When it’s time to purchase your first or next home, there are a number of questions to answer about what determines your dream house. One option you may not have considered is building vs buying a home.
Building vs buying a home: Which is right for you?
There are pros and cons to building and buying a house.
Do you own the land? Would you need to buy the land?
How many rooms do you need? Can you find an existing home with all the amenities you need?
These are all questions you must ask yourself when building vs buying a home.
Here are some points to go over as you begin the process of finding your best match.
1. Consider your budget
Your initial outlay may be higher with a new build, but features that come with it can prove beneficial in years to come.
By building your home, you are able to incorporate the newest technology, including energy-saving features that can save substantially on utility costs.
General maintenance costs will be lower in a new home, as there will be little to no need to repair or update new appliances, heating and cooling units, and plumbing.
Buying a home can mean substantial savings, and can include features you didn’t know you needed -like that 3 car garage or hardwood floors.
And, if you are set on historical home features such as vintage tile or ironwork, these can be impossible or prohibitively expensive to add to a new building.
2. How do you feel about commuting?
When thinking about building vs buying a home, location is another huge factor.
New homes in subdivisions are often on the edge of cities, and away from business areas. While schools are usually in the area, getting your family to other activities may require a drive.
So, think about your time and patience for commuting. If you’re happy with your current drive time and don’t want to add more to your life, you might want to stay closer to the city center.
If you think moving further out offers more enhancements to your lifestyle, expand your search to new building developments.
3. Think about where you’d like to spend your time
If your thoughts about a dream home include huge trees, established flower beds, and a green lawn area, you should factor this into your decision of building vs buying a home.
A home in an established neighborhood will include mature trees and a lawn that’s ready to enjoy. When building a new home, much of the landscaping work will have to be started from scratch.
If the thought of shaping your new yard into something unique and nurturing your lawn and trees from the beginning appeals to you, new construction will offer the chance to do so.
4. How strong is your vision?
If you’ve been thinking about your new home, making lists and doing extensive research and have very firm ideas about what you want – new custom construction may be the way to go.
Building your own home will allow you a degree of control that is not available when searching for an existing home.
From floor plan to paint and flooring – there are an infinite variety of home features that can be selected to your specifications in a new home build.
On the other hand, if you prefer to know your dream home when you see it, the process of searching for and finding your new home can be just as fun as building one.
5. How handy are you?
Do you enjoy the occasional home renovation project, or do you prefer to pay someone else to do it? This is another factor of building vs buying a home for you and your family.
Do you love to watch a good remodeling show, or do you think a clean slate is more inspirational?
Do you have a good set of tools that you’ll be moving with you, or do you avoid anything that involves a ladder?
Building a home will remove the need for remodeling or other renovation projects for years to come, as you’ve already been able to select the colors and design features you want.
If you enjoy the creativity of changing your space, buying an existing home can allow you to try out things on your own.
6. How tight is your schedule?
When thinking about building vs buying a home, it’s important to consider your time and schedule.
Building a new home may be more of a time commitment, but it may also be worth it.
If you’re comfortable enough in your current home, this can allow you the luxury of a little more time to wait for your new construction to be completed.
Delays do happen and are to be expected.
Make sure you can adjust for them, and that your life won’t be disrupted. If your life does have deadlines, such as school starting, a new member of the family arriving, or a job change with a set start date – it’s better to avoid the uncertainty by buying an existing home.
With moving always listed as a top life stress by authorities, the need to find temporary housing while your home is finished can be a deal breaker.
7. Would you like to reduce your energy use?
New construction of a home offers the builder the chance to utilize some of the latest advances in energy saving materials and products.
There have been big changes in the way that manufacturers now make windows, for example. This makes your window installation much easier and energy efficient.
Many current homeowners have updated their homes to include more efficient heating and cooling units as older units wear out, and have retrofitted in areas such as attic insulation.
For some innovations, however, such as house wrap, new construction is the only way to utilize these materials.
When thinking about building vs buying a home, the decision is highly personal.
Each can offer advantages.
By determining your own wants and needs, such as budget, time for driving, and family schedules, as well as thinking about your own hobbies and skills – such as gardening or home renovation – you may discover that building a home or purchasing a home can each offer unique advantages.
Personal feelings about how involved you wish to be in the design of your home, or even your thoughts on staying as green as possible in your daily life, can be just as important.
Considering all these factors will guide you to making the decision one that you can live with happily, whether it’s in a new, or new-to-you home.