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Building Homes or Extensions/new home on lot with existing home


Hello Stephen,

I have a 1/2 acre lot with a 1962 ranch house, love the area and our corner lot, we have been thinking rather than move to a new location to purchase a recently built house

, put a new home, either stick build or prefab on our current lot.

My q is.. how does one go about starting the process- does the old house get demolished?-( I still have a house note on it)
 I have heard there are companies that buy the old house and move the entire house.-does this actually exist?
as an expert  are projects like this more likely to be cost prohibitive?



Tearing down an existing house to build a new one is a fairly common practice.   It makes sense if the land is worth enough (either $ or emotionally) that the added expense of the demolition and the loss of the asset (the building) are acceptable.  Asking a real estate appraiser to do a rough before and after valuation is a good place to start.  And you will need to work out the plan with your bank, since they have title interest in the house.  In most cases, these projects require significant out-of-pocket capital outlay on your part.

A couple of things to think about:

ALWAYS present your intentions to the local building/zoning office before spending any money or doing anything.  There may be lot line setback issues with a new house, or architectural restrictions, or driveway placement issues, or sewer /water issues, etc.  Get their input first before moving ahead.

The demolition may cost anywhere from $10K to over $40K, depending on whether or not asbestos is present.  Most municipalities will not issue a demolition permit without a certified asbestos survey first.  If asbestos is found (it may be in flooring, drywall, plaster, ceiling tiles, roofing, etc.) you may be able to remove it yourself.  The regulations in most areas allow a homeowner to remove it themselves.  But if you hire the work out, it becomes subject to stricter regulation.

Best of luck, and let me know if you have any other questions.

Steve Major

Building Homes or Extensions

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Stephen Major (Owner--Major Design Group)


I can answer any questions regarding the design and construction of homes and additions. This includes trade-specific questions (how-to) in all major building trades: framing, foundations, site prep, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, water treatment, interior finishing, trim & cabinetwork, exterior finishing, roofing, siding. PLEASE indicate your state or region, so I can provide the best possible answer. PLEASE provide photos whenever possible.


30 years experience in building design and construction, all hands-on, including the construction of dozens of single-family homes and hundreds of remodeling projects in the northeastern US.

Author: "Architectural Woodwork - Details for Construction" published by Van Nostrand Reinhold (now Wiley).

BS Cornell University.

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