Many times new home owners are caught between the question of should I buy an existing home or build a new home of my own? This is a great question, and it really comes down to the potential owner’s personal preferences in several different areas. To make it easier to decide, let’s break it down into the pros and cons of each.
Pros of buying an existing home:
- For an existing home, one of the main pros is convenience. You can move in immediately after closing and are instantly ready to begin your new life.
- You also have the potential of upgrades when buying an existing home. You can upgrade the house or the property in small ways — or major ways — in your own timeframe and whenever your budget allows.
- Another upside is that the cost of an existing home can be negotiated, unlike when building a home, where prices are fixed, and sometimes there are unexpected costs.
- With an existing home, most times, you are usually moving into an established neighborhood, which gives you the ability not only to socialize and entertain, but it usually means that stores, schools, and hospitals are nearby.
- Another benefit to buying an existing home that’s sometimes under-considered is the landscaping. If you move into an existing home, you’ll have mature landscaping and trees to work with and add to, as opposed to having to cultivate the bare lot of a newly built site.
Cons of buying an existing home:
- One of the cons of buying an existing home is somewhat of an obvious one — you will always be competing with other buyers for the home, whereas you’re less likely to have steep competition over a vacant lot.
- Another downside is the compromise on some of the existing features of the home. Unless you’re lucky enough to find your perfect dream home, it’s likely that you’ll have to settle on some of the aspects of the house and its floor plan.
- You may also end up needing to repair or restore certain aspects of the home, such as heating, cooling, or roofing, depending on its age and condition.
Now let’s look at some of the positives and negatives that come with building your own home.
Pros of building your own home:
- When building your own home, you can have it designed to fit your lifestyle and your preferences and get exactly what you want.
- You can also have custom details put in, things that make your house unique and intriguing.
- Should something go wrong with an aspect of your new home, large repairs are usually covered by a warranty.
- New homes are also more energy efficient and can cost you less in the long run.
- A new home is also less likely to contain toxic construction materials than an existing home, and you can take special measures to ensure the building materials you use are as eco-friendly as possible.
Cons of building your own home:
- When building your own home, the timeframe will be the main issue you face. You’ll have to budget a length of time in advance for the new house to be built, and sometimes, unforeseen things happen, pushing your timeframe out farther than expected.
- Building your own home can also be more expensive than outright buying an existing home; with a new home, there tend to be more upfront costs and not much room for negotiation on purchase prices or closing costs.
- There can also be extra costs you hadn’t budgeted for, either when choosing to upgrade certain aspects to your home, or paying for unexpected issues that weren’t budgeted for.
- If you’re building on an untouched lot, there can be extra time and money required for the lot itself, either to landscape the bare lot when the home is finished, or to shape the lot / remove trees to fit the new house.
- Lastly, there are impact fees to consider when building a new home, which is a tax usually imposed on new builders to cover the “impact” made on schools, roads, fire departments, etc.
When choosing an existing home or building a new one yourself, there are many pros and cons to both sides. In the end, it comes down to time, money, and what you’re looking for in your dream home.