Build or Buy? Pros and Cons

3 Minute Read

It’s the classic homebuyer’s conundrum: Should we build, or should we buy?

Each option has its pros and cons, but existing homes have one big financial advantage. Generally speaking, you’ll get more bang for your buck in terms of square footage when you buy an already built home.

If you’re willing to make some trade-offs, however, it’s worthwhile to explore the arguments for and against each choice.

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The Case for Building Your Home

Pros: The main benefit of building is the ability to tailor your home to your preferences. Custom homes are built to meet the buyer’s personal vision. Each custom home is unique, so this option is more expensive. Tract homes are built with similar styles and allow for some customization in color choices, flooring options and certain finishes. Limited choices reduce labor costs—and your bottom line.

Obviously, new homes are built to meet current building codes, are often more energy efficient, and can incorporate up-to-date technology. For the first few years, you’re less likely to deal with big-ticket maintenance issues like leaky roofs or failing heating and cooling systems in a newly built home, but that’s not always the case.

Cons: So, why not build a new home? Aside from the fact that you’ll likely pay more per square foot, you’ll also wait longer to move in. Most buyers can move into their new-to-them home just weeks after making the initial offer. If you build, you’ll be waiting months.

Also keep in mind that newly constructed communities don’t have the personality that mature neighborhoods do. Not only are the trees and landscaping brand new, but you could also end up living next to an empty lot or spec home for quite some time. In multi-phase communities, you’ll also have to deal with ongoing construction.

The Case for Buying an Existing Home

Pros: We’ve been pretty clear so far that an existing home is usually the better deal. But the benefits are more than financial. Buying a home is less stressful than building. And, since existing homes are part of established communities, you can get a feel for the area’s character.

Cons: Clearly, you’ll have a better chance of facing maintenance issues in an existing home. But a professional home inspection can root out many of those potential problems before you close on the home. You may also need to update some of the outdated features of an older home, but if you play your cards right, that old carpet and ugly wallpaper could land you a better deal!

Ready to Decide?

With all that said, every market is different—just like every buyer is different. The best way to choose the option that’s right for you is to talk it over with an experienced real estate agent. Your agent will know where the deals are, whether that’s in the long-time neighborhoods or the up-and-coming communities. And they’ll help you decide whether building or buying will suit your needs best.

If you’re looking for an agent who’s willing to do what it takes to help you find the perfect home, we can put you in touch with an experienced agent Dave recommends in your area.

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