How To Do A Knockdown Rebuild
Your current home might be bursting at the seams with your growing family, or you might’ve brought your office home and now need all the extra space you can get. Whatever the reason, many homeowners in Australia are opting for a knockdown rebuild to extend and redesign their home.
You might be thinking, why not just renovate? It might be so much quicker and cheaper, right? Well, not necessarily. The dollar per square metre cost of renovating is potentially more than throwing down the old house and building a new one.
But, that being said, a knockdown rebuild is a BIG project and there are a few things to consider before going ahead with such a massive undertaking. Let’s take a look at how to do a knockdown rebuild, starting with the ‘why’.
Why Do A Knockdown Rebuild – Some of The Advantages
It’s sometimes cheaper to do a knockdown rebuild than to renovate. Weigh up the costs before you decide though, and make sure it’s within your budget. That being said, it might not seem to be the cheaper option right now, but it could save you money in the long run.
Buying a new house in your suburb could cost you more than rebuilding on your existing plot. Also, get a few quotes from various builders to get the best deal – never just settle for the cheapest builder! As there is a risk in completing a knock down rebuild project with inexperienced (and often the cheapest) builders.
You have control of the design. If the current floor plan isn’t working for you, you can completely redesign the layout of your home. So if you want an open plan kitchen and living area to keep an eye on the kids while preparing dinner, you can have it!
When working with a builder, you might find that they might already have designs and plans that fit your needs so you won’t have to design the floorplan yourself – easy as pie!
Time Is Money
In some cases, rebuilding from scratch is actually faster than renovating. Who knew?! Home builders have stock-standard floor plans to choose from these days, making it quicker, easier and cheaper to rebuild a home from scratch without the hassle of having to design it yourself.
Renovating is a long-term project. But, sometimes when extending an existing home, the sense of urgency isn’t there. That means longer project timelines (and who wants that, right?).
You Don’t Have To Move Neighbourhoods
You don’t have to leave your suburb to get the home you want. Your kids get to stay around their friends and you don’t have to look for new schools (yay!). It will just take some time, money, lots of rubble and you’ll eventually have your dream home.
A Brand New Home
Possibly the top reason to do a knockdown rebuild is that you’ll be getting a brand new home out of it. If your current home is maybe on the older side and there are things like damp, cracked walls, leaky roofs (you get the picture), then perhaps it’s time to start from scratch!
Although new homes also have their niggly bits (like settling cracks a few years down the line), at least you won’t have to patch up existing problems continuously. You’ll start completely fresh.
How To Do A Knockdown Rebuild – The 7 Step Guide
1. Weigh Up Your Options
Before deciding to demolish your home and start over, make sure it’s actually something you NEED to do.
If your home is too small for your growing family or if you need to work from home on a more regular basis and need some extra space, first weigh up what the best and most cost-effective options are going to be.
Maybe your house is crumbling to pieces and rebuilding is the only option (besides selling on the cheap). Either way, make sure it’s what you need.
2. Finding A Qualified Builder
So, you’ve decided rebuilding your home is the best option for you. Now it’s time to find a builder who is experienced in knock down rebuilds to help you through the process (unless you’re a contractor, then you might know exactly what to do).
Hiring professionals will help you through the costing, design, paperwork, demolition and build – basically everything from beginning to end. It will cost you more to hire professionals, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing everything will be done correctly and without cutting any corners.
3. Budgeting For Your Rebuild
This is possibly the most important step in the process (even though you might be thinking that design is the most important thing). Making sure you know what you’re getting into financially is key if you’re going to rebuild your home.
It’s always a good idea to consult with someone at this stage – you don’t want to get the numbers wrong and have to pay up later!
4. Getting A Loan
You might need to take out a construction loan or extra on your current mortgage (if you have one) – unless you’ve been planning this for a few years and have saved up enough to complete the project. If not, you’re going to need to get the paperwork going to apply for a loan.
When getting a loan, make sure that you can afford the repayments. Banks will always offer you the maximum amount – don’t fall for the trap! Make sure it’s all within your budget.
5. Designing Your Home
Time for the fun part! The next big step in how to do a knockdown rebuild is designing your brand new home.
The best thing to do is to hire someone who can help you with your design. You might even find that there are some stock-standard designs to choose from, that you can customise as you need. This also speeds up the process quite a bit. You’ll decide the floorplan, the flooring, the cabinets, the appliances, the whole shebang!
Very important – the floorplan! Consider how you want your home to be laid out and the flow between rooms. For example, you might want an open plan kitchen, dining and living area, instead of closed-off rooms.
Consider the neighbourhood before going ahead with a particular design. Make sure it’s in line with your area and that it won’t devalue your property. The last thing you want is for your property to be worth less 20 years down the line!
6. Pre-Construction Paperwork
If you’ve hired a team of experts, they’ll do all the paperwork that needs to go to the local council for approval. If not, you’ll have to do this yourself, with some help from the builder.
There’s a lot that goes into getting all the necessary approvals so be sure to cover everything before going ahead with any demolition or building. Chat with your neighbours beforehand as well. You may need to get them to sign some paperwork before demolition and building can start.
7. The Knockdown Begins
Once the local council has approved your plans and you have the green light to begin, the demolition man can begin his work to knock down the old house. Remember though that demolition can only begin once electrical and gas lines have been shut off and these will be extra costs (so take note to factor these in).
8. The Rebuild Begins
Your old house has been thrown to the ground and all the rubble has been cleared, now to start building from the ground up, literally! This is the slow part but it can be very satisfying to watch your dream home come to life.
Keep an eye on things. Although your builder might be experienced, you still don’t want things to end up not exactly how you want them. There will also be minor things that pop up, but make sure to nip them in the bud before you take ownership of the new home.
Also, keep your neighbours informed during the whole process. It’s going to be a lot of noise, dust and rubble in close proximity to them, so make sure they understand your timelines – especially if you think you’re going to go over the scheduled time.
9. The Handover
The last step in how to do a knockdown rebuild is the handover. But, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows here. There might’ve been a small snag list with things in the build that needed to be fixed before you take ownership.
Check if there are any warranties attached to appliances, flooring, fixtures, etc. You might find that everything is in working order when you move in, but a month later they might not be and you want to be able to have things fixed without extra costs.
This is just for your peace of mind. After that’s said and done, the house is all yours!
The Bottom Line
People always love shiny new things and a house is definitely one of them. A knockdown rebuild can give you an entirely new space without moving neighbourhoods or spending ages house hunting for your perfect home that doesn’t actually exist (yet). It’s a great way to start fresh with a new home, that fits your evolving life, budget and ultimately, your needs.
While it’s a lengthy process, it’s one that’s worthwhile in the long-run. Make sure you know what you’re getting into beforehand and most of all, enjoy the very exciting process of building your dream home from the ground up.