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Tear down and rebuild OR second floor addition

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  • Jul 19th, 2011 11:45 pm
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Deal Addict
Mar 16, 2006
1708 posts
245 upvotes

Tear down and rebuild OR second floor addition

I live in a bungalow in North York close to finch subway station. It's 5 Min walk from Finch station on Cummer.

My family is growing so I am trying to decide if I should add a second floor or rebuild completely.

Current spec of the home is

67X130 frontage. House is set at the back of the lot.
Current market value of the house is $720,000
It's 50 year old brick house so insulation is terrible and very damp basement.

I had meeting with both custom home builder and second story addition people.

-Second story addition by Modular home
Total cost is about $350,000 for 1800 Sq/foot second floor
Plus side is we can live in the home while construction is being done.
We will have to renovate so we open up the fist floor bedrooms.
We will also have to re-insulate first floor and re-seal the basement from outside.
We will also have to landscape the whole yard to make it look up-to-date with the house.

After addition, home will be worth about 1 Mil (It will be about 3500 sq ft house)

- Custom Build

4000 sq/ft house + finished basement will cost $640,000 but will cost a lot more with upgrades + landscaping.
It will be worth about 1.5Mil

We will have to find a place to live for about a year which will cost another $15000+

I am not sure what the best way would be.

Does anyone have experience in adding second story or building new custom house?

Thanks.
11 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 24, 2008
2642 posts
557 upvotes
Toronto
In that area, if you have the money, go for the custom build. Are you east or west of Yonge? East of Yonge a second floor addition will look completely out of place. West of Yonge you might get away with it, but longterm I think a custom home is better value and you avoid all the hassle of propping up a new addition with an old foundation.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 16, 2006
1708 posts
245 upvotes
I am on the east side.

How do you finance a custom home?

If our house is paid off, do I get second mortgage to finance it?
Deal Addict
Sep 2, 2003
1088 posts
28 upvotes
In that area there is a company named Old Orchard Homes. Here is the weblink: http://www.oldorchardhomes.com/#!__page-0

Talk to Tony, he will create a masterpiece for you. By no means do I know him or am i trying to give him free advertising, but when I was looking at building a home, he was very helpfull and very good in his pricing. If you run through the dufferin/lawrence area...glencarin sort of area ....any new home in that area is most likely his build...he does amazing work...again from what I can see....

Last time i spoke to him he told me $150/sq/f is doable. of course ++++ depending what your looking for.

Let me know how it works out with him.
Sr. Member
Jan 30, 2006
618 posts
33 upvotes
I would discount the ability to live there while they are working. This will drive you crazy and probably cause minor health problems due to dust etc. All your stuff will be full of dust etc. Security from entry will be limited at times.

To me the killer is the setback of the old house on the lot. If you start fresh you get to re-align (as much as the city allows it) the house to balance the front and rear yards. IMHO front yard is mostly wasted space.
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2001
12803 posts
3678 upvotes
Why not just sell the existing house and find something that fits your needs that is already constructed, or is on an empty lot?

Remember, your house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Just because a realtor estimates it's worth does not mean that is what it will sell for in the end, especially if you are asking for a prediction based on the future (because it won't take a week to finish) and on unknown qualities of the house.

I'm sure the area is important to you (which is why you want to undertake this) so find a house with the specifications you want in that area. If there are no houses in your area that meet your criteria (for size and such) how do you expect to get the value out of your house when you sell it if it's the most expensive house in the neighbourhood?


