Building vs Buying a Home

family moving in to a new house

When you’re in the market for a new home, your life can seem like an endless string of challenging choices. One of those, for many people, is whether you’d rather build or buy. There are significant pros and cons to each option, so it’s important to weigh these carefully to make the best choice for your family.

Home Building Pros

Complete Customization

Building a house means you'll have the control to completely customize every aspect of your new home. From paint colors, to the home layout, to all of the finishes, you’ll be able to choose each component to suit your tastes and needs. This is definitely the largest perk of building your own home, as the end result can be your exact “dream home” vision come to life.

Less Upkeep

Building a new home means that everything inside it is, well, new! That means the internal systems (HVAC, septic, and so on) are new and most likely will not require much upkeep in the near future. These systems will also be under warranty and will be protected up to ten years. In fact, many freshly built homes come with some kind of protection for the entirety of the house for that period of time. This can present a large savings versus buying a pre-existing home, which may have more surprise issues that require attention.

couple building a home

Energy Efficiency

Building a new home means you can opt for more energy efficient components than pre-existing homes may have. This can include appliances, heating and cooling systems, and even things like window design. Additionally, newly built homes must meet current building codes, many of which are centered more around energy efficiency than those that were in place for the construction of older homes. This can mean major savings, and it comes with the badge of better environmental stewardship.

Home Building Cons

It Can Be Time Consuming

If you’re looking to move quickly, building a home from scratch might not be the route for you. Designing and constructing a new home can take about seven months on average. Permitting processes aren’t always quick, and construction delays can spring up from a range of factors, including tough weather and material or labor shortages.

There Are Many Hidden Costs

In addition to the upfront cost of the actual house, there are a range of additional costs that may “sneak up” on a home buyer. These include the cost of landscaping your new home or adding window treatments inside once you move in. Remember that a freshly built home is a blank canvas that you are responsible for filling from start to finish, which can be quite costly.

Upgrades Can be Costly

Sure, building your own house may be a dream come true! But that doesn’t mean that achieving that modern, sleek, and tricked out dream house comes at a cheap price tag. Upgrading items within your new home—appliances, finishes, flooring, and so on—can quickly add up. The bottom line? Many home buyers think that building may be the cheaper route, when really that may be far from the truth, especially if you're going with a lux design and materials.

stressful construction problems

Home Buying Pros

Your Landscaping Will be Mature

Moving into a pre-built home means your yard will have more mature landscaping than a newly built home. From shrubs to trees to grass to flowers, the landscaping will look better and will already be there at no cost to you.

You Can Negotiate Price

When you’re building a house from scratch, there’s little wiggle room on the price when you’re in talks with the builder. However, when you’re buying a house that’s already built and that’s been lived in, you have more of a chance to get the price down, which is definitely a plus for those on a budget.

It’s a Quicker Process

As mentioned above, it takes a lot of time to build a brand new home. Buying a pre-existing home is typically a much quicker process. In fact, the average time to close on a home is 44 days. That’s not immediate, but it's a far cry from the average construction time of over half a year.

Home Buying Cons

You’ll Have to Make Sacrifices

When you’re buying a house that already exists, you’re bound to have to make some sacrifices on things that you’re looking for. Whether it’s a less than stellar floor plan or just lacking in some of the modern appliances and finishes you were hoping for, it’s likely something will be missing off from your wishlist if you don’t build from scratch.

More Maintenance Issues May Arise

Buying an older home opens you up to the possibility of maintenance issues that can be quite costly to fix. Issues with your plumbing, roof, HVAC system, or any other number of aspects of your home can run you thousands of dollars to fix.

You Won’t be The First People to Live There

Some people place a lot of stock in being the first person to live in a home. When you buy a pre-built house, you most likely won’t be the first family to reside in that space. For the most part, this isn't a big deal, but if previous owners had pets, kids, fireplaces, or smoking habits, the home may come with damage you need to reverse before you settle in.