If I have a choice between renovation and teardown, how do I decide?
Usually the key factors are the current condition of the house and what you want out of a new house.
Older homes can have severe problems that make them financially unfeasible to repair, such as heavy infestations of mold or pests, extensive water damage undermining the foundation or footings or roof damage from wind or rot. They often have interior layouts that are difficult to rearrange for modern uses and outmoded components that all need to be replaced — at significant cost — whether you tear the house down or try to renovate it.
Ask yourself: Do I want a home that is energy efficient, from windows to doors to kitchen appliances? Wired for all the sophisticated electronics we use today? With room layouts that make sense for the style of living you want for you and your family? If you can’t get what you want at a reasonable cost by renovating, then demolition and new construction may be your inevitable answer.