In my 30 year old neighbourhood we have some custom-built homes with extremely large lots (1/4 acre). These homes have popped up for sale from time-to-time and never sell because their asking price is $300,000-$400,000 more than the average selling price in the neighbourhood.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 24, 2008
2642 posts
557 upvotes
Toronto
Here's a few things to think about:

- You have a huge lot on which you could potentially build a huge home (4,000 sq/ft+) - the question is, do you need that much space? Think about heating costs, property taxes, etc.
- If you don't need that big a house, would you consider selling the house, buying a house on a smaller lot for teardown? You will surely end up with a net profit that could go towards the house. On a 40' lot you could build a 2,500+ sq/ft 4-bedroom house - plenty for most people.
- The second floor addition is priced at close to $200 per sq/ft. From having talked to different builders, that's also a realistic price for a new build. The $150 quoted above is not realistic.
- If you're doing a new build, keep in mind that every option imaginable is open to you - think geothermal heating, solar panels, network wiring, full home automation, not to mention room sizing, stair placement, kitchen design etc. For some people this is exciting - for others it's scary.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 8, 2002
3545 posts
482 upvotes
Ottawa
No way should you try to do anything with that old house. I used to be on Wedgewood for a short time. The houses were great in the 50's when they were built, but you are asking for headaches opening up 50 year old walls.

If you can swing it, try to rebuild - I say that only because the location is excellent. If the location isn't important to you, sell, take the money, and run. But why go with a 4000 sq foot house? How many people in your family? Do you need that much space and are you willing to pay higher property taxes and utility bills that go along with it, too?

Also consider the value of having a basement suite you can rent for additional income to offset the mortgage payments. Being so close to shopping and subway, it will command a good rent.

Look at other tear-down-and-rebuild homes available for sale in the area to give you some ideas. Knock on the door and ask them how it went.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Dec 12, 2009
10645 posts
1653 upvotes
Toronto
The numbers don't add up that favorably. House as is $720k, complete reconstruction is $640k, rental living is $15k, total $1.375M. Expected value is $1.5M. That is a lot of risk and inconvenience for $125k. I think your rental is a bit low unless you plan on living in a basement for a year, comparable house rental would be closer to double that. By the numbers, it would end up being one huge move up for you, basically going to a property worth 2 times as much. Do you really need it? Shop the resale market and see if you can get what you really need and see how that cost compares to rebuild. The second floor addition does not sound too appealing either because the total will end up being over $1M for half a new home. If you go shopping with $1M target price, I think you will get a lot of options.
Deal Addict
Sep 2, 2003
1088 posts
28 upvotes
haven't been following all the posts..but not sure if anyone mentioned this to the OP yet or not..but DON'T forget that doing a reno sometimes is greatly more expensive than a total rebuild here's why: A total rebuild you will get charged a sq/f price and they whole place get's demo'ed and a new home will be built. With a addition, the addition will be built for the same amount of money per sq/f but then you need to factor in the costs to move all your first and second floor rooms around...usually the shuffle effect...since you will have all that extra space you will move your kitchen from the side of the house to the new back addition, then you will move your staircase to make more usuable space..then you move walls to open up the floor..etc. Then you move upstairs and do the same. By the time you move walls, replace drywall/flooring and I am sure wiring..plumbing...etc you will be looking at wanting to replace the whole place..it's easier...not to mention that you will have all new lumber...new foundation..etc.

Word of advice..if you haven't been given it yet. If you leave a part of an existing foundation...IE the cold room or one side of the old house's foundation then you will be concidered a reno. You take down all walls then it's a new build. The diff. one you will be taxed less and you will need to get less permits and less meetings with the adjustment panel.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Feb 24, 2003
11097 posts
677 upvotes
Toronto
wiresncode wrote:
May 5th, 2011 2:21 pm
I would discount the ability to live there while they are working. This will drive you crazy and probably cause minor health problems due to dust etc. All your stuff will be full of dust etc. Security from entry will be limited at times.

To me the killer is the setback of the old house on the lot. If you start fresh you get to re-align (as much as the city allows it) the house to balance the front and rear yards. IMHO front yard is mostly wasted space.

+1. I had my current home renovated from top to bottom and the noise, dust, inconvenience would have driven me crazy. I decided to stay in my old place until the renovations were 99% finished.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 19, 2003
16711 posts
3011 upvotes
Toronto (Bloor West …
That seems like a lot for an addition. Did you shop around?

I guess it's cheaper to add space at the back of a home than it is to add an entire new floor?
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