Should I Renovate, Tear Down, or Build on a New Lot?

When it comes to finding land in the Niagara Region, we’re no strangers to how difficult that is. Finding land here is tough! When it comes to building your dream home, there are cost savings considerations that folks might not be aware of. We’re here to help!

Build or Tear Down

In this episode of #WhatsUpNiagara, our very own Darren Hendriks shares his thoughts on building on a new lot vs. tearing down an existing structure and starting over. Check it out below:

Many people don’t consider that there are costs associated with having utilities added to a new property, as well as other costs for setting up new land for building. These are costs that are not incurred when tearing down an existing home. When you’re tearing down to rebuild, utilities and land costs are already incurred. It’s also likely that the land has already been landscaped and/or levelled to accommodate the previous home.

What About Renovating?

Renovating can be a wonderful middle ground in the circumstance of wanting a new home. The main consideration for renovating vs. tearing down and starting fresh is the overall footprint of the house. You can’t really make a house, but you can make a house larger with additions. Depending on the house and the structure, tearing out walls and fully redesigning the layout may or may not be possible as well. The team at Homes By Hendriks can help you make an educated decision around your existing property. Contact us today!

Choosing The Right Builder

When you’re looking to work with a professional builder, you need to choose experts that will help you make these decisions in the way that works best for you. Each home/land’s situation and status is different. Having a professional help you evaluate these factors for the ideal end outcome for yourself and your family will help you minimize excess costs and maximize the focus on your luxury home build. Such a builder is what you’ll find with Homes By Hendriks.

YouTubeInterview Transcript

You can view the YouTube transcription of the interview below.

