How to Decide: Should I Build or Buy a Home?
If you’ve been house shopping for a while, you may have considered building your dream home from the ground up. In some states, it’s much cheaper to build your own home, but in other areas it can be even more expensive. Costs of materials, construction, architects, blueprints, and getting everything delivered can be a struggle. Supply chain woes aren’t over yet. Still, if you’ve been shopping for a while and you can’t find your dream home, it might be worth it to decide whether to build or buy a home.
The Costs of Building a House
If you’re looking to buy a house on the west coast or other high-cost areas, it may seem like building a house on your own might be a better fit. After all, you get to build the house of your dreams and customize every detail.
In every zip code, you can look up average construction costs based on the square footage. But be sure to consider the following:
- Construction (average price per square foot)
- Land – subject to the market rate for the area
- Clearing / leveling the land
- Foundation and framing
- Plumbing, electrical, HVAC
- Exterior – roofing, windows, driveway, landscaping
- Interior – flooring, bath/kitchen, cabinetry, appliances
- Design and architecture blueprints
- Building permits
As you can imagine, the costs will vary widely based on your preferences, style, the quality of materials, and who you hire to do the work.
Pros and Cons of Building a House
Pro: You get to build your dream house exactly as you want! Face the kitchen toward the morning sun, build out a custom office, design your home to meet the beauty and functionality of your lifestyle.
Pro: Avoid the hassle of bidding wars and competition. You decide the schedule, the timeline, the move-in date, and the building process. When it’s finished, you’ll be moving into a dream home that is ready to go and has everything you need for years to come.
Con: Building a house can take a lot of time and be subject to delays along the way. You might need to rent longer than anticipated or live somewhere that isn’t ideal. In addition, you may face challenges with contractors, builders, designers, and delayed materials.
Con: Costs can expand and run out of control if you’re not careful. Change orders, new materials, or changing the work crew can cause the costs to run up quickly. You’ll also have lots of decisions to make from start to finish. Make sure you’ve got a budget and a strong plan.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Home
Pro: Buying a house is a much more straightforward process. The costs will vary depending on the area and whether or not there’s competition. That said, the upfront costs for buying a house are fairly predictable:
- Down Payment
- Private Mortgage Insurance (if less than 20% down payment)
- Property Taxes
- Homeowners Insurance
- Mortgage Points (if applicable)
- One-time closing costs (origination fees, appraisal, mortgage points)
Pro: Move-in times are typically 30-45 days from the time an offer is accepted. Scheduling the move and planning toward your new home is easier. You’ll have a predictable timeline and no surprises.
Con: There might be move-in costs to consider such as needed repairs, upgrades, or maintenance that may be necessary right away. The home might have structural changes, design elements you don’t like, or other compromises.
Con: The home might have outdated electrical, plumbing, HVAC, or appliances. Insurance rates might be higher for an older home that needs work or isn’t energy efficient.
Deciding whether to build or buy a home is a big decision. Both options will require a large financial investment and carry difficult decisions. Weigh the pros and cons and think about what fits best with your current goals and your lifestyle. We can help you get funded for your dream home, whether your build it from the ground up or make an offer to buy a home.
Working with an experienced mortgage broker can help you close fast on your next mortgage, whether you decide to build or buy a house. We work with clients at every stage of homeownership, and we partner with mortgage lenders across California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Applying for a mortgage can be fast and easy, and we can help you navigate your best loan options. Our goal is to get you the best mortgage and save you money along the way. Give us a call to get started.