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When to Tear Down and Rebuild or Relocate?

As the community pushes forward to rebuild after Hurricane Ian, many homeowners have to make a tough choice: tear down their home and rebuild, or move to a new home.

Watch this YouTube video of my take on this topic:


When is the best time to tear down the house or build a new one in Southwest Florida? Here are a few factors to consider before deciding:

1. Building Age and Value

When land value outweighs property value, that’s when it makes the most sense. Town and River, for instance, is one of the few communities where tear-downs and rebuilds are common. This is due to the community’s older homes, constructed in the 1960s and 1970s, amidst newer, upscale riverfront residences.

With the typical lifespan of a house in the United States ranging from 50 to 60 years, they may require significant improvements and renovations to adhere to newer standards and codes, prompting consideration for teardown and reconstruction.

2. Elevation

On the other hand, elevation can be another factor for consideration. The NFIP delineates and maps flood hazards, outlining flood zones within regions with a 1% annual risk of flooding.

The program then aims to reduce flood-related losses by introducing requirements for substantial improvement and substantial damage (SI/SD). Substantial Damage pertains to any damage suffered by a structure where the expense of restoring it to its pre-damaged state equals or surpasses 50% of its market value.

Homes that have sustained substantial damage must then adhere to floodplain regulations, requiring flood-proofing or elevation to meet building codes. With the base flood elevation rising, it may become impractical to keep homes in low-lying areas prone to flooding. Therefore, homeowners may opt to raise their base flood elevation by adding fill dirt or building new homes in elevated areas. Meanwhile, recent news shows that some are already taking extreme measures, like lifting their existing homes onto stilts to escape flood zones.

When deciding between tearing down and rebuilding or moving to a new home, you should take the above-mentioned factors into account. Overlooking essential upgrades due to emotional attachment could compromise the safety and resilience of your home against natural disasters.

It is important to balance sentimentality and practicality to ensure the long-term well-being of your family and property. By prioritizing safety and future-proofing of their homes, homeowners can navigate the difficult situation of choosing between rebuilding or moving to a new home with assurance and peace of mind.

If you require guidance on whom to contact, whether you’re considering rebuilding or elevating your home, or seeking a flood-free property, feel free to consult your local real estate agents for expert recommendations.

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