local zoning laws to provide the best solution that can minimize any customer frustrations or disappointments down the line.

5. How Much Money is the Customer Willing to Spend?

With the customer’s needs and current assessment of the standing home in mind, tradesmen can better estimate how much a home remodel or total home tear down operation will cost. For customers who are a bit tight on funds, remodeling will typically be the way to go, as clients can tackle concerns one at a time as their budget allows. Keep in mind, if the property displays significant structural concerns, these issues must be addressed first to ensure complete safety for the homeowners.

On the other hand, if many structural concerns and customer requests are present, a larger budget would help push the decision towards rebuilding the property. Outside of just the home construction process, demolition will be an additional costly service that will be required to get the job done. Plus, customers will likely need to locate another place to stay while their home is under total tear down mode.

Streamline Operations Whether You Tear Down or Remodel

As a contractor, both remodel and rebuild projects require the proper management of several moving parts to ensure the job is completed on schedule. From technician and customer management to financial estimates, tradesmen need a business management solution that can help streamline these processes all from one, convenient platform. With FieldPulse project management software, contractors have the ability to master daily operations like scheduling, customer management, estimates and invoicing, and dispatching capabilities — regardless of what tear down or remodel choices a customer makes for their home.

To learn how FieldPulse can help better streamline your remodel and rebuild projects, schedule a demo and find out today.

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