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As the COVID-19 pandemic confines us to our homes for longer than we’re used to, we might notice things we enjoy about or homes, but we’re probably focusing on the things we’ve realized we don’t enjoy.

Are you experiencing any of the following?

  • Cold, drafty rooms
  • Cold floors
  • Windows too cold to be near
  • Lack of natural daylight
  • Loud furnace and/or ventilation systems
  • Frequent headaches, nausea, dizziness, etc.
  • Lack of dream ensuite in master bedroom

The list goes on. We all experience different inconveniences in our homes, and some are more annoying than others.

The good news is that many of these issues can be solved by renovating.

The other good news is that ANY of these issues can be solved by building new.

But, how do you know which is right for you?


Photo: Milk River Renovation

Should you renovate?

Many of our clients choose to renovate because they love their neighbourhoods or yards, have sentimental attachment to their home, or are generally happy with their home, but would simply like to update it or make improvements.

If your home is uncomfortable because of cold spaces or drafts, or if your utility bills are high, then you’ll need to consider doing an energy retrofit.

These retrofits might consist of increasing insulation values, making your home more air-tight, or upgrading the systems/equipment in your home. If your siding needs replaced, you’ll never have a better opportunity for this than now.

Cosmetic renovations, however, are what we think of when we hear the word renovation.

An added benefit of Cosmetic renovations is that they often result in more functional floor plans in homes.

Renovations offer the opportunity to change or alter your home’s layout. Say goodbye to that wall and open things up!

With renovations, you have the option to work on one room or one floor at a time. This is convenient when budget or time are limited.

The downside is that you’ll either be living in a construction zone, or you’ll have to find an alternative living situation while work is taking place.

To recap, if you are generally happy with your house but want to increase its comfort/energy efficiency, and/or want to update its finishes and floor plan, then a renovation is the right choice for you.


Contemporary Kitchen Lethbridge

Photo: Casa Verde Net Zero Home

Should you build new?

There are some things renovations can’t fix, like city bylaws and bad neighbours.

Jokes aside, many people dream of one day building their dream home. We had clients who finally built their dream home after finalizing their floor plans some thirty years earlier.

Building a new home presents the opportunity to have a home that is designed and built to suit your lifestyle perfectly.

It also allows the opportunity to design your home to work with the sun, and not against it. By designing a home that is optimized for passive solar gain, you’ll enjoy more natural daylight, more comfortable spaces, and lower utility bills.

There are two options for building new: building in a new community, or building an infill home on an existing lot.

Established neighbourhoods are often flourishing with trees and lively streets, but building a new home in an established neighbourhood often comes at a slightly higher cost.

Firstly, you’ll need to find an existing home and/or land that is cheap to acquire. And that’s because secondly…

The existing home will need to be demolished, deconstructed, or moved.

Next, the infrastructure servicing the home may need to be updated. This is the case when water lines are a century old.

And then we can start building!

The pros are that you get to live in a well-established neighbourhood, likely close to great amenities, and you might be able to avoid long work commutes.

Infill construction is also the greener option, as it does not require new land to be developed.

If you cannot find empty lots in the established neighborhood you’re interested in, then look for homes for sale where most of the value of the purchase is the land. These are usually old, dilapidated homes.


To conclude

There are pros and cons for both renovating and building new, and it’s not always an easy choice. It is not a one size fits all decision, and it needs to be made on a case by case basis.

We’ve been helping people decide which option is better for them for 10 years now, and we would be happy to help you as well.

Your Dream Home… Only Greener

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