Many of our clients are faced with the dilemma of buying versus building.  It is often a source of discussions and questions.  There are definitely pros and cons to both scenarios that you should consider.

When you build a home, you can get the design you want right from the start as long as it is within your budget.  Not only can you pick the lot, but you can customize the home to meet your needs and desires.  Because it is new construction, you do not have to worry about repairs due to age and you get a warranty for various items.  When you build your own home, you have the satisfaction and pride of seeing your ideas come to fruition. 

However, building a home can be stressful.  You must find a reliable, licensed general contractor with whom you are comfortable.  There may be additional costs along the way or unforeseen delays due to weather, labor shortages or materials.  You will spend quite a bit of time monitoring the site to make sure things are correct.  The extra effort is worth it to get exactly what you want as long as your schedule and temperament allows you to spend the time and energy required.

When you buy a home, you can move right in without delays.  You do not have the stress that comes with building a home because you know what you are getting, for what price, on your timeline, not some else’s.  As a bonus, you don’t have to visualize the space because it is already there.  Typically the cost of purchasing a “previously occupied” home is less than constructing a new home.

Conversely, when you buy a home, you must work within the existing design of the home.  It is not likely you will find a house that meets all of your needs.  Therefore, you will have to prioritize what is important to you and focus on finding a home that meets those needs.  Renovations are an option to be able to customize the home to your tastes and needs. 

When comparing the costs to build versus buy, be aware of the different per square foot prices that are being quoted to you.  When an existing home is quoted by a realtor, he or she is giving you a price (for the home, lot, landscaping, etc.) based on living area. When a builder quotes a price, he or she is quoting a per square foot price for the total square feet under the roof.  To this price, you have to add the additional costs (the lot, landscaping, window coverings, etc.).  For instance, a 2,000 square foot living area home with 500 square feet of garage/patio will be quoted by dividing the total price (of the home, lot, etc.) by 2,000 square feet.  The same size home quoted by the builder will be the total price divided by 2,500 square feet.  To this number, you must add the cost of the land, landscaping, window coverings, and other extras (such as irrigation systems, subsurface draining, etc.).

The decision to buy or sell a home is a very personal decision.  After reviewing the pros and cons, you must choose the best scenario for you and your family and then consult a real estate agent to help you find the perfect lot or home for you.