The charm of an old house, or the just-right fit of new construction? It’s a tough call, even if this isn’t your first time buying a new home.
Here at Graber, we know that there isn’t any one-size-fits-all answer, and we’re ready to help you get the home you’re dreaming of, whether we build it from the foundation or just help you put on the right roof to complete your vision. We’ve been building and repairing homes for years, helping some of our clients even before they buy a home, so we know the pros and cons of home building and buying.
Strap in while we walk through the pros and cons of both choices, and help you decide what’s going to work best for you
Home Building Pros:
Exactly the house you’re looking for from the day you move in
When you build new with a good team, you know exactly what to expect from the day you see your first blueprint, and you can update your plans to reflect new developments, changes in your vision, or to fit market conditions. Even the best older home is going to have some quirks that don’t fit your situation or just don’t make sense in the modern world.
Up to the latest codes
Whether it’s newer electrical codes like neutral wires, the best modern insulation and ventilation for long winters and hot summer days, new construction guarantees that your home is up to par in every way. Older homes may suffer from out-of-date construction or materials that haven’t held up well over time, meaning even a well-maintained home might have more headaches than you’re ready for.
Put your money where it matters to you
When building a home, everyone has different priorities. Maybe you have a gaggle of children and want to build more, but smaller, rooms. If you’re running a business out of your garage, maybe a bigger garage matters more to you than a rec room downstairs. Or you just want a luxurious, eco-friendly bathroom that you can relax in after a long day. No matter what strikes your fancy, home building allows you to prioritize it throughout the design and construction process.
A couple of decades ago, it was common to build a house with cheap countertops, bland trim and that same light fixture everyone had in their bathroom during the 90’s. But today, we have a wide range of choices—concrete, granite, quartz, bamboo, reclaimed wood (and that’s just for countertops!).
This allows you to choose what matters most to you, whether that’s appearance, durability or environmental impact, you’re not stuck with whatever the previous owner liked.
Something people often forget is that home building can be much more flexible than buying. You can pick a new development, tear down an old house that’s been damaged or is in bad condition, or buy land and set up shop in a part of the country you love.
Home Building Cons:
Construction can be a slow process, no matter how quickly you make decisions and answer our questions. Pulling permits, buying materials and the building itself all take time, and it can be tough to wait.
Building a house takes long enough and requires enough material that the market can often impact the final design. If the price of a material increases enough, you may find that it’s no longer in your price range by the time you’re ready to build.
Budget vs. Reality
One of the hardest things about building your dream home is realizing you need to scale it back. We all have dreams that outstrip our paychecks, but it always hurts when you come to the conclusion that the thing you really wanted just won’t fit in the budget.
Home Buying Pros:
Ready to Go
The fact that most homes are ready to move into just can’t be beat by new construction. Even if you know right away that you want to make some updates and modifications, there’s no reason you can’t start packing your bags the day the papers are signed and make plans for the future.
There’s nothing quite like a home that’s been standing a few hundred years. It has its own stories, and the marks and dings can be charming (as long as the house is still in good condition otherwise!). Many materials, such as wide wood planks, stone, or plaster, are rarely used anymore, so if you love the look or feel of them, your best choice may be to buy a home that already has them just the way you like them.
You might say we’re cheating by putting this in both lists, but oftentimes old neighborhoods don’t have any new construction, so if you love a charming part of town with centuries-old buildings, your only choice is likely to buy your house and upgrade to suit your personal style.
If you care deeply about your ecological footprint, then there’s no better time to focus on it than when you’re making one of the biggest purchases of your life. A home that has multiple owners over its lifetime will almost always be more ecologically friendly than a new build, since remodeling uses a lot less material than building from scratch.
While not a guarantee, you can sometimes find a fantastic bargain when buying a house rather than building one. Sellers are often motivated to get out and may be willing to sell for less than their house is worth. This is a very strong point if you’re able to wait for that once-in-a-lifetime bargain to come along.
Home Buying Cons:
Out of Date
Time is rough on even the best homes. Old materials start to show their weaknesses and age as time goes on, and water, sun and wind all take a toll on the structure itself. If it’s bad enough, repairing might even be more expensive than building new.
And even in good repair, you might just want modern upgrades, like high-speed internet wiring or additional outlets to power your smart devices.
When you buy a home, you’ll pay for an inspection and know many of the possible problems to expect. But even the best inspectors are liable to miss things—such as a nearby beehive that will cause a major nuisance in the summer, but won’t be obvious during a wintertime inspection, or roots growing into pipes that will cause flooding if they aren’t properly maintained, but many home inspectors don’t check for. Homes are big, much of the structure is hidden (especially in older homes), and it really doesn’t take many oversights before the bills start to rack up.
Many homes aren’t just out of date, they’re also old fashioned, with rooms, features and layouts that no longer make sense. A hundred years ago, it was common to build small, easily heated rooms that run contrary to the natural, open floor plans preferred today. Homes just 50 years ago often had built-in phone nooks that are virtually useless today. These can be costly to renovate and annoying if left unchanged.
The Right Choice for You
There’s no right or wrong answer to whether you should build your own home or purchase an old one, but if you go in knowing what to expect, you’re definitely going to make a better choice for you and your family!
No matter what choice is right for you, Graber Inc is happy to help you build your home beautiful—and right for you.