Building Vs. Buying Your First Home: Assessing The Pros And Cons


Home is where the heart is. Every individual has a dream of having a place to call home, where they can live peacefully knowing that it’s rightfully theirs. As you seek to find a place of your own, one of the common dilemmas is choosing whether to purchase an existing house from a real estate company or have your dream home built from the ground up.

Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. For that reason, you have to assess both alternatives and choose the one that suits you the most. Below is a detailed discussion on building versus buying your first home, particularly their pros and cons.

Building Your Own House

Doing this from scratch is a good choice if you already have a piece of land you can use. You get to purchase all the construction materials and hire the contractor you want for the job. If you go with this option, here are the pros and cons you can expect.

Pros Of Building

Here are just some of the benefits of going for home construction:

  • Customization: When building your house, contractors with vast professional experience, such as those from, can help you design and erect a home with all the features you’ve been dreaming of. You can decide on things like the house’s theme, color of the walls, fixtures, overall layout, lights, and landscaping. For example, you can construct a basement that doubles up as a wine cellar, or ensure that the living and dining rooms have south-facing windows so you’ll be able to make the most of the light and heat coming from the sun.
  • Latest Building Designs: Building your house from scratch gives you the liberty of making it as modern and energy-efficient as possible. You’re free to paint it in fabulous color combinations that boldly speak of modernity. You can also install the latest security devices to make your home safer and protect it from break-ins. Seldom will you find such features in old or ready-built houses. And if you do find them, they appear more of an afterthought rather than part and parcel of the original design.
  • Reduced Maintenance And Repair Cost: If the builders do an excellent job, it’ll take quite some years before you start worrying about repairs or renovations. You don’t have to worry about an aging hot water system, a blocked drainage system, or a leaking roof as long as the construction was done correctly.
  • You Can Choose The Best Builder: When constructing your house, it’s in your power to choose a company that you believe will do an excellent job. An ideal builder should frequently be available to discuss the progress of the project with you, listen to your concerns, accept corrections, advise you accordingly, and do quality work. Additionally, they should charge a reasonable amount of money and ensure that the construction is completed within the agreed time frame.
  • Uniqueness: Building your own house allows you to pull out a never-seen-before design. Standing out from the crowd this way brings an incredible feeling of satisfaction. People in the neighborhood get to admire your sense of style, and your property might even become a source of inspiration to others who are looking to take the same route you did.
  • Saves You Money: You can decide to use budget-friendly construction materials to save some cash. For example, instead of purchasing new timber for framing and cladding, you can go for reclaimed timber. In the same sense, you can subtly incorporate corrugated metal sheets in your home, a practice usually overlooked by many homeowners.

Cons Of Building

Despite the several advantages listed above, building a house comes with the following disadvantages:

  • Delayed Occupancy: Building a house to completion may take several months or even years, depending on factors such as its size and the complexity of its design. During this period, you and your family have to stay elsewhere. Paying monthly rental fees and building a house at the same time might be discouraging as juggling between looking after your temporary home and overseeing the construction of your new one can be challenging.
  • Higher Cost: Without a proper plan and good cash flow, the cost of building your home can skyrocket. That’s especially true if you purchase small quantities of materials throughout the course of the project because you’ll incur enormous transport costs. Also, if the workers unnecessarily spend a longer time than usual on site, you end up paying a lot of wages.
  • Disputes With The Builder: Sometimes, disagreements may arise between you and the contractor if there’s a breach of the terms in the building contract. The builder you’re working with might exploit you by setting unrealistic prices of some construction materials, and then you only find out the truth later on. You’re likely to get angry at their dishonesty and confront them about it. Also, the contractor may deliberately work at a slow pace and fail to meet the agreed deadlines.

If such disputes spiral out of control, you may have to hire lawyers to help solve the issues, and that’s both costly, time-consuming, and strenuous to deal with.

  • A Messy And Muddy Building Site: Suppose you move into your new home immediately after the major areas are completed but before the exteriors are taken care of. You’ll have to bear with the usual mess found on construction sites—mud, bare soil, construction debris, and the like. Without enough patience, that sort of scene might just get on your nerves until everything’s cleared away.
  • Differing Needs Between You And Your Partner: In the course of building your home, you’ll have to make practically endless decisions. Suppose you fail to amicably agree on some things with your partner because of different likes, tastes, and preferences. This can spoil the excitement and joy of constructing a new home.

Buying A Ready-Made House

Having covered the benefits and limitations of building a home, it’s now time to assess the upsides and downsides of buying a house.

