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Renovate, or remove and build?

Posted 19 months ago | By Latitude Homes

before and after NZ163 east cape

Renovate or remove and build new?

With interest rates at a historic low, many New Zealanders are looking to capitalise on the low borrowing rates to invest back into their own properties by updating, adding on, or undertaking significant renovations. This makes a lot of sense as the family home is for many Kiwi’s their most valuable asset, and one that will continue to accrue in value as the population spread is pushed further and further away from the main cities. One way to realise this value faster is to make improvements on the home and the first thought most people will have is to renovate.


The hidden costs of renovation


What lurks underneath?

You may have heard the phrase “Expect the unexpected”. The Hurricanes Super Rugby franchise used this as a marketing slogan back in the ’90s and with good reason - you never knew what was going to happen - except that 80 minutes of watching would leave you bewildered and ultimately let down.

Ask anyone who has renovated a home and they will tell a similar story, unexpected costs, lengthy delays, rot hiding under rot, sunken piles and dodgy compliance. Bringing an existing home up to code, strengthening sunken structures whilst trying to fit to an existing floor plan based on a lifestyle of 30-80 years ago will generally mean overcapitalising on your initial idea of your home renovation. You will get there in the end, but many will have thrown their hands in the air at some point and yelled, “we may as well have built new”.


You may as well have built new

Considering the value in the land that you already own and the considerable difficulties described above, removing your existing home and building new on your existing land suddenly sounds like a very attractive option, doesn’t it?

 foundation slab


Latitude Homes have helped many in this space, and removing a home to leave a valuable piece of land a blank canvas, suddenly opens up many more opportunities for your home design.

 Lynch Framing


The benefits of removing and building a new home.

Being able to reconfigure the floor plan to suit the sun or the prevailing winds, adding a garage where you once had to park on the street and redefining the outdoor living areas are all bonuses to working without the constraints of your old home's position on the land.

You will not have to deal with the hidden surprises hiding behind rotting weatherboards or sunken piles but start fresh with a home that is substantially warmer, drier, and more energy-efficient. 

It is also likely that you brought the home initially because you liked the area, the schools were suitable for your kids or that you were close to transport or your place of employment. None of this changes when you build on your existing land, you remain in touch with neighbours and friends nearby and there is no settling into new schools.

whakamaru front

The 159sqm Whakamaru or the larger 189 sqm Lowburn (below) are both designed to suit narrow sections. 


Perhaps your section is large enough to accommodate two homes? By subdividing as part of the process you not only make better use of your land but with an effectively designed plan for a narrow section you may end up with the same floor area you already had as well as another home to sell or rent out. This would far outweigh the financial benefits of renovating.

What are the steps to remove or knock down your home for the new build?

knock down home


  1. Remove or knock down the existing home.
    The first thing we need to do is a site assessment - this will allow us to
    understand the logistics of removing your home, whether it can be removed for relocation or sale or if not, then the safe demolition of the home and removal of materials. We need to think about any hazardous materials, access, and the safety of transporting your house to another location. The costs for this process vary but are not a large portion of your total rebuild.

  2. Planning for your site.
    Now that we have a blank canvas to work from we are able to work with you to make the best use of your site to suit how you live your life at home. We get to understand any local covenants and apply for any permits associated with building in your area.

  3. Designing your plan.
    The dream phase. Here you get to either select from our existing range, adapt the plan to suit or have us design a bespoke home unique to you and your family.

  4. Build.
    The time has come for your new home to take shape as our builders commence a brand new home suited to your lifestyle making better use of your existing land and improving the value immensely.


Is it better to renovate or build new?

It’s clear that renovating has its pitfalls, and depending on the size of your renovation plans, removing or demolishing your existing home and building new makes far better economical sense. 

It will help you to realise more value in your home, decrease energy costs through better insulation, heating and cooling, position your home for better sun and warmth, provide better flow, storage solutions and better suit your family’s needs.

Depending on the size of your section may even allow you to subdivide and realise even more value in your existing section, potentially covering the majority of the costs of your new build.

A brand new home that increases the value of your whole property, right in the neighbourhood that you know and love, plus the potential to subdivide sounds like a pretty good outcome to us. 

Before you pick up that sledgehammer, pick up the phone and talk to Latitude Homes about making the most of your section.


Built with Latitude Homes Waikato. Being a first-home buyer on a budget with all the stress and questions, Darrin has been hands-on from day one. He guided us, explained our options and walked us throughout the built. The team delivered what we wanted and on-time. Communication was great during the build, keeping in touch when the build stopped during the Covid-19 lockdown and even months after the handover Darrin is still there to support if you have queries.
My family is happy of our new home. Darrin and Latitude team made it happen.
More power Darrin and Latitude Homes.
Raul Alonte