Buying vs. Building a Home – Which One is Better?
Everyone has their preferences when deciding between buying vs. building a home. Choosing your dream home, whether you buy or build, can encompass many pros and cons. Both weigh somewhat equally in their benefits and challenges but can also have some significant differences.
What are these differences and how can you best make a decision that will ultimately fit your needs?
First, let’s discuss the pros and cons of buying a home and what’s involved. This can be one of the biggest investments you make in your life. The key term being an investment, which ultimately means there will be some type of profit or material result.
Most people finance their home with a mortgage, which can be both a pro or con depending on your financial stability. Applying for a mortgage can go smoothly if you have a good credit score, since most loans have certain credit score requirements that must be met before they’re accepted. If your credit score is low then you may have a difficult time getting a mortgage with a lower interest rate. However, there are multiple ways to improve a low credit score before applying for a loan.
One advantage to buying a house is you typically don’t have to worry about putting much labor into it unless it’s a flip project or has some structural damages present. Otherwise, it may be turnkey ready and you can move in relatively quickly.
Having the charm and character of an older home can also be a benefit to buying, versus building, a house. Older homes typically have more unique designs than the newer, more modern designs you see today. Those who flip houses thrive when they find an older home with these unique structural features because they know how much it can enhance a home’s appeal. The unique character of an older home is something that could never be fully replicated through the building process.
Depending on where you stand financially, having to get a mortgage and paying those initial high upfront costs can be a disadvantage. Although, overall purchasing costs typically are lower than they are when building a home.
The state of the housing market also plays a big role in your ability to buy a home. Typically, the best time to buy is during a buyer’s market. This means there are more houses for sale than there are people who want to buy them, and you’re therefore able to negotiate a lower price on a home. However, if it is a seller’s market and available houses are scarce, you may be spending over $10,000 above the asking price in order to buy a home. That is if it even makes it past day one on the market without getting an accepted offer. Finding a good realtor will help with this process immensely.
As stated earlier, if you move into a home that has significant structural damages you may be stuck with some maintenance and repair. A way to avoid further issues in the home is consulting a structural engineer. They can assess the home to ensure that the structure is safe and assist with repairing the structural damages. With a professional’s view, you can know the safety conditions of your home prior to moving in.
Building a home is an entirely different experience than buying a home. The pros and cons also differ which may sway the decision for some people. That being said, building a home can be an enjoyable experience if you are in a good financial position.
Customization is one of the biggest pros when it comes to building versus buying a home. Having the ability to fully design your home the way you want it is a dream come true for many. To do so, you will want to consult with an architectural consultant who is proficient in architectural design. They will be able to make your vision come true inside and outside of the home.
An MEP design engineer is another professional you’ll want to contact during the process of designing and building your home. MEP stands for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing which are extremely important parts of building a home. MEP engineers are experts in this design and can help implement this in your home-building process and can take care of a lot of tough work for you.
There are a few different ideas you will want to consider before connecting with an MEP engineer, one being energy efficiency. This is beneficial since you have control when building as opposed to buying an old drafty house. Although you may have to shovel out a good amount of money to these engineers, it’ll be worth it once your ideal home is built properly.
The cons of building a home can vary depending on the market. For example, in today’s market, the cost of lumber is extremely high and can halt your building process if you don’t have the proper funds. Also, with buying a home, almost everything is negotiable, but a contractor is far less likely to negotiate prices which can lead to higher costs for their time on top of the materials. Additionally, waiting for certain materials to be available can delay the length of time it will take the builder to complete your new home.
Location can be a con because many developers have existing homes built in desirable locations. If you don’t want to be in a development, then you also have to find and purchase land before you can even think about building. Therefore, you may have trouble finding land that fits your ideal target spot for your home.
Final Thoughts on Buying vs. Building a Home
Choosing whether buying vs. building a home is a tough decision. Keeping these pros and cons in mind can help determine what’s best for you. As long as you’re armed with the right knowledge and expectations you’ll be able to make the right decision.
In case you have any design requirements or questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
Ellie Lott is passionate about millennial financial planning and uses her website to help educate her generation on making smart decisions with their money.