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Remodel vs. Rebuild

Whether you’re buying an old home or you simply want extra space for your family, you are immediately confronted with two choices: to remodel vs. to rebuild. Which is better for your design, budget and timeline? In Arlington VA, where houses and raw materials are valued at a much higher cost, and regulatory bodies are committed to upholding zoning compliance among residents, various factors must be considered.

Before making a decision, let’s do a rundown of the pros and cons for each option.

Option #1: Remodeling

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With remodeling, you can either increase space or give your home a total makeover (or both!) without starting from scratch. Depending on your desired outcome, some parts of the house may have to be demolished but the original foundation remains. This is why many people still opt for home remodeling. It saves them all the trouble of setting up a new foundation.

Mortgage for an old home could go as low as half the mortgage for a brand new one. With just some touch-ups, you can transform a post-Revolutionary War property into a state-of-the-art masterpiece without breaking the bank — and you won’t even know the difference! Your dream home doesn’t have to cost you a lifetime full of debt.

Also, remodeling gets you more value for your money. Instead of spending on concrete, steel, wood and weather-proofing materials for a foundation, you can invest on a brand new kitchen countertop or a more intricate bathroom interior. If you have a larger budget, you might even afford a pop-up second floor addition and add more rooms for your growing family.

One of the obstacles for homeowners and builders is the 2,500-square-foot land disturbance rule. For any construction activity utilizing 2,500 square feet of land or beyond, a Land Disturbing Activity (LDA) Permit must first be obtained. While this rule has good intentions, it remains unpopular among Arlington residents, because unless you are willing to spend a significant amount of money for a permit, you are bound to oblige with the existing limit.

Local zoning regulations are another hurdle that dissuades homeowners from remodeling. While old ordinances even up to this day still allow post-war homes closer proximity to the road and its neighboring buildings, modifications — no matter the extent — may nullify earlier laws. A minor refurbishment may automatically deem your property illegal. To prevent this, permits must be secured from the proper regulating bodies, which may take a long while.

Option #2: Rebuilding

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As said earlier, due to added regulation and additional cost involved in home remodels, some Arlington residents now choose to pay more for a total teardown and rebuilding.

When you buy a new car, you spend less on maintenance and fuel compared to keeping an older one. The same goes with having a brand new house. The high mortgage value might put you off at first, but with proper planning, this investment will eventually pay off. Aside from having a longer lifespan, newly built homes tend to be much more energy-efficient, given that advanced construction methods and better insulation are employed.

Moreover, rebuilding gives you more flexibility in terms of design and layout. Since you are starting with a blank canvas, you get to be more creative with your floor plan and you have the freedom to plan which room goes to where. Plus, the fulfillment of moving into a new home of your own design is just priceless.

Having said that, rebuilding also has its fair share of disadvantages, starting with where to stay with your household while your dream home is being erected. On top of your construction budget, you need to set aside rental fee for a temporary house or apartment. An average apartment in Arlington VA can be rented at around $2,500 monthly.

With rebuilding, some social factors must also be taken into consideration. Several Arlington neighborhoods have been around for a long time, and have maintained a certain charm and dated aesthetics that the locals want to uphold. You can’t just tear down a home that has long been part of the neighborhood and replace it with a colossal state-of-the-art edifice without raising some eyebrows.

Final Verdict

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Remodel vs. rebuild: which is better? The answer is, it depends. It depends on your budget, timeline and patience. It depends on your design. It depends on the condition of the house.

Make an evaluation. Is your budget really tight? Are you patient enough to obtain necessary permits and documents? Is your blueprint close to the original layout of the house? Is the distance between the house, road and adjacent buildings not violative of current zoning regulations? Is the foundation still in great condition? If you answered yes to all the questions, remodeling is the best choice for you.

However, if you have enough resources for a brand new home and a design that’s not too intimidating (in case you’re moving into an older neighborhood), then go ahead and find the best contractor to rebuild the home of your dreams.

VP Construction, a home remodeling company based in Arlington VA, ensures that all the best possible options are provided before you make your final decision. If you’re interested in hiring us for your home improvement projects, give us a call at (703)-434-0001 or email us at

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