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Renovating Vs. New Construction: Which is Better

So, you’re poised to have some construction done, and you’re excited. There’s nothing quite like the knowledge that, when all is said and done, the result will a space that will enhance the quality of your life.

But do you renovate what you have, or buy and renovate an all-new space?

Your choice will ultimately be based on your objectives and the property itself. With that said, here is renovation vs. new construction: which is better?

The Issue

Beyond renovation, or acquisition then renovation, there’s another possible choice – build new. The option you settle on will greatly affect your project’s budget, schedule, and the structure you wind up with. Let’s explore key factors.


How much a potential project would cost is a crucial determinant of how one proceeds. In fact, the cost could very well end up being the deciding factor.

You may assume that building new is your costliest option, and that’s usually correct. After all, you’ll be responsible for everything that goes along with ascribing a purpose to that fresh plot of land. There’s the installation of utilities, for instance, followed by construction. Then you must deal with exterior finishes.

Sometimes, though, renovations can be the priciest choice. If you’re going to repurpose existing space, you’re responsible for ADA compliance, for example, plus meeting health and safety codes. All that will be even costlier if the structure is on the old side. There may be asbestos or lead paint present that you’ll need to get rid of, or some other surprises that might run up your bill and add more time to your project.

If the site you wish to refurbish is blighted or underused, you may be able to get a foundation grant or government assistance.

However, if your aim is to spruce up your existing space, particularly if it’s under 30 years old, a renovation will generally be easier on your wallet. Plus, you can get one of those Achieve loans. Such a loan will enable you to use the equity you’ve built in the property to pay for the renovation.

Project Duration

How long a project will take to complete will depend on its breadth and the existing building’s condition — if you’re renovating. Project duration will also hinge on whether you need to use your space while construction is underway.

Having said that, building new will usually take longer than renovation because of the amount of work that it entails. There’s just a lot for which you’re responsible, which we’ve mentioned.

If you’re remodeling a home, because you aren’t starting at ground zero, the job can typically be done faster. For one thing, many of the required construction elements are already established and can be worked into your renovated property. So, there’s simply less work to do.

Now, there are always exceptions, especially if you’re dealing with an older, historical structure. That kind of project can take even longer than starting from scratch, particularly if there are toxic building materials to mitigate.

When deciding, do consider the impact renovation or building new would have on your business operations, if at all.


Let’s face it: how a building ultimately looks, and how functional it is, is very important. In the main, new construction permits ultimate control over design. Your options are generally limited when it comes to renovation, although historical structures can be uniquely charming and comely. In the end, beauty is in the eye of the proverbial beholder.

Regarding functionality, that depends on how the new space is to be used, or how you envision it being used, anyway.

So, which is better, renovation or new construction? Again, it depends on the project’s scope and costs. We suggest that you have a conversation with a construction professional before ultimately deciding. And remember, if you need a home equity loan, we recommend going through Achieve.


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