You’re finally ready to purchase your own home, but the options are overwhelming. Any visit to a real estate website nets you hundreds of potential properties, from empty lots to decades-old homes. One of the most important decisions to make — and something you should decide before you start shopping — is whether you’d prefer building versus buying a home. Both have specific pros and cons that can drastically affect your new home experience. Look at building versus buying from every angle to decide whether you want a brand-new home or if you prefer an existing home and all of its charms.
Building a home means getting exactly what you want. Image: Greenbelt Homes
5 reasons to build
Building your own home takes time and patience, but you’ll be rewarded with a place you can really call home. Some of the benefits of building include:
- A custom approach. When building your home, you’ll get to choose from a catalog of floor plans or even design one from scratch. That means building a home that makes sense for you and your family. Whether you’re a five-star home chef, wild about sports or into entertaining, you can get exactly what you need, rather than just working with what you have.
- No surprises. You’ve probably heard the horror stories: A family buys an existing home only to find it filled with mold or riddled with foundation issues. Building new means you won’t have any of the surprises or risks that come along with purchasing an existing, older home.
- No renovations. A cheaper existing home can suddenly become a money pit when the kitchen requires a complete gut job or all of the carpeting needs to be replaced. Because you design a new build exactly the way you want, you won’t need any pricey renovations for a few years. This cuts down on stress and cost, so you can enjoy your home after your move-in date.
- Warranties. Most reputable home builders offer warranties when you build. Warranties typically cover cosmetic issues (think paint and grout) for a year and mechanical issues (like electrical and plumbing) for two. That means if you have any problems, you can have experts take care of your home free of charge. Buying a home means you’re responsible for the costs and repairs from the day you take possession.
An existing home means a quicker turnaround time. Image: Locati Architects
5 reasons to buy
Not everyone is the build-your-own type, and that makes sense. Buying your own home definitely has its benefits, including:
- Tighter time frame. The average turnaround to qualify for, shop and purchase a home is one to two months. In comparison, the average build time for a new home is seven months. If you’re ready to move ASAP and don’t want to rent while you build, buying a home makes more sense.
- Established neighborhood. Most new builds reside in new developments, which could mean noisy construction and a lack of amenities. Buying an existing home means a more established neighborhood, where you know what to expect as far as the general feeling of the area. You can even talk to potential neighbors to see what they like and don’t like about an area.
- Mature landscaping. If you love the idea of lush trees and gardens, an existing home is your best bet. New homes require new landscaping, while buying an existing one gives you access to more mature trees and landscaping spaces.
- Existing homes give you plenty of wiggle room when it comes to price negotiations. The things you might see as drawbacks — think tired carpeting — become bargaining chips for you and your agent. New builds are priced based on materials and contractors, so you won’t have a ton of space to negotiate a better price. If you’re bargain-hunting, a fixer-upper at a cheap price helps you stay in-budget.
- Less stress. Let’s be honest: Building a new home is stressful. From material selection to construction delays, no build is without hiccups. When buying an existing home, all you need to do is choose the one you love. No delays, no big decisions, no flaky contractors: just you and your new place.
Making the choice of building versus buying means examining the way you live and how that reflects on your home. For some, the idea of starting from scratch and checking off that must-have list is appealing. For others, the low-stress environment and better deals found in the existing home market makes more sense. Either way, deciding what you want from day one puts you on the path for the home that’s right for you.
What is your stance on building versus buying a home? Do you prefer one method over the other? Let us know about it below!