Should You Buy or Build a Home?

A home is usually the single largest investment that a person makes. Most buyers end up spending lots of time and energy either searching for or designing "the perfect home" before signing any contracts. Location, price, market trends, property taxes and the condition of the property are factored into the house hunt. Also, each buyer typically has a wish list that includes specific needs (the things the buyer absolutely have to have) and wants (the features the buyer would like, but could do without if necessary). While the home-buying process involves a number of important choices, one of the very first decisions buyers need to make is whether to shop for an existing home or build a new one. Each path has its advantages and disadvantages. Here's a look at both sides.

Buying an Existing Home

The primary advantage to buying an existing home could be “convenience”. Once you are pre-approved by your lender, you can shop around, pick out a home and make an offer. A qualified real estate agent can streamline the process by helping you find appropriate properties, guiding you through negotiations and assisting with the paperwork. Once your offer is accepted, you may be able to close and move in within a month or two.

Even though the process involves numerous steps – such as financing, viewing homes, making offers, home inspections and closing – the convenience of being able to move in right away is compelling enough for many people to choose an existing home over a build. This may be especially true for buyers on a tight schedule, such as those relocating for a new job or whose children will be starting at a new school.

The biggest disadvantage of buying an existing home may be that you won't get exactly what you want. You may not be in love with the floor plan, may wish that half bath on the first floor were a full bath or that there were another bedroom on the main floor. Older homes, in particular, may be functionally obsolete, and no longer meet the needs of most buyers. For example, an otherwise beautiful four-bedroom house may only have one bathroom, or the kitchen may be too small with no room for expansion. Unless you find an existing home that has exactly what you want and is in perfect condition, you will have to spend additional money on remodelling, repairs, decorating and/or landscaping. These additional expenses should be factored into the overall price, especially when choosing among various properties or comparing the cost to building your own house.

Building a Home

Building a new home does not offer the same convenience as buying an existing house. Not only do you have to find the stand, you also have to factor in the time to find an architect or builder, and choose every element of the new structure. Joining an existing development can streamline the process, though it may limit your degree of choice. However, with H&W Builders you will not necessarily have to go through all these hustles since we offer you a one-stop-shop that takes care of everything including helping you find a perfect stand where you can meet all your lifestyle expectations; so, building with us makes the process of building your dream home much easier than the process of buying a house.

The big advantage: You are much more likely to get exactly what you want. For many, this factor alone is enough to choose building over buying, but there are other advantages, too. A new home is more efficient, especially with the new energy codes including better HVAC [heating, ventilation, and cooling], insulation and air filtration standards. Better efficiency is good for the environment and can save you money on your utility bills each month.

Another benefit? A new house may literally be better for you. A new home is less likely to have the health concerns or toxic materials of an older home – things such as asbestos, lead paint, mould, etc. And it can be built with certain materials making it better for the environment. Green appliances/Energy Star rated appliances, and more efficient toilets, plumbing fixtures and electrical fixtures allow you to build "green" for a more sustainable home in the long run. And you have the option to install, sleeve and/or wire for future technology upgrades, such as home automation and solar.

Money and features aside, building a house can lead to a level of satisfaction that you can't achieve through buying an existing home. There is a definite feeling of an emotional connection to living in a new home that you have created. The new-home smell, no one else has stepped foot (or pets) on your carpet. This is your creation that matches your style and personality, that you created from scratch.

Even though the upfront costs of building can be a little bit high, it may be easier to recoup your investment. You can have more significant profits with the resale of your new home. A newer home is typically more appealing than an older home to most people. In addition, a new home will require fewer repairs and less maintenance, which can save both money and time. And, as we pointed out on our home page, you'll have a warranty with a new home, so even if something does go wrong, you may still be covered.

Time and Money

The biggest drawbacks to building a house tend to be the higher costs and longer timeframe, both of which can increase throughout the home-building process. That-said, you can avoid the risk that your house will go over budget or take longer than you expected by working with a reputable builder that cares about its clients like H&W Builders, and having a good contract in place.

In addition, we will work with you from the beginning till the end, to help you reduce costs. We will provide a list of cost-saving items, if requested. Substituting different materials and fixtures can save thousands of Rands, so if costs are a concern, ask ahead of time if there's a cheaper alternative. And keep in mind that anything out of the ordinary is going to cost more. Custom colours and ornate shapes of materials are certain ways to go over budget.

To control the timeframe, we will provide you with a contract that includes a construction time duration. We’ll keep you up to date with the progress and provide you with progress photos and videos on a regular basis, and our project manager will be your main point of contact throughout the process. In addition, to save you both money and time, we will maintain good communication with you and make sure you are happy with the design/specs before the build begins. Bear in mind that it will neither be good for you nor for us if you decide to change your mind about the colour of the granite countertops after they've already been installed.

The Bottom Line

Even if you start off your home search set on finding the perfect existing property, you may end up deciding to build to get exactly what you want. In this case, working with H&W Builders can help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Check out our building package.