Is it Better to Build or Buy a House?

To build or to buy — that is the question. Both options have their draws and flaws, and figuring out the right option for you is crucial in the homebuying process. Our real estate blog is here to help you make this tough decision a little easier.

If you want to customize everything…

Building is a better option for you. It’s not impossible to renovate a house into your dream home, but it could be more expensive than just starting from scratch. The median home in the US costs $229,000 and adding on renovations only increases that price. An important rule of thumb: The more you want to change about an existing home, the more you’re going to pay.

If you want to save money upfront…

This is a bit of a toss-up, but the short answer is that buying will likely be cheaper.

As mentioned, the median home price is $229k. The average cost to build a house is $290,000. The variances from region to region are massive, but on the whole, building is known to cost more.

When new build homes are cheaper

In rural areas, it’s usually cheaper to buy a plot of land and build on it — as long as the house you’re building is on the modest side. If you build a 1- to 2-bedroom house on a plot of rural land, there’s a good chance you’ll save money compared to buying a house in the nearest city.

If you want to move in faster…

Buying will almost certainly be quicker. The closing process on buying a home can take around 35 to 45 days. While that feels like a long time (especially to the homebuyers ready to move in!), a 2014 survey showed that building a house took an average of 7 months. If you’re itching to get into your new home, building is not the way to go.

If you want to flip or rent out a property…

You’ll want to buy. In the time it takes to build a house, you could already have closed on an existing home, made the necessary renovations, and have tenants paying you rent. Time is money, and the time it takes to build will cost you way too much. 

As a property flipper or rental property owner, you obviously want to make money. Nine times out of 10, buying will be a better investment with more immediate and visible ROI.

If you want an eco-friendly house…

This one is also a toss-up, but either way, good for you for thinking about your environmental impact!

If you build a house, you can make it eco-friendly from the start, installing things like solar panels and geothermal heating. Everything from the building material to the types of windows you install can make a difference for your home. Depending on how eco-friendly you want to go, there’s a chance you could save money by building in these measures instead of replacing things in an existing home.

Buying a house and trying to make it eco-friendly can have its limits. However, buying a home means you’re not disrupting the land, nor using new materials. Creating those new materials and transporting them uses energy, and also leads to more things in landfills. 

Ultimately, there’s much less of an environmental impact to buy a home and outfit it with some green renovations. But since building homes is still necessary, you could take the opportunity to create a house that’s highly sustainable. In some instances, these homes practically pay for themselves. 

No matter the route you go, you’re bound to help the environment and add immense value to your home.

If you’re looking for a solid home that’s built to last…

You’ll probably want to buy. Home inspections tell a lot about how well a house functions. If you put in an offer on a home (including a contingency about the results of an inspection) and find out it’s got issues, you can turn it down. If something goes wrong while building, you’re stuck with it.

That’s not to say building issues can’t be resolved, but it’s really stressful to find the right contractors for the job. Not wanting to deal with the stress of creating a home? Look for a solid, sturdy, existing home that people have already lived in and loved.

No matter whether you build or buy, with RealtyHive, you’ve got options. We’ve got plenty of beautiful and reliable existing homes to choose from! What’s more, we sell land so you can build your dream house — and we have an in-house building company that you can trust. You can find a home or plot that’s in development and add on customizations as you like. Start buying or building your beautiful new home with RealtyHive today!

  • RealtyHive uses an in-house builder to customize homes as you like.
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