Should You Buy a Home or Build One?

by Dan Lesniak

So you’re in the market for a new home, but you’re unsure of whether to buy or build. We’ve been there before! Deciding whether to buy or build your new home is a major decision that will impact your life and your financial situation for years to come. Lucky for you, The Keri Shull Team has helped hundreds of clients make the right decision for their families.

Today’s Buyer Education piece is brought to you from the advice of Lauren Longshore, one of our top-performing Buyer Success Agents who has helped over 50 families find the perfect home. Lauren is an experienced buyer advocate and an expert on new construction, and she shared the following insight into how buyers can best decide whether to build or buy.

To Build?

There are a number of benefits that come with selecting a lot, tearing down any existing construction, and building your new home from the ground up. The most obvious benefit is that your new home can be almost 100% customized to your tastes, budget, and lifestyle! Need a bedroom close to your young children? Wide open spaces for your beloved Black Lab? A spacious kitchen for your husband to realize his dream of becoming the next Gordon Ramsay? This will be as easy as having a meeting with your contractor before they draw up the floor plan.

In addition, your new home can be outfitted with modern, energy-saving appliances and A/C systems, saving you money on repairs and maintenance and reducing your carbon footprint!

Some of the benefits of new construction homes are not so obvious, however. Most people aren’t aware that new construction homes are taxed substantially less. You’ll pay the least amount of property tax among most home owners because home taxes are based on the value of your home the year before it was purchased. Since your new construction home didn’t exist before you bought it, you will likely enjoy a  tax break anywhere from a few months up to a few years.

Finally, your home can be brand new and built to the strictest safety requirements during construction. There are state-of-the art circuit breakers, electric garage door openers that can detect when a child or object is too close to the door, as well as carpet and paint that blocks out volatile organic compounds. Buy a new construction home and get the benefit of knowing your house is protected for years to come.

Or Not To Build?

Of course, building a home is not without its drawbacks. For starters, you can be sure it won’t be ready as soon as you want it! New construction is an extensive and complicated process that could take a year or more before you’re ready to turn the key into your new home.  According to Lauren, it can sometimes take years just to find the perfect lot on which to construct your new home! Add to that the need for different kinds of licensing and zoning permissions, and your timeline only increases.
In addition, you need to have patience and thick skin if you’re thinking of building your new home. The construction process can involve unavoidable setbacks and delays which can be stressful for some personalities.
Moreover, there will be much less flexibility in terms of pricing when building compared to buying. Since your new home will be built from scratch, contractors will not typically be willing to negotiate too far on pricing, especially since there is no home value as a starting point for negotiations.

What About Buying?

By now, as we’re discussing the pros and cons of building, we can easily understand some of the pros and cons of buying. Most important, buying a property means that your new home will be available as soon as the sale closes. This is very important to buyers who need a quicker turnover and don’t want to worry about undergoing extensive renovations.
Naturally, there will be much more room to negotiate on price when buying a house versus building one. Hiring an excellent real estate agent will allow you to craft competitive offers on properties using contingencies, buyer’s letters, and many other strategies to get your chosen home for the right price. Plus, you can take all the time you require to find the perfect neighborhood and home for your particular needs, rather than being locked into a contract once you decide to build.
Saving money off the list price on an existing house will also give you room in your budget to undertake any repairs or renovations you envision to make your home unique to you. Your agent will also arrange a thorough, independent inspection of the property to ensure that you’re aware of any concerns well in advance.

Get the Keri Shull Move-Up Buyer Guarantee

While searching for a real estate team to help you sell your home, ask any agent you meet whether they have guarantee programs that can give you some peace of mind on selling your home within the timeframe you need.

If you — or anyone you know — is looking to buy or sell a property anywhere in the DMV, call us! We offer a unique Move Up Buyer Guarantee. Move up to any of our listings and we’ll sell your home for FREE!

Visit our Move-Up Buyer Guarantee page for more details.

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