what’s up niagara how you doing sean delatt here from the davidsons a lot real estate team really excited about our guest today we
have darren hendriks uh vice president of homes by hendricks one of niagara’s premier
builders and uh welcome darren thanks for coming to the show today yeah thanks for having me
excellent really glad to have you um well i am familiar with home spy hendriks quite much um because
back in the day your father ron built my parents house i remember on the lake on blizzard drive
so i can speak to the quality of your build from experiences and we’ve done some business as well and
and nothing but the best from homes by hendriks for sure so maybe i think what i’d like to start
off a little bit darren maybe you can talk a little bit about homes by hendriks the beginning of it and the progression
of where the business is kind of taking off to and at today yeah sure so homes by hendriks has always
been a family-owned operated business started 1961 by my
opanoma arnold and barb who are still uh with us today and uh yeah they started out doing
just very small renovations things like that i don’t think that at the time they didn’t get into any new home builds or
anything like the time but started out doing very very small jobs my my oppa was actually working at uh
cash way at the time okay um and uh had decided that uh with their growing
family he wasn’t going to be able to support him uh going that route so started his own
business because he was a handy guy and built his own family home and that and
my oma was working alongside him and then you know as uh with their kids as they
got older they got involved in the business and uh you know the the project started evolving as time
went on uh to larger renovations then starting to get into some new builds and things like that
and uh at the time uh my my dad and my uncle had had taken over
well sorry we’re working alongside him and then had taken over um and then uh had carried on on the
name and my my mom and my dad had
had uh kind of taken over and continued on the business and as time went on uh the jobs got kind
of progressively a little bit more involved a little more detailed uh and our work was always based in
niagara right uh kind of that’s been our home base since since day one absolutely and uh every i’m born and
raised here and uh everybody who kind of grew up in the area so yeah i mean the custom building and
renovations has always been our our forward yeah exactly absolutely and what we do uh we’re not
uh a production builder um or track builder or anything like that um all the stuff we do is custom
one-off i mean we we have a certain process of how we approach each project and
there’s certain standards that we maintain as a builder uh with it being our reputation on the line absolutely
us putting our name on it so over the years we’ve learned i mean it’s a it’s an ever-evolving
industry uh changing sometimes by the day by the year certainly with building code
advancements and and you’re you’re always learning so uh it’s a fun industry to be a part of
it’s a it’s a challenging industry a lot of times with all the moving parts and things associated with uh seeing a
project through from start to finish absolutely um but yeah that’s kind of a little snapshot of
the history and what we do so for sure and and for those of out there who don’t know homes by hendrix you know when we
talk about custom builds we’re talking about high end quality custom builds i know you guys do a lot of
big substantial square footage houses in the country yeah i know you do a lot on the lake i
live in port dalhousieĀ  i know there’s definitely some nice homes by hendriks built houses on the lake there
and nothing but quality and really high-end so really proud of you guys for really kind of taking it on and really creating that
niche of the market there for sure uh so you know one thing too is homes by hendriks has
won some awards yeah so you know i always like to uh have you a little share on your awards
as well you know just to kind of share to everyone really truly how great you guys are yeah
so um again you know being business for close to 60 years we’ve uh we’ve received a lot of recognition over
the years and uh and i’ve always uh you know it’s not from any one person’s effort
it’s always been a a team effort not one person can take credit for it
because there’s again there’s so much involved with getting a project from through to conception all the way
through to completion so uh not just even our immediate team but our our team of suppliers sub trades
designers architects engineers the list goes on right absolutely um but in terms of awards we’ve received a lot of recognition on
both the municipal level from our local home builders association
the niagara home builders association just a side note a great resource for
people who are looking for builders or looking for renovators it’s a great organization to be a part
of and uh they’re always kind of keeping us up to speed on the latest in niagara and with building
so and and yeah they’ve got a good website so i highly encourage anybody to check them out that’s great everyone yeah niagara
homebuilders association that’s a really great tip actually yeah full disclosure i’ve actually never
checked it out there you go now i’m totally gonna check it out because i can learn about some builders and and
i love hearing new innovative things that are going on yeah yeah that’s fantastic yeah cool yeah so we’ve gotten uh a number of awards uh
over the years from them uh we’ve received awards and recognition on the provincial level and also at the
national level uh for some of the various projects again always being that uh
from different involvement from people and and having that team approach obviously so we’re quite proud of that uh you know
