What to consider when deciding whether you should remodel or tear down and rebuild your house.

Large patios for outdoor living. Modern, multitasking kitchens. Home offices and multi-functional spaces. These were among the top requested home renovations in 2021. As our needs continue to shift and be shaped by the world around us, the way in which we use our homes evolves. As we move beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, many are looking for ways to make their home more livable, functional, and sustainable.

If you’ve outgrown your home and are unsure whether to renovate or rebuild, read on. These are some of the most important things to consider when deciding the best option for you and the longevity of your home.

The age of your home

While nearly any home can be remodeled and renovated, it doesn’t mean it should be. Older homes have a greater risk of serious issues that could make renovations time-consuming and financially impractical in the long run. The most common are structural defects, water damage, pests or wood rot, and foundational issues. It can sometimes be tricky to predict a home’s condition until peeling back the layers, and too often, what was meant to be a simple renovation will snowball into extensive structural repairs.

On the other hand, rebuilding brings the reassurance of a new home with updated materials and building practices, requiring less care, maintenance, or unwelcome surprises. The materials used when building can also increase the energy efficiency and sustainability of your home. At Thomas James Homes, we know that the true beauty of a home lies in the design details and using quality products. Plus, with our size, efficiency, and scale, we’re able to offer more value per square foot on average on the most luxurious materials and finishes compared to traditional custom builders when you rebuild your home with us.

A new home also has the protection of a more comprehensive warranty that covers any hiccups. At TJH, we are one of the few single-lot custom home builders that stands behind its products with a 10-year industry-leading warranty.

The scope of the transformation

One of the most important questions to answer is, what is your home’s purpose—not just for today but for the future? Once you have a clear vision for how you will live in your home, you can begin to map out what you would change for it to suit your lifestyle. Maybe it’s a floorplan with better spatial flow and flex rooms; a kitchen that invites entertaining complemented by indoor/outdoor dining. Or perhaps your home doesn’t take advantage of natural light or the size of your lot. Defining how you will use your home will give you a better vision of the most efficient solution for transforming it. Structural changes typically involve extensive demolition and, in some cases, can require more time and money than a complete rebuild.

Today, the design of new homes has evolved to be more functional and accommodating of a home-centered lifestyle. Beyond the need for space, spending more time at home has been a driving driving force to look at how our homes can impact our health, wellness, and everyday routines. You’ll find that all of our homes are designed to create an environment for optimal health and include features such as better air and water filtration systems, flex rooms for a home gym, indoor-outdoor living, natural light, and functional space. Explore our library of home plans that can be customized to suit your specific vision.

Your long-term plans

How long do you intend to stay in your home? Financially, it’s generally wiser to tear down and rebuild if you plan to live in your home for the foreseeable future. Rebuilding resets the clock on your home’s structure, materials, and overall efficiency.

A new home can also be a better long-term investment with higher resale value. While renovating could be less expensive initially, the average cost is typically more than the value it adds to the home. For example, the Return on Investment of an average bathroom remodel is 55-60%, adding only $15K of resell value from a $25K renovation. A rebuild will hold value longer and make it a smart long-term investment. For example, if you decide to sell your home 10 years from now, you will be selling a 10-year old home with a higher value than an older home with a mix of improvements.

On average, a new home costs 2.5 times less to maintain than an older home
Source: National Association of Home Builders

Managing a renovation vs. a rebuild

Renovating and building a home are both a full-time commitment with many moving parts. A major renovation that involves structural changes or add-ons will share much of the same process and expenses as rebuilding a new home—hiring an architect and design team to develop plans, acquiring city permits, demolition, managing the construction process, and final inspections. On average, a major renovation takes 8-10 months for a smaller property and 12-15 months for a larger home.

One of the benefits of rebuilding your home with an experienced and trusted builder is the convenience and peace of mind of having a team manage the process for you. Surprisingly, it can also take less time to complete your new home. For example, when you rebuild your home with our Build on Your Homesite program, we guarantee a timeline once permits are pulled.

The zoning of your property

Pay attention to the local zoning laws that determine the type, size, and location of buildings on any property. Learning how your home is zoned could open more opportunities for your property, including the size of your home, elevation, or even adding an ADU or second home. As the demand for housing continues to rise, more homeowners are rebuilding their homes with an ADU or carriage unit for multigen living or a potential rental unit that brings in additional revenue. Interested in the possibilities for your property? Contact us and we’ll help determine the zoning of your home and ways to maximize the buildable space of your lot with the TJH Build on Your Homesite program.

Acquiring building permits

Building permits are often a detail that many homeowners overlook when planning a renovation or remodel. But sidestepping the permit process—whether intentional or unknowingly—could be costly and time-consuming, resulting in fines, project delays, or even having to tear down and redo the work. The last thing you want is to get through a renovation only to realize you have to start over. Furthermore, renovations completed without the proper permits and inspections create headaches down the line, making it difficult if you decide to sell your home.

Do you need a permit? Each city has its own rules and the type of renovation will determine what permits you need. Applying—or ‘pulling permits—for most homeowners takes upwards of a month since permit applications for commercial builders, contractors, and the trades tend to receive priority due to volume and necessity. When you rebuild your home with us, you don’t have to stress about the permit process. As part of our Build on Your Homesite program, we handle all the details so you don’t have to, including pulling permits, inspections, approvals, and everything in between.


Build on Your Homesite by Thomas James Homes

The decision to renovate or rebuild is one that deserves consideration. If after thinking through all of these factors you find that tearing down and rebuilding is the best route for you, the TJH Build on Your Homesite program is the quickest and simplest way to build a new customized home on your lot. By bringing architecture, design, permitting, and building together under one roof, we provide the most joyful way to rebuild and replace your home on the market.


Explore our library of architectural plans, program details, inclusive pricing, and next steps to rebuild the home you’ve always imagined.

BUILD ON YOUR HOMESITE