Pros and Cons of Buying vs. Building a Home

Having a place that you can call your own—that’s living the dream. If you’ve been in the rental market for more time than you’d like, you’ve probably spent some time imagining what it would be like to own a place of your own. Maybe you’ve imagined what the master bedroom would be like, or fantasized about having a soundproof home studio in a finished basement. Either way, when it comes time to become a homeowner, you have two choices: buying and building.

There are pros and cons to both, and you should consider your options carefully before you contact a builder or a real estate agent. If you’re taking this step with a partner, sit down with them for a series of conversations to tease out all the details. Here are a few questions you should ask that will help you better understand the pros and cons of each option.

How much time are you willing to wait before you move in?


Working with a builder to create a customized house will take longer than finding an existing house. This will always be true unless the house you’re buying needs so many renovations that it’s akin to building from scratch. As a result, the first thing to consider is how much time you have on your hands as you search for your own home. If you have a lot of time at your disposal and want a specific setup for your home, it might make sense to contact a builder. If you need a home, but your work scenario dictates that you need to move within a few months, it might make more sense to buy an existing space.

How customized do you need your home to be?


Different people have different needs. Maybe you’re in the fashion industry, and you need a ton of closet space. Or, maybe you’re a writer, in which case it’s a good idea to make sure your own home has space for a home office. Perhaps you’re planning on adding kids to your household, which means that you need to ensure the nursery windows have no cracks that will let in the chilly air.

Professional musicians probably shouldn’t buy since they’ll need a highly customized space for a home studio. They will also need to make sure they’re working with a builder who knows how to build a recording studio, even if they’re not planning on doing any guitar or vocal recording in a live room at home. Anyone who knows about home studios will understand about acoustic treatment and how to soundproof a space so that you can hold full band rehearsals with acoustic guitars, drums, vocals on a mic, and even plug guitars into an amp without getting complaints from the neighbors. Soundproofing is an art, and beginners shouldn’t build their own studio.

Have you gotten inputs and opinions from everyone involved?


Don’t minimize the importance of discussing the decision with your family. There may be important factors you haven’t thought of, like proximity to your spouse’s place of work or the school district. If your kids have their hearts set on a high-quality high school that’s in a district not zoned for any more buildings, it makes sense to buy rather than build. Make sure everyone is vocal about their needs. The last thing you want is for your builder to be doing their best work, only to discover that your family members are disgruntled at the outcome of the decision.

There are pros and cons to building or buying your own home, which is ultimately personal. Ask yourself how much time you have, how customized you’ll want your home, and allow your family members an outlet for discussing their needs as well. By considering all of this, you’ll find the best option for everyone involved.

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