we’ve had some recognition from from tyrion who’s the uh warranty provider for for new homes in uh
in ontario and um yeah even from some local municipalities even with some of
the projects we’ve done uh we did receive some uh recognition and from niagara on the lake actually
first for maintaining the heritage of a certain uh house and redesign that we did so that’s great so that was that was
cool to see and and it’s always great for for our clients to see that obviously to see their vision
um being recognized from from various parties so definitely yeah because because also too as much as you
guys are the awesome custom quality builds a lot of your designs are what your clients kind of put into them as well absolutely it’s their dreams and
their vision so for sure someone getting they feel like they’re getting a little naught on what they’ve done to
create the exterior of their house and make it work as well and i know niagara can be quite finicky that way
especially niagara on the lake yeah with the heritage and everything like that so so that’s awesome and that that just shows though you guys do what
you got to do to to get the job done yeah yeah there’s certainly as you touched on sensitive areas
uh in different pockets of niagara but uh you know i got to give credit where credit’s due at the end of the day
ultimately it’s our client’s decision because it’s their home or it’s their renovation addition they have a certain vision that
they want to see and and we’re just there to kind of guide them along the way and and provide feedback and direction when they need it
but uh yeah kudos to our clients for kind of always seeming to pull together a great look on their on
their projects for sure for sure so now one question so obviously congratulations you guys have done a
great job over the years built a wonderful business and i know you guys are constantly growing uh you have a new
office space uh justin george jordan there which is phenomenal i’ve been there i’ve seen it i checked it out
nice and modern looking so that’s great for you guys as well so yeah lots of great things happening for you
so darren the next question is buddy obviously niagara has been a changing landscape uh
you know over the past 10 years but more importantly i would say over the past four years with this
drastic influx of people moving here from out of town do you find most of your clients are
local or out of town a mix yeah there’s a there’s a little bit of a
variety in that i mean more recently i would say specifically with the covet 19 situation
i’m sure you could agree sean that we’ve been seeing more people exiting the gta area and wanting to get
into the country because uh yep exactly and bang nail on the head there buddy we are
experiencing you know all avenues and just the residential resale market as well people can work from home now
people can are thinking and retiring early and you know so they want to get out of toronto
you know for some people who can sell their condo for eight hundred thousand dollars they can work from home and now own a house for six hundred
thousand dollars but not only that you also touched on the point is that i’ve noticed a surge in some country properties as well so i can only
imagine that your phone’s ringing with some people who are looking hey build me a house yeah i uh i’ve got a
list as you know because i’m always bugging bugging my buddy sean about hey got any land that i’m not aware of
uh they’re we i don’t know uh there there must be a list as long as my arm of people that are actively just waiting
for the right property to come up um but uh you know those
those opportunities don’t come up often and when they do they’re gone on a snap of a finger absolutely you know and that’s that’s the one thing
to do that’s really one thing i really want to actually touch on with you as a builder yeah you know it’s nice to
that you have the renovations aspect of it as well which is fantastic but as a builder there’s one thing you
need to build a house most importantly it’s not a hammer and nails yeah it’s a piece of land yeah you know and
and can 100 agree land is probably the hottest commodity that there is
in the world because they can make more houses they can make condos they can create
more units and things like that but the world isn’t getting any bigger right and they aren’t making any more
land and i think you and i have both found finding the land is a little more challenging these days
absolutely um you know and i know you’re always great because you always got your ear to the ground so anyone out there listening who
has some land and you might want to get rid of it don’t hesitate to call homes by hendricks they’re always looking for
opportunities um for sure for sure because it is a challenge because yes darren has
called me a few times and says hey sean i got these new people they’re looking for this is there anything out there
and you know so i’ve got you on the email search for land now which is kind of great it’s great and it’s kind of keeping you
up-to-date but they’re not trickling in too much right no and the challenge i think darren too is that you’re finding
probably is there is land popping up in areas not necessarily people exactly want to be right exactly
say wayne fleet port colburn has land opportunities there’s things you can build out there but
really what we’re experiencing right now is that people don’t quite want to move out there right i do feel that that will change i
am already noticing that there’s a surge out in fort erie um yeah that whole direction in terms of like
you’re touching on that that kind of portal tool that you have me on which is a great uh you know piece of technology
obviously to be just get it being made aware of stuff as it comes up but fort erie crystal beach that kind of
pocket over there um but to your point like you say people still want to get a little bit
