To Remodel or Teardown and Rebuild… That Is the Question: Part I

Posted on Apr 24th, 2019 by Chris Leslie | Posted in: Uncategorized
colonial house complete
Beautiful colonial home after second story addition.

To Remodel or Teardown and Rebuild… That Is the Question: Part I

Want to build a new home in an established neighborhood?

How’s this possible when many such neighborhoods tend to be fully built up, with no empty lots?

Truth is, in numerous portions of the northeast, particularly in hugely concentrated upscale urban neighborhoods, plenty of homeowners are opting to tear down an existing home and rebuild a new home on the same property.

Ellis house before
Home before second story addition.

Say what? Why wouldn’t you just move?

  • Let’s face it. Moving is seldom an attractive option when a family loves where they live and has formed strong ties with the neighborhood.
  • It can be difficult, if not impossible, to find a reasonably priced home that will keep the kids in the same school district, hold on to the same short walk to the park and keep the work commute to a minimum.

Simply put, families are accustom and secure in their surroundings and prefer not to pull up stakes and move.

Ellis house in progress second floor
Home in progress, second floor addition.

Of course, there’s always the option to remodel the present home. And, most often, this was the path homeowners chose in the past.

But this option has become, in many instances, financially unsound:

  • Remodeling is quite expensive, even if you have a fairly moderate renovation plan.
  • Often, remodelers are disappointed with the compromises they made to keep costs down and end up questioning if building a new home closer to their initial wishes would have been more economical.
  • Almost all remodeling takes considerably longer than the initial estimate, and a wide-range remodel can relocate a family from their home for weeks, even months.
Ellis house in progress crane
Home in progress, second floor addition.

Still, why would you tear down a house?

  • Ask most anyone in the real estate industry why homes are being torn down, and they’ll deliver the identical response: the dirt beneath is now, in many cases, worth more than the home sitting on it.
  • Accessible unbuilt property is increasingly limited, and luxury-home prices have gone through the roof (figuratively speaking).
  • By tearing down an older house whose principal worth is the land it sits on, builders can create an up-to-date home via the many advantages of modular* construction.

        *We’ll discuss modular construction in Part III of this blog.

Ellis house complete
Beautiful colonial home complete after teardown rebuild and second story addition.

Some people think tearing down a home is the last resort. In fact, tearing down an older home and replacing it with a modular* home can save both time and money.

  • A total teardown and rebuild allows the property owner to start with a clean slate.
  • Families can decide the size and style of the new home rather than living with choices made by previous owners.

*We’ll discuss why you should build a modular home in Part III of this blog.


colonial home before and after
Before (left) and after (right) of the teardown rebuild / second story addition on this beautiful colonial home.


In Part II, we’re going to talk about identifying homes that are good candidates for teardown and rebuilds, among other topics. 

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