2/4/13 Build a Custom Home or Renovate an Old One

Renovating is Work


Buying and selling real estate and renovating homes has been a part of my life for over 30 years. One of my recent projects was renovating a 1965 home. It had one owner in 47 years, was in immaculate condition, but had only been updated once (in the ‘80s). I did one walk-through with the Realtor and knew; I could not live in it without adding my own personal touch. The outdated cabinets, the faux wood paneling, and the faux wood counter tops all had to go including that old house smell. I wanted granite counter-tops. I wanted new light fixtures. Most importantly, I wanted it to reflect my taste, not the previous owner’s. I think most of us want our homes to reflect who we are.




A Lack of Choices and Time


While it might be satisfying to take something old and outdated and make it look new and updated, it is a lot of work and not an inexpensive proposition. Having more choices when it came to new flooring, counter-tops, and bathroom fixtures would have been nice, too. The limited choices at the local hardware stores were somewhat frustrating not to mention the time and expense of running back and forth for supplies.

Custom orders at specialty shops were an option but almost always more expensive. Then there were the months we spent looking at houses before we found one with a floor plan we thought might work for us. Just those things alone and I have to admit that I found myself fantasizing about how easy building a custom home would have been compared to renovating. Now, sitting in a showroom and browsing catalogs sounds like Christmas shopping compared to another tedious trip to my local home improvement store.




The Advantages of Custom Building


Stanbrooke Custom Homes has several floor plans to choose from and all of them can be used as a starting point and customized to fit your needs so floor plans need never be a problem. All of the plans include an impressive list of Standard Features with a large assortment of flooring, counter-top, and lighting choices; Shaw carpeting, Mohawk flooring, and Rodda paint, just to name a few.



Standard Features included in a Stanbrooke Custom Home

• Site Feasibility Assessment

• Permit Submittal Service

• Engineered House Plans for your site

• Turnkey 24” foundation – no hidden charges

• Design Consultant Meetings to finalize design elements

• Fiber Cement (Hardi-plank or equivalent) Siding on all four sides

• Stylish Exterior Designs with roof pitches of 6/12 or higher, Fascia boards,
enclosed front porch soffits, and basic window wraps in front

• Gas or propane fireplace (except Canterbury)

• 30-year Architectural Composition Roof with Ridge Venting

• Fiberglass shower and tub fixtures with “tile look”

• Exterior hose bibs, electrical outlets, porch and garage lights

• Choice of decorative light fixture packages, including can lighting in kitchen

• Range, microwave/hood, dishwasher, and ice-maker box for
future hook up

• Telephone and coaxial cable outlets

• Interior paint

• 6 Panel pre-painted white interior doors with embossed mill-work trim

• Closet Shelving

• Choice of bath and door hardware

• Birch recessed panel cabinets in kitchen and baths

• And much more


In addition, our Autograph series includes the following:

• Nine foot ceilings on the main floor

• Exterior paint – Body, trim and accent color choices

• Insulated metal garage door with transom windows

• Tongue & Groove front porch soffit and enclosed soffits on all sides.

• Exterior concrete package per plan

• Final construction cleaning of home prior to move-in

• Centralized gas (or electric) furnace

(For a complete list of Autograph Standard Features, click here)


The items to be replaced or remodeled in 1965 home:


(Keep in mind that this home was in better-than-average condition for its age, built with quality products, and we got it at a fair price.)

• Cedar siding

• Outdated fascia boards and no porches to speak of

• Two fireplaces; one flue rusted shut

• Outdated tiny plastic shower stalls

• Had to replace all electrical outlets, porch and garage lights

• Outdated light fixtures. Installation of can lights meant a trip to the attic.

• Outdated and malfunctioning appliances. Most needed replaced or fixed.

• Telephone and coaxial cable outlets – all outdated.

• Interior paint – all outdated. Hired a painter for all of it.

• Flat doors with outdated mill-work and hardware

• Bath hardware so outdated it sang

• All cabinets ; original 1965 which meant some complications such as the cabinet housing the sink only allowed for an 8” bowl. Most sinks sold today are 9”.

• 7’10” ceilings on the main floor

• Exterior paint – Body, trim and accent color choices all outdated

• Garage doors non-insulated; not to code, no windows

• Exterior concrete repairs needed

• No A/C

• No assistance with permitting







Of course there are other factors to consider but if you are trying to decide between renovating an older home or building a custom home, take it from me and at least ask yourself this, “How much work do I want to do or pay someone else to do and how much time do I have to do it” and “how valuable is my time?” Then, visit the Stanbrooke Homebuilding Process page to answer any further questions you might have.


*Order a Free Plan Catalog with no obligation.





Rebekah Gregory Guest Blogger