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Buying vs. Building: Four Major Considerations You Should Think About

Updated on September 12, 2015
erinshelby profile image

Erin Shelby is passionate about living a lifestyle that aims for financial freedom. She writes about personal finance and other topics.

Buying a home has long been part of the American dream. There are two ways this dream can come to fruition: buying a home or having one custom-built. Which path should you choose?

Do you see yourself living here 10 years from now?
Do you see yourself living here 10 years from now? | Source

Consider Your Goals

Your motivation for buying or building this home can greatly influence the decision. If you can see yourself as part of this community, living here for the next 20 years or more, custom-building a home might be the right decision. However, if you’re not sure that you will be living in this community five years or ten years from now, custom-building a home if probably not the easiest, or cheapest, route to home ownership for you. Building a home requires purchasing land, choosing a builder, obtaining permits and making design choices. Purchasing a previously-built home is much simpler.

Look at the Problems

Buying a fixer-upper can seem like a steal, but these homes usually require lots of care to fix existing problems. Do you have the time and patience to fix such problems yourself, or do you have the funds to hire a contractor?

Some of the problems to look out for include: Will it be costly to provide climate control? Does it lack an air conditioning system for the summers? Does the heating provide warmth in the winter? Is the home drafty? Are there problems with the foundation? Before you make a final decision, consider what problems you’re willing to tolerate.

This cottage may look like a great deal but hidden problems may add to its sticker price over time.
This cottage may look like a great deal but hidden problems may add to its sticker price over time. | Source

Location, Location, Location

If you’re thinking about custom-building a home, the location is imperative to getting the best long-term deal. In particular, purchasing land that offers you well water at no charge can add up to a lifetime of savings. This is a sharp contrast to the rates imposed on those in homes where city water comes with a fee.

The Builder’s Reputation

If you decide to build your home, the builder’s reputation is critical. The safety of your family, quality workmanship, professionalism and your total satisfaction will all be guaranteed by a quality builder. Get quotes from multiple builders to make the right decision. Investigate each builder’s credentials, reputation, references and standing in the community.

Should I Buy or Build?

Owning a home is a dream come true but the path isn’t always clear. As you decide to buy a home or custom-build your home, ask as many questions as you need to obtain the answers you need. These answers will guide you to the decision that is best for you.

Do you regret where your home is currently located?

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© 2014 erinshelby


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    • erinshelby profile image

      erinshelby 3 years ago from United States

      Genna, Thank you for your kind words. The right house is such an important purchase; people should know all they can to make the right decision.

      Teaches12345, You mentioned location, which is so correct. Thank you for reminding everyone of that.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      As we look for a new home next year, location is the key deciding factor for me. These days, it does make a big difference in cost and safety issues. Great post.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Hi Erin;

      This is a very useful hub for those who re considering buying versus building. You have brought very important points…for example, the all-important location, and what does the existing home need in terms of repairs and future maintenance. Voted way up!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      The old maxim about location is absolutely correct. Building a home can be stressful, but you do get what you want. Helpful tips here.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Interesting and very useful.

      Voted up and shared.


    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Hi Erin, a helpful hub for people trying to make that decision. Here in Australia, land and houses in and close to cities are so expensive now that most average people will never be able to afford to own their home. We had to move away from the city....we are 35 minutes drive from the nearest small town.....bought a cheap block of land and a prefab shed (livable standard) and erected it ourselves to save money. Just another option to consider.