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The home buyer’s dilemma: to buy or to build?

Calculator with wooden house and coins stack and pen on wood table. Property investment and house mortgage financial concept

Whether you plan to build a home or to buy one, both will incur a substantial amount of investment. Each also has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that will weigh heavily on your capacity to own one. That is why all factors should be considered before making that choice.  

Let’s put all these factors side by side to make a good comparison on what will work best for you, whether it’s buying or building your home.

Building your home


Customization is the biggest advantage of building a new home. Not only does it allow homeowners to choose the materials, colors, and appliances to use, it also enables them to decide the size and configurations of their rooms. 

Prospective homeowners also face little competition from the market as opposed to buying an existing home. A new house is also less likely to have toxic materials sometimes found in older homes such as lead paint, asbestos, and mold.


Building a new house from scratch usually comes at a hefty price, especially for first-time homeowners. A survey by the National Association of Home Builders revealed that the average cost to build a single-family home stands at approximately $233,760. This is the sum of all costs including the development of foundations and frames, as well as interior and exterior finishes and major system installations.

The said survey added that the average size of a single-family home is 2,776 square feet, indicating that the prospective homeowner must pay $86 per square foot. 

Related estimates also show that the average length of time to finish constructing a single-family home is 6.5 months. That is a much longer time than the entirety of a real estate transaction for a lived-in home.

Buying an existing home 


Buying a house that has been lived in already is relatively easier than building one from the ground up. This is primarily because homebuyers do not have to think of the home’s design or choose the materials to use. 

Purchasing an existing house also enables homebuyers to move in quickly since all of the construction and furnishing has been set. On top of that, it also allows them to make renovations without having to worry about where to stay. 


It is important to know that older homes tend to have more structural issues that may cost a lot to repair, as compared to a newly-built one. This is why a home inspection is not to be skipped as you undergo the home buying process. A professional home inspector will take a look at the home and evaluate it for both minor and major issues. Based on results of their assessment, this expert can give you advice on how to proceed.

Higher energy costs are also associated with older homes. This is because they tend to be made of outdated materials. Appliances provided are also most likely to be older models with no energy efficiency specs. 

Also, consider the possibility that modifying an existing property could lead to an entire home improvement project. This could increase pre-determined costs and lengthen the move-in time.

Knowing the amount of financial investment you have to make in buying a home, a wise move will be to seek sound advice from a reliable real estate expert. I am Realtor Connie Cabral, and my team of real estate professionals at the Connie Cabral Group can help you make the right choice between a newly-built home and an existing one. Get in touch with me today at 305.776.0899 or send me an email at Connie(at)ConnieCabral(dotted)com.