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For most people, getting their own house can be the largest single investment of their lives. With the decision to invest in a new house comes the choice of whether to buy a house from an existing array of designs or to build a house suited specifically to a family’s needs. Various factors come into play when making such a decision – including variables such as location, budget, mortgage rates, market trends, condition of the property, suitability for the potential homeowners and more. Ultimately, the decision comes down to whether homeowners feel like “I could live here” or “This is the perfect home for me”. This article discusses some advantages and disadvantages of buying a home versus building a home.

The obvious advantages of buying a pre-existing house is that of convenience, time efficiency and cost. Usually, the process involves getting in touch with a real estate agent who will help streamline the process of going to house viewings, making offers, engaging in negotiations, helping with financing and other paperwork. Although buying a house involves a number of steps, the convenience of being able to move in right away is what attracts most people. This is especially important for potential homeowners who are on a tight schedule, such as when starting a new job or moving to a new city. Further advantages of buying a pre-existing home are the choice of neighbourhood and accessibility. Getting a house that is close to a particular part of town such as near one’s children’s school or workplace is usually easier to do when buying a house, as the majority of land at the heart of the city is usually built upon already.

However, a major disadvantage of buying a pre-designed home is that it may not always be perfectly suited to the needs of the homeowners. Since most production houses in a neighbourhood are built in a similar “cookie cutter” blueprint, they are generic and often variations of the same design. Older, historic houses especially may have features that are no longer useful for new homeowners, such as having multiple bedrooms with only a single bathroom, outdated heating and wiring systems, large chimneys, and can require more expenses for maintenance and upkeep. Although buying an existing house can be relatively cost-effective, unless potential homeowners find a house with the perfect features in pristine condition, the additional costs of renovation, remodelling, landscaping and upkeep can add up over the years.

When compared to buying a readymade house, building a new home can be both rewarding and taxing simultaneously. Building a custom home offers flexibility and customisation possibilities that buying a house cannot offer. Working with the right custom home builders can allow new homeowners to build a house that is perfect for them, customised fully to their needs and tastes. Although the primary concern with building a custom home is with costs, it is a myth that building a house is extremely expensive. The advantage of working with custom house builders is that the client is in control of the budget – custom doesn’t always have to mean luxury. Defining a budget and setting realistic goals is a key step in building a house – working with an architect and builder makes sure that a client knows exactly what can be done in a certain budget while also making sure that everything that is essential to the client is also met.

The client also has a lot more creative control when it comes to designing their home, such that everything from floor plans to décor styles can be to the client’s taste. Custom houses also mean it is easier to build in modern, energy efficient amenities as well as updated safety and security features. The home is already what the client wants it to be so that there are no costs related to renovation or any other hidden costs. Custom houses are more likely to be personal and reflect the unique personalities of each custom homeowner.

With all the advantages of custom houses come a few disadvantages. First, the time factor – building a custom home can be time exhaustive and typically involves multiple visits to the building site and dealing with multiple choices, leaving room for more errors than the average pre-built house. Further, building a house requires one to find and acquire land or a lot on which to construct the home, which can be a long process in itself. However, building a custom house is an investment that will pay off in the long run in terms of ease of living, maintenance, and comfort.

Ultimately, the decision to whether to buy or build one’s home depends on the individual client and their preferences. It is a dynamic process that may involve seeing multiple pre-existing houses to decide on what a client likes the most and then building one’s dream house based on that knowledge. Thus working with an experienced professional can help streamline the process, uncovering any hidden costs, hurdles or challenges that one may face along the way.

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