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What to Consider When Choosing to Buy or to Build a House

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If you’re thinking about purchasing a home, you might be wondering if it’s better to buy or build. There are pros and cons to both options, and the decision ultimately comes down to what’s best for your unique situation. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision.

Factors Common to Both

Whether you buy a newly-built house or buy land and build on it, there are factors you must consider that are common to both. Here are some of them.

Budget

The first and most important factor to consider is your budget. How much can you afford to spend on a home? This will help you determine the types of houses you can consider buying or building.

Compute how much you can spare from your monthly income to pay for a mortgage and insurance. Include a sum for other expenses in closing on a property, such as a down payment and closing costs. Also, allocate a budget for home maintenance and repairs.

Based on that monthly sum, research how much the corresponding loan amount will be. Remember that you are not sure if you will be given approval for that amount. It might be less. Still, this will give you an idea of the range of prices you can afford.

Location

Where do you want to live? If you have your heart set on a specific neighborhood or school district, you might have to settle for whatever is available there — whether newly-built homes or land to build on.

You will be more flexible if, instead of pinpointing a specific area, you determine your criteria for a suitable location. For instance, do you want to live within walking distance of restaurants and shopping places? Or do you want to live in a more quiet and laid-back area? Do you prefer a warm climate or a cool one?

Once you have narrowed down your criteria, you can begin looking for places that match your needs. You can choose from a wider range of locations.

Size of Home

How big of a house do you need? Decide on the minimum area you can live comfortably in. If you have a family, consider the needs of all family members.

Do you need a yard? If you do, what is the smallest size acceptable to you? It is best to know your bottom line.

Buying a House

Before you decide, you must look at as many available houses for sale as you can. Of course, only check out those that are within your price range, in a location that meets your criteria, and no smaller than your minimum size.

What are the advantages of buying a newly-built house?

The house is brand new and has never been lived in before. This means that everything should be in working order, from the plumbing to the electrical wiring. If there are any problems with the house, they should be covered by the builder’s warranty.

New homes are built to current building codes. This means that they will likely have features that older homes don’t, such as energy-efficient windows and appliances, and better insulation.

What are the disadvantages of buying a newly-built house?

The main disadvantage of buying a newly-built home is that you only get what is available. The house is finished so there is no room for customization unless you do renovations after you purchase it. If you do that, it adds to the cost.

Building a House

Before you decide, you must also look at as many available lots as you can. Remember that you have the option of just buying a lot and then finding a contractor to build a house for you, or buying a lot and house package where the house is not yet built but is included in the contract.

In some cases, you are free to determine the house you want within the set price. In other cases, there are available house designs you can choose from with a bit of leeway for some customization. You must find out about all of these for every property you check out.

Again, only look at those that are within your budget, with a location that meets your criteria, and the right size.

What are the advantages of building a house?

The main advantage of building a house is that you can specify what you want. Of course, that is within reasonable limits. You must listen to the contractor if you are told that what you want does not comply with building codes or goes beyond your budget.

Even in cases where there is a limited set of house designs you are allowed to choose from, there are often many things you can still customize. These include paint color for the interiors and exterior, finishes, flooring, counter tops, cabinets, and fixtures. Be prepared to choose only among those within the same price range.

What are the disadvantages of building a house?

The main disadvantage of building a house is that it takes time. Construction can take months, depending on the size and complexity of the house. Given current shortages in building materials and delays in delivery, there is also the risk that construction will go over the set schedule and exceed your budget.

Another thing to consider is that you will likely need to move into a rental property or stay with family or friends while your new home is being built. This can be disruptive and add to your costs.

Making the Decision

The decision to buy or build a house depends on many factors. Consider your needs, wants, and budget carefully before making a decision. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both options to decide what is best for you.

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