Why Renovate When You Could Have a Modular Home Rebuild?

Posted on Oct 28th, 2015 by Westchester | Posted in: Home Trends

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What do you do when you love your neighborhood but not your home? Should you renovate or rebuild your home? Most people renovate to make their home work for them. However, more people are turning to modular rebuilding as a way to build their perfect home in a neighborhood they love.

Many people consider rebuilding a home when a natural disaster has caused extensive damage, while others have ongoing structural issues such as mold or pests and demolish the house when other options fail. Rebuilding your home can also increase your property value, particularly if nearby homes have a higher value.

If you’re trying to decide between renovating or rebuilding, this guide will help you determine the best option for your situation.

Renovating Vs. Rebuilding Modular: How to Decide

Many homeowners choose to renovate instead of rebuilding because it’s familiar. In 2013, homeowners spent $130 billion dollars on renovations. Many homeowners are unaware of other options, even though replacing an existing home with a modular rebuild is becoming more popular. This is because there are clear benefits to rebuilding a home: a predictable project timelines, lower construction costs, and the ability to build a new, customized home.

When you’re considering home renovation versus rebuilding, it’s not always an easy decision. If you like the location and layout of your home, renovating may be your best choice. If you’re looking for dramatic changes in your home’s layout or have an older home, rebuilding might be a better option.

To help you determine whether renovating or rebuilding is a better fit for you, answer these three questions:

Does Rebuilding or Renovating Improve Your Property Value More?

Home GraphMany homeowners consider renovating because they want to improve the value of their home. It’s true — adding bathrooms, bedrooms and patios to a house can increase its value. For instance, remodeling a kitchen can increase a home’s value by $40,000.

However, modular home rebuilds can do more to improve your property value. Replacing a one-story house with a two-story house increases property values by an average of $111,000. A new home with a contemporary floorplan will also improve property values more than renovating!

Some properties will benefit more from a modular home rebuild than others. If your property value is significantly lower than your neighbor’s, your home is an ideal candidate for a teardown. These less valuable homes are often older, have obsolete layouts, or have lower quality construction than their neighbors’ houses. The structural deficiencies are difficult and time consuming to correct through renovations. Rebuilding with a better modular home can help you benefit from your neighborhood’s real estate values.

In terms of your home’s value, there are countless benefits of rebuilding. A rebuilt modular home can provide you with:

  • A contemporary floor plan
  • Higher quality construction
  • Lower electrical bills
  • Reduced maintenance costs

It’s also worth including the cost of maintaining an old home in your calculations. The average annual cost of maintenance on an older home is $19,000. Renovations may lower your maintenance bills in some areas, but rarely to the extent that a new home will. In general, a ten-year-old home will cost 580% more in maintenance than a new home. Newer homes need less major maintenance, and they may even be eligible for a homeowner’s warranty that covers the cost of any necessary repairs.

New modular homes have similar impacts on utility bills. In new modular homes, tight building shells reduce the need for heating and cooling. Upgraded electrical systems and water-saving features improve energy efficiency and water use. These new homes can also be certified “green,” which can improve property values. If a modular home rebuild can improve your property value, it might be a better choice compared to investing large sums of money into renovations.

Are There Any Structural Issues?

If you’re debating home renovation versus rebuilding, structural issues are some of the best cues to help you make a decision. Structural issues are one of the biggest incentives to tear down and rebuild a home. These structural problems can include cracked foundations or damage from natural disasters.

Structural issues such as foundation cracks can also cause problems in other places of the house. As the foundation sinks, cracks can form in the walls and roof. Repairing them is a costly and time-consuming process.

Homeowners may also tear down an existing house when there are problems with the building envelope. The building envelope, or shell, consists of the floors, wall and roof. Together, these components manage heat and humidity, and insulate occupants from extreme temperatures.

Unfortunately, building envelopes degrade over time and are susceptible to mold and pests. Eradicating mold or pests is challenging because the envelope includes most of the exterior. Because of the size of repairs, it’s difficult to determine how long and how expensive repairs will be. A modular home rebuild might be the best way to save time and money, while getting rid of the structural issues.

Does Your House Have Good Electrical and Plumbing Systems?

Electrical, plumbing and gas systems run throughout your house. Like other parts of your home, they deteriorate with age and are difficult to upgrade because they are hidden in walls, attics and crawlspaces. The cost of renovations can be high, and repairs are difficult to predict ahead of time. If your home has old electrical or plumbing systems, rebuilding might be the way to go.

You should also consider the age of your electrical system when deciding whether to renovate or rebuild. Electrical systems more than 30 years old are particularly likely to be damaged. They may also have obsolete wiring or outdated electrical panels. One in three electrical fires start in a home’s wiring, and damaged cords make fires more likely. In contrast, a good electrical system has new, protected wiring with grounded outlets. Before proceeding, determine whether your existing electrical system will be adequate for any renovations you’re considering.

Similarly, assess whether your home’s plumbing system needs replacement. Consider hidden water lines as well as visible elements like toilets and sinks. Are all elements up to code and in good condition? If not, rebuilding your home may be easier than renovating it. New modular homes are built with many water-saving features. These include Energy Star water tanks and low-flow toilets, faucets, and bath tubs.