closer to kind of the saint catherine’s hub absolutely and it’s it’s especially those out-of-towners
you know they they they still want to be somewhat close to toronto they want to be away from it but somewhat close so i
do find that you know lincoln jordan fontell st catharines even niagara falls is kind of the general
vicinity for them as well but i do find that actually our niagara market will start
to expand out to those areas i mean i’m already working with young first-time homebuyers who can’t really
afford niagara falls or st catharines anymore they’re going to well end also too experiencing some people
who are looking to retire um it’s great for everybody from out of town they can sell their houses for the big money and
retire here in niagara but you got some people who sell their north end bungalow and and you know they have to go to port
coburn to get their retirement home to relinquish some equity and stuff like that so i mean it truly is an exciting
time for niagara and again to touch on fort erie uh i want to bring it up only because i
spent uh four days out there uh rented our cousin jerry hendriks
cottage out there and a shout out to jerry from remax garden city the hendrix real estate team um but uh rented his cottage and i’m
going to tell you buddy i hadn’t been out to fort erie forever it was a world on its own
yeah i even looked at michelle my wife shout out to michelle um and said wow like i want to retire
out here like it was and today i feel like i want to retire today uh darren and i were talking about it
was hasn’t been the greatest day but anyways uh but you know it it was just a different place on its own and the
crystal beach is really becoming a little secret secret enclave and and the thing is what i hear is the
go train is supposed to eventually potentially go to fort erie okay so i think there’s some some great
opportunities and it’s obviously affordable yet still for some uh young buyers and stuff like that so fort erie is
definitely somewhere to watch and they have lots of land yeah for sure really do have lots of land and
i think i think when we talk about the green belt and you’re very familiar with the green belt the province of ontario
has put a green belt uh restriction on rural properties rural land everything
like that and they’re really promoting urban boundaries they want everything to be done still
within the urban boundaries so you know if tom’s thinking he’s going to buy a 10-acre parcel
out in rural lincoln and sever it and chop it up and that’s that’s just not going to happen
you know and it’s even like that for the farmers back in the day they were always able to uh sever off an acre and the
if they severed it off years ago it can be grandfathered in but other
than that there’s there’s no more of that so they’re really trying to push into the urban and i think especially too for niagara i
think they’re really trying to push some of the other communities like well and fort erie and stuff like that to kind of build
but um lots of great exciting things happening for sure question for you yeah i mean because i
deal with a lot of buyers and typically darren i deal with a lot obviously being a real estate agent i
deal with a lot of the resale right so people who are looking to buy houses right and
but there is a factor of another percentage of the buyers who
don’t necessarily want to buy a resale and they want brand new right um so
what’s the kind of difference between kind of like what’s the perks of building a home
first buying a resale home right um so obviously with a new home i mean i
guess first and foremost is that uh you know especially with us being a custom builder you can
you’re on the ground floor you could start from square one and design that house not only the house but design
the property for for how it’s best gonna suit you your family uh your particular state tastes and
style and and uh of building um because as you know there’s a ton of different
directions you can take absolutely um you know i i often get uh the clients who have started doing
their research to you know driving around looking at houses or going online uh house or pinterest that can be uh
that could be a very helpful tool could be a very dangerous tool at the same time absolutely um but uh obviously that’s
first and foremost you know advantage one obviously being able to to design it right from the start
right in terms of house size and everything like that um you know secondly obviously you’re now
starting with a brand new house fully warrantied and uh you know with
the most up-to-date building techniques and technology um going the route of a renovation you know you could
certainly still bring that home to close to somewhat current code standards just based on the extent of
the renovation but obviously with a new build you have uh full control over all of that
right yep um yeah go ahead no problem and the one thing that too is is that i find you’re right is the best
thing for a person who wants to do new build is they get to pick out the styles to their taste
and make him can get the house configured to their needs um you know i can speak from an example
two weeks ago i was out showing some houses you know a pretty substantial price point a couple of them were newer
within the past you know zero to four years old and the buyers were uh quite critical
of some of the finishes just the layout wasn’t quite what they were looking for
and stuff like that and then the question after a week of seeing some houses was raised
guys do you think maybe you guys are feeling that maybe a build might be a better option
and they definitely agreed but then again the question came up sean where can i find some land
and that is going to be the ever kind of growing problem uh one trend that i think darren that i
