A new home – the big investment, a big part of your life! You have two options, shop around and buy a house that already exists or start from scratch and build a new house. Which is right for you? It depends what you want, not only from the process, but the actual building itself; both have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Let’s weigh them up and take a look at what both sides have to offer and what you’ll need to consider in making your decision.
Benefits of building
Get exactly what you want. The biggest thing building new has to offer is that you can customise your house to be just what you want and need. You don’t have to have a bespoke house plan drawn from scratch by an architect to get something unique either; even working with a home building company from a portfolio of pre-existing plans will present opportunities to add your own flavour.
Build a smarter home. Modern technology and building products will only keep improving, creating homes that function better and are healthier, warmer and more eco-friendly than existing housing stock, especially homes older than 20 years.
Low to no maintenance. Unlike an existing home, everything in your new build will be just that – brand new and in tip-top condition. Maintain your new home well from the get go and you maximise your chances of having minimal issues and ongoing costs well into the future.
Benefits of buying
Choose your suburb. Buying from existing housing stock allows you the benefit of choosing a community and area you want to be part of. Finding empty sections within already established suburbs is somewhat rare, so when you choose to build you’re limited to living in the furthermost reaches of your current area where new developments are taking place.
It’s quicker. When compared to building, which can take months, buying is almost always a much quicker process; once you’ve had an offer accepted you could be all moved in within a matter of weeks.
Things to consider about building
It can be expensive. Or can it? In some regions, the price difference between buying and building is small and getting smaller; that includes purchasing the land and paying for the house to be built. However, you may need to consider where you’ll live while the build is happening; you may need to be paying rent on top of servicing a mortgage on your new property.
Building is a timely and stressful process. From dreaming and planning through to a completed build the process can be long. And even with the best project manager running the build, you’re bound to experience some frustration at times.
Price uncertainty. With building, there’s a risk of going over budget, so opt for a guaranteed fixed price contract. Bear in mind, adding features or customisations after determining your plan can bump up the price.
Things to consider about buying
Historical issues. Age takes it toll and along with the charm of that old house comes worn parts and materials, and sometimes even hazardous materials such as asbestos for example. Old houses need a lot of TLC and ongoing maintenance, which can be costly. And even if you get a pre-purchase building inspection, sometimes these can go unnoticed and give you a nasty surprise when you’re not expecting it.
You get what you get. It’s expensive to customise and upgrade an existing house and sometimes you’ll find you have to make compromises on your dream depending on existing rooms and features that are already in place.
Not the best performers. If you’re buying a house built in the last 20 years you’re probably getting a reasonable level of insulation. But most people find their first home budget lends itself more to older homes that haven’t been heavily modernised or renovated. These older homes are often poorly insulated and designed, and as we said above, it can be costly to rectify these issues.
Buying and building each come with their set of finance considerations. If you want to know more about financing your new home, take a look at our blog post here.
In conclusion, building new will most likely get you a better quality home but there is a longer wait than buying. Buying allows you more choice in where you want live but you’ll need to consider the ongoing costs of maintaining and older property.