Common Concerns About Rebuilding With a Modular Home

If you understand the benefits of rebuilding your home and have chosen this route, you may have several concerns. Homeowners often have questions about the time and expense of rebuilding their existing home. Many people also wonder if modular homes are as customizable as a renovation. What about green building and how to deal with construction waste? We have addressed your common concerns below.

1.How Long Will Rebuilding Take?

One of the biggest benefits of a modular home rebuild is the speed and ease of construction. Modular homes are constructed in factories, and then moved to the property in sections. In a factory, the walls, roofs and floors of a house can be built simultaneously. This means that construction of a modular home is 65 percent faster than the construction of a house built on the property.

Many families enjoy this streamlined construction process, especially because homeowners often have to choose between renting or living in the midst of a construction zone when renovating. With modular homes, most of the construction is finished before the house is placed on your property.

2.    Can I Customize a Modular Home?

In the past, many homeowners have avoided modular homes because they were associated with trailers and nondescript manufactured housing. People believed that to have a high-quality, customized home, it needed to be built on-site. These stereotypes are no longer true. It’s possible to build modular homes in a wide variety of construction qualities. More consumers are choosing custom homes with hardwood floors, gourmet kitchens and top-of-the-line bathrooms. Modular homes can also have up to four stories — gabled roofs and split-floor levels have even become common. At Westchester Modular, we build homes in styles as varied as coastal beach houses, ranch houses and colonials.

You can also customize your modular home to suit your family’s needs. Window types, cabinets and flooring styles are constructed in a variety of colors and finishes. Just like site-built homes, modular homes can have multiple paint colors, trim styles and fixtures. We recommend building bathrooms within a single section due to the large amounts of plumbing. Otherwise, there are few limits to how you can design your modular home.

3.    How Expensive Is Rebuilding a House?

In general, a modular home will be more cost effective to build than a site-built home of the same quality. This is because each section of a modular home can be assembled simultaneously. Because they are built within a factory, weather is not an issue — rain won’t delay the construction process.
A new modular home also leads to lower utility bills and maintenance costs. Although an existing home could be retrofitted and weather sealed, this sealing will never be as tight as it could be with a new home.

4.    Is Building a New Home a Green Choice?

A new modular home rebuild also allows you to upgrade to a green home. Many green homes are energy-efficient and use low-flow appliances and fixtures. A tight building envelope means that homeowners spend less on heating and cooling. Sustainable, toxin-free construction materials also lead to better indoor quality and fewer respiratory illnesses for occupants.

Green homes are worth more compared to a home built with standard construction. One survey found that a green home was valued 9% higher than a similar house not built to green design specs. This means that in California, a home built “green” results in $34,000 higher sales price than the average house.

Many buyers seek out green homes because of their lower maintenance costs and utility bills. A newly built home can save up to 3,449 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. That’s enough to power your TV for 11 years!

Take a look at these statistics to compare the annual Utility Costs for a 2,500 square-foot home:
Because green homes can significantly cut annual utility costs, modular homes are uniquely suited to green building. Modular homes are designed using computer aided drafting to reduce construction waste. Because we can visualize a house in detail, we order and cut materials to exact specifications. There are few surprises during the construction process. One survey found that modular homes produced 5% less construction waste than homes built on-site.

Green homes are built in a factory instead of on-site, so construction materials never get wet. Wet construction materials can cause mold and mildew indoors, creating respiratory issues for occupants. With green modular builds, indoor health isn’t a concern.

Poorly sealed homes also need more heating and cooling. Westchester Modular homes are built with a tight building shell to reduce energy use. We also use high R-value insulation and argon gas windows.

Westchester Modular is an Energy Star Partner, and we can help you get your home certified by Energy Star. This is one of the most widely recognized green building certifications for homes. Energy Star Homes are often 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than other homes. Westchester Modular is also committed to green building in our factories. Drywall scraps are recycled into lime for farms, and we also recycle extra cardboard, plywood, and electrical wiring produced during the construction process.

5.    What about Construction Waste?

Before you begin the modular home rebuild process, consider how you’ll handle waste from a teardown. You can recycle your home instead of sending the waste to a landfill — recycling building materials is good for the environment and can give homeowners a tax credit. Up to 90 percent of most homes can be recycled!

Deconstructing a house can be expensive. Just take a look at the financials:

Deconstruction Demolition
Disposal $24,338 $10,100
Donation Value $88,000 $0
Tax Savings (from donations) $24,640 $0
Total Costs + $302 – $10,100


Homeowners should contact a deconstruction expert to appraise their home. These experts will assess the value of your house’s materials and work with you to donate them to a nonprofit. Lumber, fixtures, floors, pipes, and electrical wires can all be donated.

Choosing to Rebuild Modular

Although there are many benefits to demolishing an existing house and building a new modular home, you should evaluate your circumstances to find the best option for you. You may want to contact your city to find out whether your property is zoned for a modular home or reach out to a deconstruction expert to have your home appraised. If you have any questions about the process, contact Westchester Modular today.

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