This is a frequently asked question – particularly by the design & construct based part of the building industry.

The question of whether to “detonate” is one many homeowners have to face – particularly in view of the endless marketing by “volume builders” to do so….and the longer they ponder this prospect, the harder the answer appears to be. Who do you ask? Who will provide independent advice?

That’s where an informed conversation with an independent Archicentre Australia design architect can steer the way – cutting through the relative merits of retention or replacement – and focusing on the specifics of client needs, site circumstances, building condition/form (embedded advantages or disadvantages) possible costs and the like.

Families who live in the right place, but potentially in the wrong house can find a solution by renovating or redeveloping if guided by this informed architectural approach.

Prior to finding the right house, home buyers should seek out neighbourhoods for qualities they can check off like items on a wish list. They can consciously select areas close to work, near schools, public transport services, shopping facilities, parks, restaurants and intend to have a long involvement in the community. If special needs are required, they can renovate to suit.

“Building has been expensive over the last few years however, with the current COVID-19 economic climate and relatively low interest rates, renovation or building a new custom designed home is an attractive financial proposition.”

Those people who do move, don’t move far, often remaining in the community or a neighbouring area. “Moving is an expensive exercise with relocation costs up to $50,000 including loan fees, agent fees, removalist fees, and stamp duty costs. These are expensive fees and charges where the funds could be put to better use paying for renovating your home to improve your lifestyle.”

The Three Big Questions


On the face of it this is the easiest option to consider, but potentially the most costly and without intimate knowledge of the building’s condition or longer term ability to satisfy needs. It may require a further extension on a mortgage – so loan approval needs to be sought from the financial institution.

A sideways thought is to consider relocating and renovating in a regional town – where site size, entry level costs and lifestyle can appear attractive – and renting near your place of work. A post COVID-19 circumstance may not require any consideration for working near a “city base”.

This could set up life for retirement well ahead of it being a reactive move.


Knock it down provided you’ve received council approval. Pay a visit to display home villages or peruse standard house plans, but keep in mind, it’s rare to find a house that totally suits your needs and taste (and alterations to standard plans can be disproportionately costly). As well, build quality is a well known problem with “volume built” products. A safer effort is to seek a tailored architect designed new home.


If you want to maximise your property’s potential and you are not sure if it can be modified, whether it’s feasible or within reach of your budget, Renovation has a threefold advantage.  Investment in the established home does not attract capital gains tax when it is sold; people get to enjoy a better lifestyle; and they could in turn consider creating a self contained living area for generational living/rent.