Love your block but not your house? The 9 questions to ask yourself before you knock down and rebuild.

Thanks to our brand partner, Metricon

Move over beards and bad dates, apparently your house can give you “the ick” now. 

As a serial home renovator, I’m part of a lot of social media groups about renovating, building and flipping houses. Recently I’m seeing a lot of long-form rants from people who have fallen out of love with the homes they once adored. 

The language is very relationship-ish. One poster was heartbroken over the “breakup”…with her house. Another claimed “it’s not you it’s me...". Again, to her house. 

And, I really get it. 

Life unfolds, and walls that you once lovingly painted start feeling a bit too close together. Physical outgrowing your home is the easy part – your family expands, and suddenly, rooms shrink. Toys breed like rabbits, and the once pristine living room morphs into chaos. But it's more than square footage; it's an emotional shift too. The kitchen becomes a dumping ground for school bags, your laptop and 64 water bottles. You find yourself yearning for spaces that mirror your family's growth – rooms for new hobbies, quiet corners for working from home, not having to queue for your own bathroom and storage areas that don't resemble a skip bin.

The seemingly obvious solution is to move. But moving is hard. There are hefty costs associated with selling and buying, not to mention major upheaval for the kids, especially if that involves changing schools. When you’re raising a family, community makes all the difference – I’m only a year into the Kindy experience and I couldn’t imagine leaving my friends and support system behind. 


Moving doesn’t guarantee you’ll find your perfect match in a house though and a renovation of an existing building can only go so far. If you want a bespoke home designed to your preferences, you’ll need to knockdown and rebuild.

I know that sounds dramatic, expensive and stressful, but if you work with the right builder it can ease a lot of those things. 

Metricon is one of Australia’s most trusted home building companies, with 45 years of industry experience, award-winning home designs and lifetime structural guarantees. They offer a KnockDown Rebuild (KDRB) service for properties, helping homeowners build a property that exactly matches their needs and maximises the block they’re already on. So you can stay in the Melbourne neighbourhood you love, no need to relocate or navigate a whole new school and friendship system.

Building can be filled with horror stories, but working with an established business like Metricon means you avoid unexpected renovation costs and enjoy clear, upfront budgeting. Plus, you get to benefit from the warranties and guarantees that come with building a new home rather than doing a partial renovation.

My own latest two projects have been complete knockdown rebuilds. Compared to the previous partial renovations, I actually found this way much easier. While the timeline for a KDRB is longer, it’s more predictable (typically 12-18 months). When we did piecemeal changes to our first house, we were living in a building site for the best part of three years as we gradually upgraded the kitchen, redid the bathrooms, and fixed the garden. At the end of the rolling renovations I still don’t think we nailed the overall functionality of the house, somehow we still had a rarely used separate dining room with a rising damp problem.


That said, a major project isn’t always for everyone. Here are 9 questions to ask yourself if you’re deciding whether to knockdown and rebuild, renovate or move.

1. Are there Council constraints?

Most Councils have rules for renovations or rebuilding. This information is usually available on their website, but not always with the clarity you need, so this is where it pays to work with a builder and/or architect with experience in the local area. Councils often have specific requirements – think maximum building height, the percentage of the property that can be built on and how close you can build to the boundary. 

All three of my house projects have been in heritage conservation areas, which did limit our options. But it’s still possible to renovate or rebuild in this scenario, as long as you’re happy to adapt your dreams to fit in with the rest of the houses in the area. If you are in a heritage area, and your vision won’t align with the area's architectural character – you could save yourself months of rejected applications and either modify or move. 


2. What’s your budget?

Any building project is a budget balancing act. The first thing you need to do is figure out how much you can afford to spend in total. Then forecast your costs by getting quotes.

Surprisingly, a renovation might cost more than a full KDRB if you’re looking at a full home makeover. This is because the cost per square metre is significantly higher when you’re trying to retain and restore existing features versus rebuilding from scratch. So your cost will depend on the size of your project. 

Make sure you include the costs of relocation too. This includes moving costs, storing your furniture and potential rental expenses during construction. Working with a trusted builder like Metricon means you avoid unexpected renovation costs and benefit from budgeting that's transparent and upfront.

3. Do you have somewhere to live for 12-18 months?

On average, a well managed KDRB takes anywhere from a year to 18 months. During this time you won’t (legally or physically) be able to live in your home until you get an Occupation Certificate. If renting isn’t an option, consider whether you have family you could live with, and be sure to think about what kind of additional logistics (and stressors) that can create for you and your own family or relationship during this process. 

4. What’s the layout of your home?

Does your current home make the most of your block? Are there rooms or areas that you don’t use? Do you get enough light inside or maybe too much? These are all fundamental design issues. A partial renovation can combine key areas, open spaces up to create more light and even give you that master ensuite you’ve been dying to add. However, if there are load-bearing walls or plumbing structures that are stopping you from rearranging the floor plan you’ll likely need to rebuild. 


5. Is your family complete?

There are no guarantees in life, except how sure I am that we are not having any more than 3 kids! Ever. This impacted our decision to rebuild, renovate or move on because it dictated the number of bedrooms we needed to fit into the house. If you’re planning to start a family, you also need to think about the schools and daycare in your area as this might sway your decision to stay. 

If you’re likely to take on a caring role for your parents or elderly relatives in the future, another consideration is to think about accessibility and/or proximity to care facilities.

6. How much do you rely on your support network and where are they based?

I believe there’s only one true parenting hack: live near the grandparents. 

Yes, you can put a bunch of caveats around this, some families are more helpful than others, but living mere minutes from my parents is the core reason my husband and I have been able to work full-time, run a business and raise three children without completely sacrificing our physical and mental health. Friends and fellow school parents can be a huge help too, as well as paid support like babysitters, nannies or a creche. Calculate how many hours a week you rely on your current network and consider how you’ll replace it before choosing to move. 


7. Do you want to add solar panels?

If the rising cost of living has you worrying about future energy bills (or our entire climate crisis), you might be thinking about adding solar panels to your roof. As a general rule: north-facing panels will give maximum solar output. In sunny Australia, even east and west-facing panels generate a good yield but you should avoid south-facing panels. Consider whether your current roof layout will allow for panels to be configured in this way.

8. How healthy is your home?

If your house is in good condition, a renovation is a practical and cost-effective option. Water damage, termite issues or poor quality original building materials might make a KDRB or a move a more reasonable choice, especially when repairs are significant and ongoing. 

9. How old is your home?

The age of your home is also important; older homes with structural issues make rebuilding a more viable option. Older homes are also more likely to be covered under your Council's heritage requirements, which might make a KDRB or renovation more complex. You can find out your home's age through contracts, sewer plans, or council records.

Have you completed a rebuild or renovation? What questions would you add to consider before jumping in? Tell us in the comments.

Check out Metricon's KnockDown Rebuild service, to help you build a contemporary new home that suits your lifestyle, in your favourite Melbourne suburb.

Feature Image: Instagram/@redfernrenovation/Metricon.

With over 45 years of experience, Australia’s leading home builder, Metricon, has crafted thousands of homes for growing families, consistently delivering innovative designs and superior quality.