The decision to tear down a house instead of renovating might seem like a scary idea to some. However, it’s probably the best option for certain properties. Some houses have deteriorated beyond repair, while others simply have pest problems. In a lot of cases, especially in beach towns, the land that a structure sits on might be more desirable to buyers than the house itself.
Whatever the reason, you can expect certain expenses right from the beginning of a demolition project. Unfortunately, other costs might also creep up on you unexpectedly. However, you still have the power to contain these costs and even decrease them with just a little homework beforehand.
Here’s how to take control of house demolition costs:
- Find the right contractor.
Start the entire process the correct way by hiring a great contractor. Discuss your overall goals and expectations of the project so that everyone stays on the same page. Your contractor should know exactly what to do to make the most of your budget while not cutting corners. Outline a clear contract so you know and understand what you’re paying for along with the timeline of the project. This solid first step will keep you informed and in control.
- Deconstruction or demolition? Both of these methods of tearing down a house are favorable, depending on what your end goal is. Deconstruction is when salvageable building materials of a home get stripped away and reused or recycled. Usually these parts are donated to organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Demolition, on the other hand, involves heavy machinery that knocks down a house completely. As far as upfront costs go, the latter is definitely cheaper and faster. However, deconstruction saves in the long run. Donating your reusable materials gives you the opportunity to claim tax deductions, and this money may equal or even overshadow initial investment costs. So you stand to make money off of those old windows, nails, doors, and floorboards!
- Get your permits. Since tearing down a home brings with it drastic changes to a property, you’ll definitely need a demolition permit. Check with your city and county officials for the proper paperwork, though most contractors handle this part of the process for you. Contractors should also notify utility companies that gas, electrical, and water lines will be turned off. If you don’t get the proper permits or ignore county regulations, you’re likely to get slapped with a hefty fine, which takes a considerable chunk out of your budget.
- Research recyclers. Look up recyclers in your area and what type of materials they handle. You’ll most likely have to pay for this service so make sure you shop around. Recycle your house materials instead of piling them in a landfill somewhere.
- Advertise in local classifieds.
Try putting an ad in the local paper or online at Craigslist that offers your materials at a low price to anyone interested. You’d be surprised at what people look for. People can also come and remove the items themselves, making your project that much easier. In other words, you can make money without putting in too much effort!
- Have a yard sale.
Similar to classifieds, you can hold a yard sale with the recovered house parts. You can easily attract those that look for great buys while having cash in hand. Plus, you’ll be able to attract those who can’t do the physical work of deconstruction but still want your salvageable parts.
- Sell to a salvage yard.
That unwanted electrical wire and copper piping could be sold to a local salvage yard. You can make $500 or more just on your old pipes and wire. Just be sure to separate all of these pieces for convenience.
Tearing down a house doesn’t have to break the bank before you even begin building your dream home. Finding little ways to manage demolition expenses helps you focus your budget on future construction. Plus, saving or even making money while staying in control of this project will guarantee you a more enjoyable experience.
If you need help calculating construction costs quickly and easily, try our Cost Estimating Tool.