Do you own an older house, did you inherit your parents' house or do you want to buy a house from the 1950s to the 1980s? In the next few years, many homeowners will sell their old houses because they can no longer maintain the house, they are moving from a large house to a smaller apartment building or their descendants do not want to inherit the house or cannot finance it. Almost two thirds of the houses and flats in Switzerland were built before 1981. Many of these are now so old that they need to be renovated or demolished and replaced by a new building. Various reasons speak in favour of one or the other variant. The decision depends on architectural, structural, building law, emotional, energy and financial considerations.
The building fabric of many houses from the 1950s to the 1980s is rock solid and lasts practically forever. However, older houses often have weak points. For example, a leaky roof, an old electrical system, a weathered façade, windows that no longer close completely, damp in the basement, a heating system that is no longer energy efficient or lead or steel water pipes that should be replaced for health reasons. The components are broken or outdated and do not meet today's requirements for energy efficiency or living comfort. In addition, architectural requirements change over time. Older bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms, for example, are often smaller and less bright than modern houses or flats. Of course, walls can be moved or removed, for example to create an open-plan kitchen or a larger bathroom, but structural engineering sets limits. The architecture and floor plan cannot be changed at will.
Good to know: In the past, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, problematic building materials were sometimes used, for example roof sealants containing asbestos or cement with formaldehyde or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Such materials must be disposed of properly.
Tip: Use our renovation calculator to find out what measurements are due and how much the renovation will approximately cost. Our construction experts will answer all your questions about bathroom or kitchen renovation.
An old renovated building usually costs less than a new replacement building. As soon as you change the architecture and floor plans or want to bring an old house up to the latest energy standards, the costs of conversion and renovation can rise quickly and sharply. The more extensive the renovation measures, the more worthwhile it is to demolish and build a new replacement building. Two typical examples:
Good to know: With new heating, better external insulation and modern, insulated double-glazed windows, you can save about 60% on electricity. Energy efficiency measures are generally cheaper for new buildings than for old ones.
This question cannot be answered so simply with 'yes' or 'no'. Many minor factors play a role that should be taken into account. From an economic point of view, a new building is worthwhile in 10-20% of cases. However, it can be worthwhile as soon as the renovation costs reach about three quarters of the costs of demolition and new construction. On the one hand, older houses lose value more quickly because they often cannot be brought up to the energy standards of a new building even through a complete renovation. On the other hand, you can plan, design and furnish your new home according to your wishes, whereas with an old renovated building you always have to make small or big compromises. Conclusion: there is no cost limit to the decision - the closer the renovation costs are to the costs of demolition and new construction, the sooner you have to think about a new replacement building.
Tip: Do not forget demolition costs when budgeting for new construction. Construction materials and components must be sorted and disposed of properly.
Before deciding whether to renovate or rebuild you should find out about any building regulations. It is possible that new buildings today are subject to different use, building mass or floor area figures, boundary and construction distances or restrictions on length, height or number of floors than in the past. This could affect your conversion or new building plans or throw them off course. That's why you should consult building laws and regulations in good time or ask experts such as a realtor from our partner network who knows all the cantonal regulations and can give you competent consultation.
The two most popular renovation measures for older houses and flats are bathroom and kitchen renovation. If you want to renovate your bathroom and/or kitchen, it is best to hire a sanitation professional or kitchen specialist. In our network of partners you will find experts in your region who will manage the renovation project, plan the measures, assess the costs, monitor compliance and supervise the renovation. With just a few details about the project, the house and the services, you can get a free offer from our verified house builders. The two most popular renovation projects for older houses and flats are bathroom and kitchen renovations. If you want to renovate your bathroom and/or kitchen, it is best to hire a builder. In our network of partners, you will find experts in your region who will manage the renovation project, plan the measures, assess the costs, monitor compliance and control the renovation. With just a few details about the project, the house and the services, you will receive up to three free offers.
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