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Dream come True

Choosing to renovate your existing home, purchase a resale or rebuild an entirely new custom structure is not an easy decision to come by. There is no one right answer, as each individual homeowner’s situation is unique. Although the decision of “should I stay or should I go” requires careful consideration, in regions with stronger property values such as those on Long Beach Island, new construction on a buyer’s existing lot is often the wisest choice.

“There is a growing LBI-area trend for buyers to purchase older homes with the intention of rebuilding them as new construction,” shares Michael Pagnotta, AIA, and founder/owner of the Ship Bottom-based design/build firm Michael Pagnotta Architecture + Construction. “A total rebuild starts you off with a clean slate, you are in total control and can be smart about what you are building for long-term value,” he adds, “not to mention, a new house will also require far less upkeep verses working on a much older one.” Many factors go into the ultimate decision, and it’s often not a clear-cut solution either way. But below Pagnotta outlines his top advantages for razing and rebuilding a new custom home on Long Beach Island.


Let’s face it, many homeowners with a history behind their home are comfortable where they are. Moving into a new home would not only mean leaving behind the old one, but also saying good-bye to the neighbors they have grown close with over the years as well as all the familiarities of their local shops, restaurants and beach access. Rebuilding on an existing lot offers the luxury of staying in a location that you love instead of having to form new relationships. Not to mention, the bonus of maintaining family history remains, whereas homeowners can keep the location in the family and simultaneously have the opportunity to build new memories alongside old ones.


If you’ve been enjoying capital growth over the years, a brand-new home on the same lot will further increase the value of your property, so why not take advantage of increasing its value as an investment. When you own the land where the house will be built, you can use it as equity to secure the construction loan which in many cases is quite easy. Rebuilding also increases the rentability of your home, and homeowners will always have that option to keep and rent it, even if previous uses are done.

Modern Luxuries

A new home comes with warranties, and warranties mean reassurance. With a new home you will receive a post completion maintenance period, structural warranties, etc. Often times when you buy a resale home you often inherit someone else’s mistakes or problems and there is an element of fear for the unknown. But new construction reflects new living patterns, accessibility (such as putting in an elevator), state-of-the-art energy efficiency (such as maintenance-free materials and the most up-to-date insulation options), and building to the current codes with better use of the overall narrower lot sizes of Long Beach Island.

Ultimately, when you design and rebuild your home, all of your wishes are incorporated into one new house and you essentially get it exactly the way you want it. Having the experience of living in the old home, homeowners have the best perspective of how to design elements better suited for their needs in the new home. One would know exactly which part of the home will receive the most morning sunlight or the side that would endure the most wind and weather attrition in the winter. You would be able to plan for building up to achieve better views from the decks or roof and essentially design for your lifestyle and year-round living. The possibilities are limitless when you plan the rebuild of your new home when you are equipped with the experience of the current footprint of the existing structure

Michael Pagnotta AIA established his architect-led design/build firm on Long Beach Island in 1990. For almost three decades his firm has been responsible for the design and construction of over 500 homes on LBI. Pagnotta graduated from the University of Texas and is a licensed architect, licensed planner and registered builder. For more information on Mike and his firm, visit or follow them on Houzz via Michael Pagnotta Architects pc, Instagram @michaelpagnottaarchitects and

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