If you are debating building vs buying a home, you’re not alone. Over 40 million Americans move every year. For many people, the idea of a brand-new home custom-designed for you and your family can be quite attractive. The right answer for you ultimately depends on location, costs, your families’ needs, and when you need to move.
If you are considering all the pros and cons of building vs. buying, read our guide first. We’ve listed the most common advantages and challenges for each option.
Advantages of Buying an Existing Home
Like many others, you might initially gravitate toward buying an existing home. Existing properties can include mature trees and other landscaping and you are able to choose properties in established neighborhoods. Convenience and budget tend to be the biggest advantages, but let’s dig into that more.
Possibly Move Quickly
No one wants to wait to move. If you happen to find the house you want and experience zero roadblocks during your purchase process, you’ll be able to move in pretty quickly. However, purchases rarely go perfectly, so a swift process is not 100% guaranteed. Additionally, you’ll want to consider your local housing market and what available inventory exists. In the current housing market, the moment a high-quality property goes up for sale, someone snatches it up. If you are in the best financial position to do this, you can purchase a house quickly. However, finding a home with the size, configuration, and features you want and need still presents a challenge. While you can typically move faster than it would take to build a new home, be prepared to spend the time searching for a suitable property.
Lower Budget Options
In general, it is possible to buy a pre-existing home for less money than having a new one built once you factor in the costs of the land itself. You also have the opportunity to negotiate with the seller as long as the market allows. For example, if you find something wrong with the house during an inspection, that can knock thousands of dollars off the final bid. However, upfront savings can come with higher maintenance and repair costs down the road. Excluding volatile housing markets, you’ll likely find a variety of homes within your budget.
Challenges of Buying an Existing Home
When choosing whether to build a new home vs. buying an existing home, these potentially negative factors should be considered. You may have to compromise when moving into a property built to someone else’s expectations. Aside from the stress of house shopping, you may have to settle for a house you don’t love or one with existing problems.
Compromising on Wants and Needs
As the saying goes, you can’t always get what you want. Based on budget or market availability, you could be limited to homes that don’t meet all your needs. You should generally be able to meet basics such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. But if you want specific features, uncommon layouts, or have universal design needs, these elements will be much harder to find in existing structures. You should not have to compromise on those kinds of needs.
Any pre-built house can come with pre-existing problems. These can range from cosmetic issues, like hot pink bedrooms, to more expensive fixes like worn out appliances. More importantly, costly large-scale issues may crop up after your purchase, such as foundation repairs or other structural issues.. Inspectors can’t predict something won’t go wrong after purchase. Something in good condition at the point of purchase may wear out or break down sooner than expected. A structural inspection may help you pick out those red flags. While most house hunters are aware of this reality, it still should be included in your lists of pros and cons.
Advantages of Building a New Home
The advantages of building a new home can make it a wise choice for many families. The process feels like an adventure you control from start to finish and is typically a smart investment. Let’s go over some of the advantages.
Total Control Over Your Dream Home Design
The floor plan and customizations are truly up to you. You can choose to work with a semi-custom builder or hire a fully custom home designer. Semi-custom builders will allow you to choose the finishes and details of your home, but the overall layout is fixed. If you work with an architect or designer, every element of your home is tailored to your wants and needs. This gives you the ability to create something perfect for your current situation that will grow with your needs over time. Additionally, any design features for unique situations, such as aging-in-place or universal design elements, can be seamlessly incorporated into your home. It is unlikely that you would find this type of perfect fit from a pre-existing house.
No Competition or Long Paperwork Process Involved
Securing a piece of property generally takes less time than buying a house. All other paperwork depends on the contract with the engineering firm and, ultimately, the builders. Aside from a shorter paperwork process, you do not have to worry about competition attempting to take your dream home away from you. This takes a lot of stress out of the proceedings.
New Construction with Modern Materials and Systems
One of the biggest advantages of having a house built specifically for you involves the use of the best quality materials on the market today. If you purchase an old house, you may end up with asbestos, lead paint, high-VOC carpeting, risky flammable materials, or inefficient insulation. These are non-issues with a newly built house.
- Lower maintenance and repair costs for the foreseeable future
- Peace of mind that everything was planned and built to exacting standards
- The ability to include accessibility or privacy features not found in older homes
- A true feeling of ownership as the first and only homeowners
Challenges of Building a New Home
You should take everything into account when you consider designing a custom home. If expediency is a factor, building a new home may not be for you. However, you may be surprised to find the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
It May Take Longer to Move-In
It takes time to build an entire house. Even with the best architectural firm and contractors on your side, the process involves many steps. If you are moving due to a career change or other immediate situation, you may have to make other arrangements before you can move in permanently.
You May Not Be Able to Build in Established Neighborhoods
Location matters when it comes to real estate purchases. You may need a property close enough to work to avoid a horrendous commute, in a good school district if you have or plan to have children, and with easy access to essential shops and amenities. Most neighborhoods that fit this description already contain pre-built homes and you may not be able to buy an open piece of land there. It is possible to tear down an existing structure and have something new constructed, but this adds considerable cost to the process.
How Everstead Can Help
If you choose to build a new, custom home, working with reputable residential designers and engineering firm is essential. Our designers will work with you every step of the way to create the perfect plan within your budget. Contact us today to learn more about our new home design services or to schedule a free consultation with a designer.