If you’re looking to buy your dream home, you’re probably excited and overwhelmed by all of the possibilities available to you. And one of the biggest questions you may be wondering about is whether you should buy an existing home or build your own.
This is a personal choice everyone has to make for themselves. If you’ve been following along on my journey for a while, then you may know I initially planned to build my own home.
However, after doing some research and starting down that path, I realized that wasn’t the best choice for me and ended up buying an already built home. If you’re a first-time home buyer wondering what the right choice is for you, let’s look at a few things you should consider first.
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Pros and Cons of Building a Home
One of the biggest advantages of building your own home is that you can customize it exactly the way you want it. You can choose the layout, features, and paint colors that match your style and preferences. That isn’t always possible to do when you’re buying a pre-built home.
You can also choose things like energy-efficient appliances and higher quality cabinets and flooring. The customization options are really endless, and since the home is new, it’s likely that you won’t have to make any major repairs for a while. That being said, though, be sure to have a house emergency fund in place before you build/buy your home in case those appliances do go out. Since you're going to be your own landlord, those expenses are now your responsibility.
There’s just something special about knowing that your family is the first to occupy that home. You also don’t have to deal with the same type of competition as when you’re bidding on a pre-built home.
However, there are downsides to consider when it comes to building your own home. The most obvious being the price tag. Adding all those custom furnishings can be nice, but those costs can add up quickly if you’re not careful.
Building a home is a much longer process than buying a home that’s already built. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it typically takes about seven months from start to finish to build a home. Whereas you could buy and close on an existing home within a month or two.
As exciting as building a home is, it can also be stressful. There are tons of big and small decisions you have to make, and the process can really wear on you over time.
As mentioned, I was initially planning on building my home on a few acres of land. What ultimately changed my mind was realizing the unknown's that came along with building, and that was unsettling to me.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Home
If you’re not sure if you’re ready for the financial and time commitment that comes with building your own home, buying an existing home is a great option. You can find a home you love and can always upgrade later to create the customized home you want.
And since you don’t have to buy land or work with a builder, you’ll most likely be able to negotiate a lower sales price. This means you may be able to buy a bigger home for less.
It’s likely that you can find, negotiate, and close on a home much sooner. This is a huge advantage for anyone who doesn’t want to spend the next year building a home.
However, there are downsides to consider when it comes to buying a home as well. The biggest trade-off is that you’re probably not going to find everything you want in a home.
You may end up with more dated appliances, and the style of the home may not be what you would prefer. Yes, you can update these items, but that’s going to take time and cost money. Create a list of “must-haves” so you don't settle on something that you may potentially regret later.
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In most areas right now, there’s quite a bit of competition on existing houses, especially if you’re trying to move into a highly sought-after neighborhood or city.
4 Things to Consider
So now that you understand some of the advantages and disadvantages that come with building vs. buying your home, how do you know what’s the right move for you? Here are four things to consider first:
- Your financial situation: Obviously, the biggest factor to consider is your current financial situation. Can you afford to pay the high costs that come with building your own home? If it will be a financial strain, then buying may be the better option.
- Your down payment: Whether you build or buy, you’re going to need a down payment to qualify for a mortgage. You also need to plan for closing costs, moving expenses, and possible purchases for the house. With the CIT savings builder, you can save up the funds for your down payment and home expenses while earning a generous 0.40% interest rate.
- Decisiveness: Another thing you need to consider is how decisive you are. This may sound like a minor point, but building your own home requires making a lot of decisions. You get to choose everything from the paint to the types of doorknobs in the home. If you’re someone who has a hard time making decisions quickly, this could significantly drag out the process.
- Your timeline: If you’re looking to find a home and move in quickly, then buying is likely the best choice for you. Building a home takes time, and many variables can delay the process. Whereas with buying a built home, you can find a great home to buy, close on it, and move in fairly quickly.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to buying vs. building a home, there really is no “right choice.” It really comes down to what makes the most sense given your financial situation and personal preferences.
And if there’s anything you can learn from my story, it’s that you’re not tied to any one path. You can pick an option now, and then after you learn more information, choose to change directions – I did!
Did you build your home, or do you prefer to buy? Let me know in the comments!