Your New Home: Cheaper To Build Or To Buy?

House With Driveway

When deciding where to put down your family roots, you’ve no doubt considered the thought of buying versus building. As many of us aren’t rolling in the dough, it bears some heavy thought on whether we want to tackle and update old construction or spend the money to build and create what we truly want in a home.

Regardless of your decision, there are some aspects of buying and building that must undergo scrutiny in order for you to feel as if you’ve made the best decision for you and for your family. Here are some pros and cons of buying and building laid out before you in hopes that they will point you in the direction that is best for your unique life situation.

Buying Vs. Building: Financial Considerations

According to recent figures, the average cost of buying an existing home is around $220,000, which averages out to about $148 per square foot of construction. And while all of the aspects of this old construction might not be to your liking, they can still be updated.

The same recent statistics tell us that the price of building new construction these days averages out to about $289,000, which is almost $66,000 more than purchasing a home that has already been built. With new construction, however, you do get more for your money–new construction homes tend to be larger, more spacious, and offer more desirable floor plans than homes built before 1970. Looking at your financial “big picture” and your goals will help you to determine if building or buying is right for you.

New Home Construction

Buying Vs. Building: Home Maintenance

Older homes have more wear and tear, and over time, if regular maintenance on your home is not performed, you can be subject to larger and more costly repairs. Items like your roof, your furnace, and your HVAC system will eventually need to be replaced, and some of these bigger ticket items can cost upwards of $5000. Performing regularly scheduled maintenance on your home will ensure that you get the most out of these systems and appliances, saving you valuable time and money.

With new construction, you have less of a need for upkeep and replacement, which saves you money up front. Do know, however, that with wear and tear on new construction, you will eventually see higher repair bills. Do regular screenings and maintenance checks on all of your home’s systems and its structure, and you will reduce the possibility of incurring some unsavory repair costs later on.

Buying Vs. Building: Landscaping

One perk of established construction is the landscape maturity. Mature trees and other landscaping structures add tens of thousands of dollars to a property’s value and save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in heating and cooling costs.

You are most likely not transplanting mature trees onto your new construction landscape; it will take lots of time and patience to create the look that you want in and around your home. In addition, the cost of adding landscaping to your total construction project will cost about $3000 additional, so be prepared for more upfront costs with respect to building and landscaping.

Buying Vs. Building: Energy Efficiency

Let’s face facts–older homes were not designed to be energy efficient; there are plenty of leaky windows and doors, drafty attics, and other quirks of an old home that are a drain on energy resources and money. Owning an older home means making investments on more energy efficient things such as windows and doors, heating and cooling systems, and energy efficient electrical systems.

Newer homes are built with energy efficiency in mind—bringing new construction up to code means installing the latest energy efficiency technologies to reduce overall ownership cost. These new technologies do cost more, however. When deciding whether to build versus buy, it really comes down to where you want to invest your money in home ownership; upgrading or establishment.

Buying Vs. Building: Construction and Maintenance Cost

While it is desirable for many homeowners to tackle some of the smaller maintenance and upkeep projects themselves, it is not always wise to do so. The cost of a DIY repair often becomes more expensive than hiring a contractor, as many jobs end up taking more time and more resources than anticipated.

Finding a professional builder, will give you the peace of mind that any job you need is being done to code, with utmost integrity and professionalism. Making the investment in your home by hiring a qualified contractor is one way to ensure that your home maintains its highest value and appreciation.

Your decision to buy or to build is a big one; take some time to map out your goals, build a big picture vision of how you want to create your home, and then get excited about the journey you are about to embark on. Establishing a home is a very exciting time in one’s life, and making smart financial choices when deciding how to best purchase or buy will allow the process to be joyful and fun. Best of luck to you in the selection of your new home!

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