How much more expensive is it to completely repair a McMansion versus buying one new?

I saw this story about a Bellevue, Washington McMansion that suffered a costly fire:

A new Enatai area ‘McMansion’ that was not yet occupied suffered more than $750,000 worth of damage during a fire early Monday morning.  The cause of the blaze is not immediately known but being investigated by authorities.  The house was not occupied yet, and no one was injured – although a Bellevue firefighter endured a big scare.

Once a home has suffered this kind of damage, is it simply cheaper to buy a new one rather than completely repair the existing home? Homes are usually built with economies of scale as builders work on multiple homes in an area and have materials and workers on hand. I’ve had this thought about cars as well: if you had to replace all of the individual parts, your costs would likely rise past the full value of the vehicle. Since the home was unoccupied (it does not note whether it was owned yet), I suspect it may just be torn down and a new home rebuilt on the spot.

HGTV surprised when it finds Americans willing to give up vacations to improve their home

A recent survey by HGTV has some interesting findings regarding what Americans think about their homes:

The collapse of the housing market in 2008 may have put a check on the “the McMansion” era, but HGTV’s first HomePulse Survey finds that consumers still hanker for more space in their homes.

Home improvement remains a priority, with 61% surveyed saying they would “choose to spend on their homes rather than on something else like a vacation or the latest electronics,” according to the research series commissioned by HGTV owner Scripps Networks Interactive and Vision Critical.

Adding to the overall square footage of their home is a top priority. More women (31%) are interested in updating their décor than men (17%). More men (19%) want to improve their in-home technology than women (3%). One in three of the 1,010 panelists surveyed said creating “a beautiful outdoor space” is extremely important to them.

“We expected the ‘HGTV HomePulse Survey’ to confirm that people love their homes and are willing to spend money to improve them, but we didn’t expect that they would be willing to give up something as important as a vacation to do it,” said Denise Conroy, senior vice president, marketing, HGTV.

Some 81% said “money spent on improving my home will show a good return,” and 66% felt “now is a good time to invest in my home.”

Overall, this suggests Americans are willing to continue to sacrifice for homeownership (though I would like to see more specifics about other priorities). This reminds me of an idea in the New Urbanist book Suburban Nation: Americans have a superior private realm within their homes and it appears they want to keep it that way.

It would be helpful to see more about the interest in adding square footage. Making an addition is not an easy or cheap thing to do. It might be simply easier to move to a bigger home but this is more difficult to do in a depressed housing market. An outdoor living space might help the home feel bigger without actually adding anything. Perhaps this indicates HGTV needs even more shows about how to maximize the existing square footage and make use of all the possibilities.

If you are curious, HGTV says it trickle out more results from the survey.

Unexpected feature of owning a Texas McMansion: the directTV install takes longer

I stumbled across an online discussion about how long it takes to wire a Texas McMansion for directTV. Here is an outline of the discussion:

directv install happening NOW

Posted by djtexillinion November 24, 2012, 2:26 pm

im scared

going from 2 cable boxes to 5.

whole home dvr (genie)
3 clients
1 hd dvr

4 hour update

Posted by djtexillinion November 24, 2012, 6:41 pm, in reply to “directv install happening NOW

almost done

Takes a while to wire a Texas McMansion like yours*

Posted by chadinlaon November 24, 2012, 9:41 pm, in reply to “4 hour update

Apparently, it is not quick to supply one’s McMansion with plenty of DVRs. This is not something I would have thought about when purchasing a McMansion. However, providing wiring for a large home that has already been built must be more difficult. This reminds me of several articles I have read suggesting it is much better to set up whole house speaker and electronic systems (remember the 1990s articles suggesting all or most new homes would be smart wired by now?) during construction because doing it later can be quite time consuming.

I imagine there are other “normal” tasks that take more time with McMansions. I have seen plenty of online comments over the years about how much time it must take to maintain the yard and clean such homes, particularly those with a large number of bathrooms. However, if you can afford a large McMansion, you are more likely to be able to hire people to landscape and clean it for you.