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Your First Home: Should You Buy or Should You Build?

new vs existing home purchase

Now that you’ve saved enough money for your first home, the first order of business is to give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. Congratulations, you are about to achieve another major milestone in your adult life! However don’t get too carried away just yet there’s a lot to do to get your new home online. First off what type of new home do you want? There are many options from buying an existing home, to going for a custom new build, which is all constructed on site and then there’s also the pre-fab homes aka modular homes which are built off site. So many options and they all come with different challenges so take your time and weigh up your options carefully, by doing research online including property forums; where answers from people who have been where you are will help you and make the decision on what type of property to buy.

New vs Existing

Typically, if your buying a pre-fab home or planning to custom build beware that it may see attractive on cost but it will be hard to stick to a budget, whatever it is. New builds take time and usually cost more due to ‘scope creep’, a term for used a lot in the professional world of business for changing one’s mind. Designing a house is tough going and you will your mind on what you want.

New constructions also have so many variables that do easily bump up the costs unexpectedly and thus make it hard to keep within the initial budget. An obvious challenge with exposed constructions is the weather. When it rains little work can be done if the building is not sealed – i.e. windows in, roof on etc. Another common challenge is the cost of materials and if the products change and you’re in for paying for a more expensive option for one reason or another. Then there’s the compliance costs and other professional fees. Any delay in construction could easily exaggerate the costs of time taken and before you know it the budget is blown. There is potentially less opportunity for scope creep with modular homes so while they may be more expensive than a custom build generally the costs can be locked down.

However if you’re going to buy an existing property there’s the opportunity to negotiate on price. For a first home, this is favoured by most first homebuyers who are also attracted to the much quicker turnaround time.

Get a building inspection done before signing the contract an existing home to locate what needs work. Everything has an expiry date and there will be parts of the house that need replacement or maintenance. It could also be a good negotiating strategy too if there’s something that needs immediate replacement at a hefty cost.

Newly-built houses, on the other hand, are almost worry-free because everything is new and is expected to function properly and of course under warrantee.

So which is better? There is no one answer for all as it all depends on your situation. What hasn’t been covered is buying a new home that’s already been built but has not been lived in. There are lots of new homes for sale and also whole new communities like San Juan Capistrano homes in the cove community. This option gives you a new home without the hassle of having to wait until it’s built and fit for purpose. Good luck with your decision! Whatever you choose to do, there’s always your next home.

Did you know…most of us change homes up to 15 times in our lifetime and while moving house is a big decision so too it seems to unpack as most of us take 180 days to unpack all our stuff after we’ve moved house so it’s no wonder what to buy is a huge challenge and one not to be taken lightly.

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