think is going to be great for you and we’ll continue to keep our ear to the ground on this but we could all
agree that toronto um people are buying houses for two million dollars
knocking them down leveling building eight million dollar houses yeah that then spread down the road to
oakville to burlington people are now knocking down houses because again oakville
burlington land is gone yeah and i can definitely see that coming our way here in niagara
you know especially say north and st catharines someone can buy a grandma house for six hundred thousand dollars
on a massive ravine lot mm-hmm finally i i believe in niagara that someone can
pay that six hundred thousand dollars knock that house down spend another million
yeah to one and a half million dollars and they will you know going back five years ago
people would thought that’s crazy will never hold value but it becomes a subli
supply and demand issue and there’s only so many new houses um especially in specific and
st catholics because we’ve been landlocked for so long not having to be able to spread there’s there’s you know all
infill kind of development so um that’s that’s another aspect i could see
kind of coming as well and and again another thing you always ask me hey is there any especially kind of country
properties any knockdowns we call them the knockdowns right you know something that’s got a decrepit old house on it
and where a person could just buy the house buy the land knock the house down and build their monster beauty and and again two the
nice thing is that our niagara market now is able to hold these substantial higher prices um you know
because i know you’ve dealt with it you deal with a higher enchant of of kind of clients for sure just because
of the quality that you’re building and and the different things right right and and you know at first
i think a lot of people may have built wonderful wonderful houses back in the day selling it might be a
challenge but today like i said it’s just it’s it’s so drastically changing and
um you know i just i see some some opportunities kind of that’s what i think is gonna start
happening and i think you give it another couple years you’re going to start seeing people start knocking down some
houses and buildings yeah we’re we’re experiencing that kind of already a lot of that
um and what a lot of people don’t know it’d be a good opportunity to inform people that i think some people have it in their
mind that they think demolition call costs are a lot higher than what they actually are
absolutely so you know i’ve talked to sean a number of times about uh keeping an eye out for opportunities
that like he touched on tear down rebuilds um you know putting aside the house and
whatever the condition it may be but focusing on the land itself and the values in the land obviously that’s
right 100 um but uh something that people may not be aware of is that generally when
you’re getting into a new build um there’s going to be something called that development charges that typically apply
to building on a uh on a vacant land or something that hasn’t previously been developed
and those fees are pretty hefty and you know what i’m glad you actually brought that up because that is one thing for
sure that um the niagara municipality they’re they’re uh their charges are quite high they’re
getting up there they’re getting up there for sure and and i’m really actually glad that you’re bringing up that aspect
as a bonus of buying a knockdown because your abs correct to be honest like
what’s it cost to knock down the house 10 15 000 bucks yeah assuming there’s no uh hazardous materials because you need to
do a designated substance survey prior to and that’s important for everyone to know too because if the house has
uh asbestos or something like that or old oil tanks different things like that so i want the general public or our
wonderful viewers to know that it’s not just like you go in there and roll up and pull up
the uh the the backhoe and just start knocking the house down there is a little bit of
of rules they want to make sure that you know and especially for for that person they want to make sure
that they’re not going to end up contaminating their own land as well yeah exactly but that is a very good point you brought up
to avoid those development charges yeah because essentially you you do the math on it
that development charges again depending on the municipality obviously there’s a municipal component to it and a regional
um i mean i i could be off saying this uh because generally the the clients kind of handle
the dc’s separately apart from from our school but you know it could easily be 20
to 35 grand right absolutely do the math on what a tear down could be around 15 000 right and and if you look at those
costs specifically you’re you’re ahead in that regard right absolutely so that’s something that uh a lot of
people don’t know and i want to bring it up because i always tell people don’t necessarily look for just vacant land
look for you know the houses that leave something to be desired or
you know dilapidated are ready to come down they’ve seen their day uh but look at the value specifically in
the property 100 yeah and you know what and and what i’m seeing is actually
uh even lakefront people paying substantial amounts of money
for lakefront homes yep and then you know we’re talking a million and a half dollars
and then you drive by a month later that house is no longer there and the thing is now though it’s it’s
wonderful because there is a cost variance and especially we talk about the supply and demand of land there’s only
so much lakefront land for sure right and and that is one kind of uh
thing that is escalating always you know and so i i i think that’s really great
that we touched on that because yeah something an opportunity because you know i always get questions too it’s like hey sean we’re thinking of