Pros Of Buying

Looking at it superficially, buying a house is quite straightforward since you only have to pay cash and have the ownership of the ready-built home transferred to you. But as they say, the devil is in the details. Here’s the positive side of this option:

  • Effortless Process: Once you do a thorough house hunting and settle on the perfect home, all that remains on your side is to send the payment to the owner’s account and get the keys to your new home. You’ll find that most homes for sale have already undergone renovation to prep them for occupancy, so you can close the deal and start living there in a matter of hours.
  • Consumes Less Time: Whereas building involves countless hours of supervising the contractor, buying a house has none of that. It’s less exhaustive and time-consuming. Thus, it’s a better option if your work schedule doesn’t give you much time to spare for the purchases and supervision that come with building a house. Perhaps the only thing you’ll have to put a bit of effort into is going around and comparing different houses before settling on the best one for your circumstances.
  • Room For Negotiation: You can bargain with the real estate agent to bring down the suggested purchase price to an affordable amount. Or if you’re buying directly from a homeowner in urgent need of cash, you can strike a good deal since they can usually accept a smaller amount than the prevailing market prices.

However, it’d still be best to look for houses that are within your budget to avoid having unrealistic expectations. For instance, there’s no way you’ll negotiate the price of a USD$100,000 apartment down to USD$40,000.

  • Immediate Occupancy: If you want to settle immediately—maybe because you’ve been transferred to a new office or you want your kids to change schools—then purchasing a house allows you to do exactly that. Closing the deal usually depends on you, the buyer. As long as you have the money, you can have the keys to your new home within a few hours.

Cons Of Buying

Now, here’s a look at some of the drawbacks of buying a house:

  • Maintenance Issues: The chances of you having to face maintenance issues are rather high when you purchase a home. That’s especially true if the home you’re purchasing was built some years back. The dozens of years of occupancy might have led to the deterioration of some fixtures.

Should the seller succeed in hiding those defects from you, you’ll have to do the repairs using your money once you discover them. And that’s why you should always be accompanied by a reliable home inspector to help you identify any problems in a house for sale. Later on, you can either take the necessary action or avoid buying the property altogether.

  • Unchangeable Layout: While it’s possible to upgrade a purchased home, you can’t do a drastic makeover. Your renovation options are quite limited. For instance, if the living room windows are facing north and you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’ll have to do without the sun’s natural illumination for the better part of the year. Likewise, if the bedrooms are slightly smaller than you’d have wanted, you’ll have to bear with that for the rest of your ownership of that home.
  • Absence Of Modern Features: You may buy a house that lacks modern fixtures and fittings. Even though a lot of sellers attempt to upgrade their house before listing it for sale, some older homes may be structurally unable to accommodate modern technologies, such as energy-efficient heating and cooling systems or smart security systems. If you decide to tackle the upgrades yourself, the costs might be significant, and you may end up abandoning such projects because of their complexity.

Some Similarities

There are a few positive aspects of both buying and building a home. They’re as follows:

  • Appreciation: Whether you buy or build a home, its value is set to appreciate over time, especially if you maintain it properly. After several years of ownership, you can decide to sell it at a higher price than what you bought it for and thus make a handsome profit. 
  • Leasing / Renting: You really don’t have to stay in the home you build or purchase. You may find yourself landing a permanent job in a different city from where your house is. If and when this happens, you can rent or lease your home to interested individuals. This’ll give you rental income, which is an excellent return on investment.

The good thing about this is that you aren’t fully transferring the ownership of your house. Should you decide to return to your property, you can proceed with your plans without any hinderance.

  • Commercializing Your Compound: If your new home has a big compound and you want to make some extra money out of it, you’re free to do so as long as you abide by the local authority regulations. One good idea is to establish a mini resort. To do this, you can invest in quality landscaping, purchase small gazebos with seats, set up an inflatable castle, build extra washrooms, and employ a few chefs to do the cooking. This kind of backyard business can thrive if your neighborhood is highly populated. 

Alternatively, you can set up a beautiful garden and rent the premises for professional photoshoots and videography. You can be sure that you won’t run out of clients if the aesthetic appeal of the space is top-notch. From wedding convoys to country music bands to social clubs, you’re set to keep earning money from your investment once the right people get to know about your place.

Final Words

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to build or buy a home. These are all detailed above, though keep in mind that the points raised aren’t exhaustive. Use them to guide your decisions when it comes to home ownership. You don’t want to simply follow the crowd and do what everybody else is doing. Understand that people have different priorities, budgets, and timelines, so it’d be better for you to refrain from copying them blindly.

Whether you buy or build a home, there are several benefits you’ll be able to reap. The success of your venture depends on your knowledge of the housing market and the people you choose to work with. If you decide to build your home, ensure that you choose a reliable contractor with time-tested skills in constructing houses. For home buying, make it a point to seek professional guidance before making the final purchase decision. This way, you’ll avoid regretting your choices in the future.


Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024