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Should I Build, Buy, or Remodel?

Washington State homeowners might assume that a team of Snohomish County remodelers will always recommend remodeling to prospective clients. They might imagine that team saying a whole home remodel takes less time, causes less stress and costs less money than building or buying. It is true that remodeling an existing home can cost less money and take less time than building a house. There are lots of financing options available to homeowners who opt to remodel, while there are fewer for those hoping to build. Buying a fixer-upper or updating the home you already have can also require less time and money than buying a brand-new house. After all, the competition for vacant land in new subdivisions is fierce these days! Still, remodeling is not the right choice for every homeowner. An older home with significant damage to its foundation, electrical or plumbing could become a much more expensive, time-consuming project than initially expected. Building a new house could afford the homeowner absolute control over the form and function of each space. In this post, we answer the age-old question "should I buy, build or remodel?" Read along as our team of Snohomish County contractors and remodelers answers all your frequently asked questions about building, buying and remodeling.

FAQs About Buying, Building and Whole Home Remodeling Snohomish County

You might be considering homeownership for the first time, or you might be deciding whether to move away from your current house. Either way, there are many pros and cons to consider before taking the plunge. To help you choose, our Snohomish County remodelers answer FAQs about building, buying and remodeling below.

How Much Does a New Home in Snohomish County Cost?

Calculating the cost of remodelingAccording to newly published metrics from Redfin, "Snohomish County home prices were up 5.4%" in November 2022 compared to the same time in 2021. Homes in Snohomish County, Washington sold for a "median price of $685K." In King County -- which is home to Seattle -- homes sold for a median $760K last November.

Snohomish County is still in a seller's market, meaning the demand for homes currently outweighs the supply. In turn, this means that buyers have less leverage over homebuying conditions than sellers do. According to FRED data from the St. Louis Fed, the median sales price of houses sold in the United States during Q3 of 2022 was $454.9K.

Is it Cheaper to Build, Buy or Remodel?

Couple looking at housePerhaps the most frequently asked question on this list is whether it is cheaper to build, buy or remodel a house. In their article "Ask The Contractor: Building A New House Vs. Renovating An Old One" for Forbes, Deane Biermeier and Lexie Pelchen answer. According to Biermeier, Pelchen and the contractors they interviewed for the article, "it’s almost always less expensive to renovate an existing house."

While costs vary wildly from one part of the country to the next, remodeling does typically cost less. Biermeier and Pelchen write that "home renovation costs around $100 per square foot to complete." However, purchasing a home "comes in at around $120 per square foot." Building a brand-new house costs even more -- "about $150 per square foot on average."

Keep in mind that these are national averages. The cost per square foot of remodeling, buying and building will be significantly higher in the Pacific Northwest.

What Influences the Cost of Whole Home Remodel?

The cost of a whole home remodel can rapidly accelerate if the homeowners do not know the history of the house or subsequent repairs. After all, the cost of a whole home remodel depends on the home's condition, access to labor and supplies and so many other factors.

Permitting fees also vary from one county to the next. To understand the true cost of a whole home remodel, download our Remodeling Cost Guide. Alternatively, consult with your Snohomish County contractors here.

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How long and how much money it takes to build a brand-new house depends on similar factors. The cost of buying a new house is influenced by how hot the market is in your area and how high interest rates are. How long it takes to find that house also depends on competition in your area.

How Long Does it Take to Remodel a Whole House According to Marysville Contractors?

Framing for pocket doorsAs noted above, there are many factors that influence the cost of a whole home remodel. Similarly, there are many factors that influence the timeline of a whole home remodel. Your location and access to building materials will impact the timeline.

The availability of local labor, permitting process and project complexity will also affect how long a whole home remodel will take. In general, a whole home remodel can take anywhere from three months to two years.

Perhaps most telling is how the homeowner and his or her remodeling team approach their project. Homeowners who remodel one room at a time are in for a longer process than those who renovate an entire floor at once. You can learn more about the whole home remodeling process here.

Is it Better to Build from Scratch or Renovate?

Building a houseThis next question is a difficult one to answer because it is largely a matter of preference. The answer differs from one homeowner to the next. Whether a rebuild or remodel is better for you and your family depends largely on your goals for the home. It also depends on your plans for the future. Everything from local zoning laws and the age of your home to financing and time constraints will impact your decision.

In "Should You Rebuild a House or Remodel a House?" for The Spruce, Lee Wallender provides a chart with pros and cons of each. Wallender writes that rebuilding might be the best choice for homeowners who plan to live in their home for many years to come. Of course, there are caveats to this claim. For example, you might build a home from the ground up in your 30s. If you plan to live there until your 80s, you will probably need to remodel at some point in the future. After all, our wants, needs and lifestyles change as we age.

If your budget is tight, you might consider renovating rather than rebuilding. You can live in your home while remodeling and will not need to seek alternative accommodations for the duration of your project. Financing is also typically easier and more affordable when remodeling versus building a new house. Current homeowners can refinance their existing mortgages, while new homeowners can bundle their home loan with a rehab loan.

However, it is not always less expensive to remodel. If your home is in extremely poor condition -- with key systems in serious disrepair -- a rebuild might be less costly than a remodel.

How Much Does a Full House Renovation Cost?

How muchAs detailed above, the cost of any renovation depends on a number of factors. It is difficult to pin down an exact number without knowing the location, age, size and condition of the home. However, most homeowners can assume a starting budget of at least $250k for their whole home remodel.

Your remodel's total cost will increase with the quality of materials you choose and the complexity of your project. Learn all about what to expect from a whole home remodel here.


Working with Snohomish County Contractors on Your Whole Home Remodel

If you choose to remodel rather instead of buying or rebuilding, consider working with a design-build firm in your area. Our team of Snohomish County remodelers understands all the ins and outs of renovating homes in Northwest Washington. With over thirty years of experience in the area, we know how to address every issue.

We can guide you through everything from the architectural planning and permitting processes to materials selections and interior design. Get in touch with your local Snohomish County contractors and remodelers here. Not sure what you want out of your whole home remodel? Take a look through our portfolio of recent projects for fresh inspiration!