building can we get some land and this and that and another thing that i think we should
share with people though too is when it comes to land
buying a piece of land on its own you typically got to buy it cash right
banks don’t finance land exactly right they don’t or they’ll or they’ll lend you only up to a certain
percentage of it percentage exactly right they actually have changed their models a little bit now with land i know back in the day
when i first started in real estate you couldn’t buy they would not finance a piece of land whatsoever it was always you had to pay
cash and then after that um but the other thing is too is that with
a potential knockdown you could still get financing on it yeah and you could still carry a mortgage
against it right exactly right so so that is some of the benefits of actually finding a property that has
a decrepit house to knock it down yeah and and start fresh and and build your dream home
yeah um so that’s that’s great so you touched on actually you know and
and you’ve like you mentioned you’ve lived here your whole life uh you’ve built homes in the niagara region um you know started i’m sure you
were at the job site with your dad at a young age and um well actually you know what dare i got a funny question for you
and i just i gotta ask you this because i know it was your family business
and my father had a family business that i chose not to get involved in he asked me at a very young age did i want to get
it my dad used to stone a grocery store and he asked me did i want to get in the grocery business i was 15 years old and i did not know what i wanted to do and i
said no and that ship sailed um very happy with the direction i went anyways so when you were young did you know you
wanted to take over or they get involved in the family business or was it a kind of slow progress that hey
you know what this is this is it yeah um for as long as i can remember um you
know when i was when i was young i thought uh i thought what my dad did you know when he was working at on-site
building houses i thought you know is the coolest thing right i know my my mom would take me my
siblings my brothers and my sister go visit my dad you know we go out on crane day when they’re dropping trusses
right it’s cool to see all the machines plenty of times yeah you could you could imagine being a little kid and seeing
all this stuff right for sure yeah so you know i i thought that was that was the coolest thing and it kind
of sparked i guess a passion you could say for building i was always in the construction um
you know anything really related to construction uh i mean growing up one of my favorite things to do was like you know lego
mechanical mechano all those all those things right for sure yeah um so it’s always stuck with me and
um you know even during elementary high school i had out that had always been my
plan i mean i didn’t set any sort of timelines of course to anything but uh the idea was i i wanted to
continue working along in the family business and and building houses and doing renovations and things like that
and uh i’d never like strayed from that i’ve never had like uh one morning i
woke up i’m like maybe i don’t want to do this i mean thankfully i still wake up excited to
go to work and i’m excited about what i do and passionate about it of course but uh yeah for as long as i can remember it
was something that was your calling from day one yeah well that’s that’s awesome that’s awesome and you know what i got to tell you i’m very
proud of you buddy you’ve come a long way yeah and uh your homes by hendrix is just keeping them
flourishing and going to the next level so it’s really really good to see that just to uh sorry to jump in i mean a lot
of that uh you know my parents uh you know starting all the way back from when my
my opa almost started it to you know my parents taking over you know it’s always evolved with each
generation and and kind of taken to the next level so i’m i’m hoping and working towards doing the very same
and uh you know my late father ron hendricks was the uh probably one of the best teachers i
could have asked for and still wonder to this day how he managed to uh run a successful business balance
family life i’m still trying to figure that out my wife amy and i we have a young family kids four and two years old yeah
and uh i’m still trying to figure that out i don’t know if i’ll ever get it figured out you know what and i commend that to to
your dad and even to my dad and i still struggle with the balancing of all of that as well because i know that
there’s certain times uh job needs to get done you’ve got crews still working well into the late
hours sometimes and different things like that you know and and it’s funny because we get together at family events and
your dad was always there my dad was always there and they always always made time for it always found the time
for sure you know yeah my parents always carved out the time i i think back and uh there was never a time i thought
where uh you know dad’s working again or anything he would always carve out the time both my mom and my dad to uh
to obviously have a great upbringing with me and my siblings when we were younger younger so yeah yeah awesome
awesome for sure for sure so well you know what darren i really want to thank you for joining us today i think we got some
wonderful information to share to some of our viewers and and also to just want to say if anyone’s looking for a great custom
builder homes by hendrix is definitely worth the call and if you need land
davidson dalot is more than happy to help you find it so right now buddy i really appreciate it thank you so much for having me it was a
pleasure awesome yeah thanks so much for tuning in to this week’s episode of what’s up niagara
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