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The Tear Down Rebuild (#TDRB) - Is It A Good Option For You? VANCOUVER EDITION

It's hard deciding between whether to buy a new home versus build a new home! There are so many things to consider.

To make things even more complicated...

If you're considering building in the City, you will often need to tear down an existing home to make way for a new home. How do you know if tearing down an existing home is a good option for you and your family?

We’ve put together a quick guide to help you answer this question —

Is a Teardown and Rebuild a good option for me?

Let's explore some of the key criteria when considering if it truly is the right option for you.


Most tear down rebuild projects mean that your new home will be in an established community. Make sure you find a property in a neighborhood that offers the key features you want.

Take an inventory of the following to ensure they meet your personal criteria:

  • Good schools and childcare

  • A well-developed sense of community

  • Commuting a shorter distance to work

  • Close proximity to entertainment or cultural options


Tear down rebuild projects come with a long list of rewards and benefits. You maintain a high degree of control regarding your new home's location, and the overall design of your new home.

The reality is that teardowns can be more complicated, thus more time-consuming. These projects typically involve zoning and permitting, demolition and abatement challenges.

Some neighborhoods in Vancouver also require historic preservation. These are items that buyers of homes in newly developed subdivisions never encounter.


Almost always - potential tear downs are houses that aren’t quite up to current standards in a more desirable, ‘attractive’ neighborhood. In many cases they also don’t meet today’s building code requirements and need a major overhaul just to make the home function as required. They may be smaller-than-average in square footage, have outdated exterior and interior design elements such as outdated kitchens and bathrooms, and are huge energy guzzlers.

They also may have serious structural issues that make them difficult to sell because of the cost of repairs. As such, they tend to be priced below the prevailing average for their street or neighborhood and often sit unsold longer than others, unless their sellers are actively marketing them as prospective teardowns.

If you’re seeking an investment for the speculative market, buying a functionally obsolete but well-located house, could determine whether it makes a good candidate. Often these homes are priced slightly below the prevailing average for their street or neighborhood and are snatched up quickly by investors or even builders or real estate agents.

In the City of Vancouver, things can get a bit more tricky. There are certain homes that either CANNOT be knocked down. Or if knocked down, the City will penalize you by forcing you to design and build a smaller home on the property. Speak to a Custom Home designer who is familiar with Vancouver's Zoning Bylaws before you finalize any lot purchase.


Most quality home builders in Vancouver will tell you the answer is a resounding yes.


Because they know that these houses often have serious structural issues (and eventual warranty issues) that make them difficult to remodel or renovate without costing a not-so-small fortune. Which in turn doesn’t make sense to spend all that money on tying in new construction materials, with old or limiting construction materials or outdated building code applications.

It doesn’t mean there aren’t any exceptions. In fact, in some cases, the city will encourage substantial renovations over demolitions by making the permitting easier and faster. You might, for instance, be able to retain the existing foundation or add to it. You might be able to retain a portion of an existing wall or incorporate part of the old structure into your new design - especially if you have a home that has been deemed to hold character merit.

This is something we will discuss further in an upcoming post.

In the meantime, you can check out this link to the City Of Vancouver’s Character Merit Assessment page.

It will provide you with all the info you need initially to determine whether your home qualifies as having character merit.


Step #1: Talk to a Custom Home Designer

Talk to a custom home design firm that specializes in Tear Down Rebuild projects in Vancouver (By the way, that's us!) The firm can help you decipher and translate City of Vancouver's complicated Zoning Bylaws for you. You'll know exactly what to look for when you start your search for the perfect piece of land. We can help you identify and acquire a tear down property, establish a budget range for your new home, connect you with a reputable home builder, and of course, design your new home.

If you'd like to chat with our team, we'd be happy to. We ARE the Teardown Rebuild experts! We’ve made it our business to provide our clients considering a TDRB in Vancouver with the best possible options and advice for doing a TDRB project.

Step #2: Start the Land Buying Process

We all know land is expensive to buy in Vancouver. Let alone finding a bare lot to build a new home on, which has now prompted many experts to boast Vancouver as being one of the most fervent Tear Down markets in the country.

Once you’ve decided on the neighborhood where you want to buy, we can connect you with several real estate brokerages that are most active in the area. We ensure that the firm’s agents either specialize in or have extensive experience in tear downs or substantial renovations. And the best part is we can provide you with this information absolutely at no cost to you.

We truly believe in helping our clients achieve their dreams, and have a proven track record of literally hundreds of successful TDRB projects!


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