With the median price tag for a single-family home currently at $730,000, the option of selling and buying to increase square footage has become a financial hardship, leaving many families and homeowners asking the same question: Should I remodel or tear down and build new?

Remodel vs. renovate

For starters, many people use renovate and remodel interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Renovating a space is to restore to good condition through repairs, such as a fresh coat of paint or updating your fixtures. Remodeling entails altering the structure by removing walls to an existing space to create a different layout or adding an extra bedroom and bath for mom onto an existing structure.


Graham Builders vice president of operations Ryan Graham said the decision to remodel or build new comes down to budget, the needs of the homeowner, and the condition of the home. “If your budget allows you to build new, then build new as it will provide the most value,” said Graham. “There are plenty of Local new home builder style studio designs to choose from, so designing the home isn’t too much of a task either.”


Remodeling costs typically have a lower overall price with a higher cost per square foot than a new build, which is largely due to retrofitting, or attaching a new structure to the existing one. A new build will have a higher overall price, since the area being built is larger, however the cost per square foot will often be lower.

If the condition of the home is beyond repair, then the wise decision would be to tear down and build new. However, if the homeowner is increasing square footage to a well maintained older home, then remodeling could be the best bet.


Attend Graham Builders’ upcoming “Building Your Home for Life” seminar Saturday, July 8, 9-11 a.m. at the Honolulu Country Club. Seminars are free, but reservations are required. To register, visit grahambuilders.com or call 593-2808.

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