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The Pros and Cons of Buying vs. Building

The time has come and you are ready to invest in a new home. Whether this is your 1st or your 10th home purchase, the options can be overwhelming. Whatever your reasons for moving, one of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to purchase an existing home or visit one of the many builder models to select the floorplan you want to build. Both are perfectly good options, so here we breakdown some of the pros and cons of each to make your decision easier.

 

To Buy:

No doubt about it, purchasing an existing pre-owned home has some pretty big perks. You have the opportunity to really narrow down your home search to include only the neighborhoods you want. If a short commute to work is important to you, you have a higher chance of finding an existing home within your search radius. Another perk of an existing home? Upgrades like landscaping, window treatments, fences and ceiling fans have already been completed by previous owners. If you have a monthly payment in mind, buying pre-owned gives you more options to stay on budget and live in the area that best suits you.

On the flip side, buying a home comes with its own drawbacks. One of the biggest concerns for home buyers is the maintenance and repair costs associated with buying an older home. Unless the home has been recently updated, you may be looking at costly repairs. It is important you know the age of the home’s major features like roof, AC, water heater and exterior paint. Take into account what the average life expectancy of those items should be. It is always a good idea to hire a reputable home inspector to uncover any areas of concern. The other major downside of buying an existing home? It may not be exactly what you are looking for and you may have to make some compromises. You may have been hoping for a more open floorplan or an upstairs loft, but the homes available that meet your other criteria may not have these features. It is always a good idea to sit down with your agent at the start of your search and make a list of your must-haves, would like to haves, and don’t cares. This will help you when it comes time to compare homes.

 

To Build:

The ability to get a home that is shiny and new is important for a lot of people. When you build a home, you have input on every feature and decision and can customize the home as much or as little as you want to fit your lifestyle and tastes. Want to upgrade your flooring, screen in the porch or turn the den into another bedroom? These are all things you can usually do when building a new home. Because your systems, roof and fixtures are all new, your maintenance costs for the first few years stay low and most items will be covered under a warranty. If choosing to build a home in a planned community, you will have access to amenities the community may offer such as community pools, walking trails, fitness centers, playgrounds and dog parks.

Be careful. Building new sounds great but has its own hidden costs. Keep in mind, the builder models you will tour have all of the bells and whistles including lavish decor. The upgraded floors, tile backsplash and fancy moldings are designed to make you dream big but can have some steep price tags. It is important you know exactly what is included – and is not included -- in the base price of your home. You don’t want to be surprised at your final walkthrough that you now have to purchase window blinds and a refrigerator. And while those resort-style amenities might sound great, is the monthly HOA fee or the annual CDD costs going to put you over your monthly budget? Our biggest recommendation when choosing to build a home: Find a real estate agent BEFORE you visit the builder. An agent in your corner will fight for your best interests and will help you navigate the building process and to save you time and money.

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