While the home-buying process involves several important choices, one of the very first decisions buyers need to make is whether to shop for an existing home or build a new one. The build versus buy question is a complex one. Buyers who are willing to give a little more time and planning to the process to get EXACTLY what they’ve always envisioned may choose to build. Other buyers who are in a hurry to settle in and make an existing home their own, may move forward to buy. When it comes to building versus buying a home, there are several pros and cons and here’s our take.
Buying An Existing Home
Potential homebuyers will spend lots of time and energy either searching for or planning out “the perfect home”. When buying an existing home; location, price, property taxes, homeowners association fees, and the condition of the property need to be factored in. It’s a “Seller’s Market” right now all across the country, so homes are typically not on the market very long, making it very difficult to find exactly what you want at a fair price. Buyers have high competition for homes and are offering well over asking price to “win” the resale home that they want, driving home prices up and up so that current homebuyers are definitely not getting the most bang for their buck. Also, buyers aren’t typically getting everything on their wish list because of the lack of inventory and even after buying the home, they must spend a good deal of money updating, upgrading and adjusting the home to suit their family’s needs.
Obviously, there are general benefits to buying an existing home. There are less up-front costs, you know what to expect from your property and neighborhood, and you can move right into the space. When it comes to deciding between building versus buying a home, you have to consider current and future costs, however.
Building A New, Custom Home
The cost of building a new, custom home can be difficult to estimate and could certainly be higher than expected. The trickle-down affects of COVID lockdowns have caused inflation in building material costs and limitations in availability. Being home-bound, many folks are updating and upgrading the homes they live in to adjust for the ‘new normal’. Everyday folks are finding it more difficult to get lumber (for instance) for DIY projects. While builders have better resources for such things, they are still having to pay more than in past years and will possibly have to wait a little longer for building items to be ready.
Regardless of the above issues, building your own custom home means that you can choose your location, your surroundings, your design and your home’s layout. If you have the time and the budget, you could have the home of your dreams when the builder is done, instead of having to spend time and money later trying to mold an existing home into that vision, which may not even be possible. Building a home allows for the following pros:
- Customization. If you build a house from the ground up, you’ll get to personalize the details to suit your lifestyle and tastes—from the layout, cabinets and flooring to the sinks, lighting, paint colors and doorknobs!
- Low to no competition. As we said earlier, the state of the world over the last year has made the 2021 real estate market very hot. With homes flying off the market so quickly, competition to find the best existing home at the lowest price can be tough. But if you already own the land you want to build your home on, you obviously have zero competition!
- Lower maintenance. Since new homes are built to meet current building codes and have up-to-date technology, you probably won’t have to worry about big repairs or heavy maintenance issues for many years. Plus, most homebuilders offer a warranty in case something should break.
- Lower energy costs. New homes often feature the latest energy-efficient systems and materials, which usually leads to lower energy bills.
- Newness. You get to start fresh as the first owner of your home and enjoy brand-spanking-new systems, finishes and fixtures.
Certainly, building a home can have some disadvantages. When you build a house, you’ll have to have land to build on, decide on a home design/floorplan, pick out flooring, fixtures, cabinets, appliances, countertops, interior trim, exterior trim, and on and on it goes. You’ll have to do all of this and stay within your budget. Managing all the details that go along with building a home takes time and effort. Don’t underestimate the depth of stamina you’ll need to make sure it’s all done the right way. With a choice of building versus buying a home, you’ll certainly need more brain power to build.
Hidden costs. Those dollar signs you see on the sticker—for things like countertops, fixtures and appliances—are just the tip of the price-berg. Upgrades will drive up the price of your new home and may or may not be rolled into your contract price, depending on when you decided to add them. Play it safe by budgeting for only those you can cover with cash. And don’t forget about post-move costs like landscaping and blinds—they’ll sneak up on you as well.
See also Build A Custom Home
We’ve tried to present a fair estimation of to pros and cons of building versus buying a home. If your mind is set on having your vision of home created, then building is for you. It is the mission of our business to listen to our clients, build their vision and exceed their expectations. Clear, consistent and ongoing communication is the most important tool we have to create the comfort level our clients deserve — throughout the entire homebuilding process. We are here to realize your dreams, within your budget and timeline. Our clients can count on us to be there from the initial groundbreaking to the very last lick of paint. If you’d like to speak with Tony about building your own custom home, call on Lady Street Builders. We have a terrific array of cape cod plans to inspire you, we could build from your existing plans, or we can build your home from the bottom up. Contact us today.