Moving into the Suburbs_ Charming Old Homes Beg the Question- Are home addition costs better than teardown costs

photography by Lisa Russman

Most older homes in historic towns like Montclair and Glenridge, New Jersey can easily be modernized through a home addition. Costs for construction can often outweigh the costs of a teardown. We’ve professionally guided hundreds of local families looking to solve the inquiry for their family: home addition or teardown – and now we can help you, too!

One major factor in deciding between a home addition versus a teardown is the laws and regulations that protect historical properties. You may run into an expensive and time-consuming obstacle convincing the township to approve of your teardown. In this instance, you have a couple of options to consider. First, you can walk through the property to determine if you need a full teardown or if you can keep elements like the framing, foundation, original moldings, etc. By working with your local historical society to keep important parts of the home intact, you may be able to get your permits approved. Second, you can consider adding on to the existing home by meeting the design and material requirements of your town. Home addition costs are largely impacted by what you’re required to preserve by way of the original style and structure of the home. Doing your research here will help you understand what’s expected of you so you can make an informed decision from the beginning.

Next, you want to take a look at the median house price for your desired neighborhood. Towns like Montclair and Glenridge (the 07043 area) generally sit at around a median price of $750k. By understanding the general cost of the home versus the increase in property value you can expect when modernizing a home with an addition, you get the bigger picture of what’s really in it for you – and your neighbors! Certain types of renovation and add-ons bring a higher percentage of value with them than others. For example, by renovating your kitchen for say $80,000 you can expect to add about a 60% increase in your total property value on top of your spending. Whereas if you’re adding on a family room at $80,000 you’d expect to only increase your property by less than half of your total spend. So your home addition costs start to feel like they’re shrinking when you make smart remodeling moves like adding on dormers, building a deck/outdoor living space, an attic bedroom, or an additional bathroom. So, purchasing a home for around $750k but ending up with a new property value of over $1M sounds like an incredible investment in your neighborhood and for the legacy of your family.

Lastly, you want to consider what your investment means for your community. If you’re already considering purchasing your home in the Essex County area, then consider the impact of a teardown. Does tearing down detract from the heritage of the area? Or does your modernization bring more value to the township enhancing the quality of life for future generations? Could an increase in property value attract new business opportunities for your downtown? Whether you purchase a charming old home with the intention of building onto it or tearing it down for something new, you will play an important role in your neighborhood. You’ll be increasing the value of everyone’s home and providing your family with a stable future in a location you absolutely love. 

To make the best decision possible for your family, we invite you to consider the kind of experience you’re hoping for when designing your dream home: do you want to spend your time restoring original elements or designing something brand new from scratch? Both are winning scenarios!

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