When the time comes time to rethink one’s living space, many Quebecers face the same dilemma: “should I rebuild or renovate”? While there’s no definitive answer, 5 important criteria can help you make a smart choice. Stay informed with these tips from Habitations Plani-Conseil’s experts.


1. Assess your needs

Before deciding on a new construction or renovation, take the time to consider your objectives properly. It’s crucial to have a clear understanding of why you want to change your living space in the first place.

For instance, the following scenarios should have you leaning toward a new construction:

  • You want to change neighbourhoods 
  • You want to customize your living environment

Conversely, when it comes to renovating your home, you’re likely favouring:

  • Your current location: if you’ve paid off your property, staying put may be a good option.
  • Your proximity to certain amenities: close to schools, hospitals, etc.
  • Refinancing options: you can leverage the value of your existing home to finance your renovations.


2. Compare costs

Contrary to what many believe, new constructions don’t necessarily cost more than renovating your entire home. Indeed, it can often cost less to build on vacant land and even buy an existing house than to demolish and rebuild.

Why? Because building new often requires fewer constraints (i.e., protecting the worksite from the elements). When renovating, you must account for countless existing factors, including major ones such as wiring! The process of preparing and protecting the workspace is very long and complex. In fact, in many cases, plumbing and electrical systems must be relocated to carry out the necessary work, which unquestionably raises the project’s price tag.

Of course, if you only want to renovate one room in your home, costs will be lower. But if you want to transform everything, building from scratch can be a more economical option. So, before choosing, seriously consider the costs inherent in your project as well as potential financing methods (in French only).


3. Evaluate different government programs

Government incentives for green renovations have multiplied over the years. Consider programs such as RénoVert or Rénoclimat.

Subsidies offered by these programs are aimed primarily at energy savings as well as stimulating the economy, healthy communities, and greater accessibility for people with reduced mobility. Rebates offered by these programs are advantageous to those who plan on carrying out renovations. Savings are often equivalent to taxes.


4. Verify your municipality’s standards and bylaws

Thinking about doing it yourself? Think long and hard! There’s no room for error; if a decision you make doesn’t conform to zoning regulations, building codes, or bylaws, you’re the one paying the price.

To avoid unpleasant surprises and ensure your project meets your municipality’s standards, it’s always best to call a professional. Otherwise, you have to consider an endless litany of factors such as:

  • The height of the guardrails
  • Common walls
  • The fire resistance level
  • Unprotected openings
  • The building convergence ratio
  • The area of the exposing building face

If this all sounds a little alien to you, seriously consider talking to a pro!

It’s also worth noting that if you have an old home with certain non-compliant elements, you can benefit from a grandfather clause, provided you preserve the house and don’t rebuild it entirely.


5. Considering heritage

Whether you choose to renovate or rebuild, it’s important to think about the legacy you leave for your loved ones. Whatever your decision, your structure should stand the test of time, preserving the property’s history and integrity.

More than anything, quality work that helps your estate endure is a big win for everyone!