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Should I Build a New Home or Buy Existing?

Maybe you’re one of the people considering moving to South Central Vermont and you’re asking yourself “should I build a new home or buy an existing house?” As a custom home building company, we obviously recognize a lot of the pros, but it’s not for everyone! To better help you decide if building or buying is your best next step, here’s a list of pros and cons for each:

Cons of Building a New Home

We’ll start with the bad news – as much as we love building new homes for our clients there are some downsides that you’ve got to consider before you get started. For most the good far outweighs the bad, but for some these will be deal-breakers and it’s best to find out now rather than after you’ve spent hours plotting your perfect kitchen!

The Price is Usually Higher

Many folks are surprised to find that building a custom home can cost more than buying an existing property, and often substantially so. We like to look at it like buying a car – a used car is always less than a brand new car, which is less than a custom built car!

There’s no magic formula to estimate exactly how much more you’re likely to spend. Since every project is different we prefer to talk through the details so we can set appropriate expectations, so feel free to give us a call!

It Takes Time

This one is less of a surprise for most folks – everyone knows Rome wasn’t built in a day! Building a new home is a process that can take months or even years. You’ll need to get permits, clear the site, isntall the septic, and dig the foundation all before really getting into what most would recognize as the building process!

You Have to Landscape It

Landscaping actually falls under both pros and cons. You have to do the landscaping when you build your new home which requires both time and money, but you also get exactly what you want.

Pros of Building a New Home

Time for the good news! If building a new home is more expensive and takes time, why do people do it? Here’s why:

You Design Your Home Exactly How You Want It

Getting exactly what they want is by and large one of the biggest reasons people choose to build a new home. Our clients are involved in the design process every step of the way to ensure that everything from room layout to countertops meets their specifications. Got a brilliant idea for making your kitchen more functional? Great, let’s do it!

New Homes are More Efficient

When you’re building your new home it’s much easier to integrate the latest technology. When your plan involves solar and battery backup from the start construction and landscaping can incorporate them into the plan.

Aside from “space-age” technology wall, ceiling, and foundation insulation have come a long way in the past 15-20 years alone! Modern best practices reflect the technology improvements from recent decades so that your newly constructed home is more efficient than a house built in the early 2000s!

Repairs are Minimal

Making repairs on a brand new home isn’t likely something you’ll need to do any time soon. You get the advantage of getting the full lifespan of everything from the roof to the appliances. Imagine not changing a light bulb for a decade!

Now consider the things you can’t see quite as easily, like your well and septic. A brand new water/wastewater system is far less likely to give you trouble!

You Design the Landscape

As mentioned before, when you’re building your home you get to choose the way the landscaping is done. Many of our clients love designing their backyards!

Pros of Buying an Existing House

The Price is Lower

When you purchase an existing house the price is usually cheaper than building a new home. For budget sensitive folks, this is usually the way to go. You can certainly get more square feet per dollar than when building a custom home.

It Takes Less Time

While some people might shop around for years before finding a house they love, once you’ve got an accepted offer the process is usually measured in weeks rather than months. Of course, those that are shopping around for years might consider building to meet their specifications!

No Need to Landscape

Your yard is laid out, no need for major excavation. Especially for those looking to get into a place quick, this is one more advantage to buying an existing house. Of course, for some people this is actually a downside.

Cons of Buying an Existing House

Hidden Repairs and Maintenance Nightmares

While a newly constructed home is unlikely to need repairs for a while, many existing homes come with their own repair needs. Back to the roof example – how much life is left on the 30 year roof that was installed decades ago? A good inspector will uncover a lot of potential issues for you, but they can only go so far. You’ll also need to consider the age and condition of the septic. Many older homes require a new septic system shortly after moving in, as modern water consumption has increased a great deal over the years.

Efficiency Upgrades Can be Costly

Existing homes, especially those built to older building codes, can be more difficult to make efficiency upgrades to. Imagine installing insulation in a house where all the walls are finished vs a house where the walls are framed up but open. Some changes require major renovation, which can begin to limit your overall savings in the long run.

What’s Right for You?

Ultimately you are the only one who can decide which is best for you. If you came here asking, “should I build a new home?” and after reading this have decided the answer is “no,” that’s great news! You’re one step closer to making the right decision for you and your family. If you’ve decided the answer is “yes” or even “maybe” then you’re probably ready to start digging into the details. Give us a call and we can help you find the next step on your journey!