Buy or Build?

2013-08-17T15:19:00Z Buy or Build?Michelle Krueger Times Correspondent
August 17, 2013 3:19 pm  • 

When it comes to comparing existing houses with new construction, there are a number of things to consider.

One of the biggest factors when deciding whether to build a new home or buy an existing house and make it your own is usually location – most people want to stay within a certain area for the school district and/or proximity to family, friends and work - followed closely by price and then functionality.

When it comes to almost any real estate decision, it’s truly about location, location, location first. So whether there are existing houses and/or buildable home sites that meet your criteria in your preferred area can be a determining factor right from the very start. However, assuming there’s a selection of both options that meet your needs, the next step would be to compare price.

While looking at existing houses, it’s important to factor in any updates or renovations needed to make it a suitable home for you and your family – and be realistic. That way, you can more equally compare the features and quality with new construction based on your needs and total investment – as well as the projected return on that investment over time.

You may find that new homes are priced a bit higher than comparable existing houses. However, when considering the big picture, the difference may actually be much closer. New homes include home warranties and should not require any major repairs for a number of years. Depending on the age and maintenance history of an existing house, “big ticket” items such as the roof, furnace or air conditioner – not to mention kitchen appliances, lighting and plumbing - may need to be replaced/updated in the short-term. These are all potential expense that should be taken into account.

In addition, when comparing the two options of buying or building, you will need to factor in any updates an existing house needs in order to match the functionality of a new one.

For example, newer homes are much more energy efficient due to the increased requirements in building codes, which will lead to lower energy bills and reduce your impact on the environment. Plus, today's homes are thoughtfully planned and designed for the needs of today's families. From open floor plans with large kitchens and spacious great rooms to more storage space, new homes are also built to accommodate the latest technology so you can move right in and start living life without making a single update or adjustment.

The bottom line: modern construction methods and technology often mean a more structurally sound home, while the warranties that back newly-built homes mean more peace of mind for the families who live there. While many buyers rule out new construction without considering the short- and long-term benefits of building new, it pays to carefully weigh all your options. If you find that you are compromising too many of the items on your wish list when it comes to purchasing an existing house, building new somewhere nearby may just be the option for you.

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