To Buy or To Build
As what is likely to be the largest purchase of your lifetime, buying a new home is a very involved, and often intimidating, experience. One of the biggest decisions is deciding on new construction versus an existing home.
There is a lot of excitement and anticipation of what your new home may be like, and most people weigh the alternatives of buying an existing home or purchasing a homesite and contracting to build a brand-new residence.
There are pros and cons to both options, and carefully considering all the variables can lead to staying within your purchase budget while getting all of the amenities and features you want.
How Quickly do You Need to Move?
Many times, the circumstances surrounding your relocation dictate whether you buy an existing home on the market or build new.
If your career or family situation is why you’re moving, you may not have the time to find a homesite, contract with a builder and possibly an architect and construct the home of your dreams.
Even though the process of buying a resale property can be a lengthy one, by doing your research and enlisting the help of a qualified local REALTOR®, you should be in a good position to find the right home to suit your needs.
A skilled and diligent local real estate agent can guide you through the buying process, answer your questions about a specific neighborhood or gated community and make sure all the details are attended to.
In many of southwest Florida’s private gated developments, there are still vacant homesites available for sale, often marketed by the homebuilding firm or firms that are building within the community.
Most builders will present prospective buyers with different floor plan designs based on their needs and will build a new home to those specifications.
In other cases, lot purchasers are allowed to hire a homebuilder who is not affiliated with the community’s developer, opening the options to contract and build with some of the area’s leading residential design and construction firms.
But if you decide that building a new home is the way to go, you’ll need to make sure you are not risking moving in by your target date, as there are sometimes delays in the construction schedule – flexibility is a key element here.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, the cost of building a new home is just slightly higher than that of purchasing an existing resale home. There are many variables that effect buying versus building, one of which being the recent surge in residential home prices in southwest Florida.
Another factor is the increase in building material costs resulting from supply chain and logistics problems, making the price for building a new home higher than previously.
Add to that the current issues involving builders being able to find and hire qualified workers and tradesmen and the length of time it takes and costs to build may not fit your needs.
Your New Home Wish List
Anyone buying a new home usually has a list in their minds of things they would like to have as features and benefits and use it as a guideline while looking at existing homes and new construction.
Things like kitchen finishes and cabinetry, appliances, a swimming pool and more can be key examples of what you’re looking for in your next home. The most obvious factor is the floor plan itself, and whether it will fit the lifestyle you envision.
If you are expecting many overnight guests, a layout with all the bedrooms on one side of the house may not make sense for you.
Another factor to consider is the need for updating or refurbishing an existing home. A savvy home shopper knows that in some cases, all it may take is a room re-paint or other minor repairs to make the home more suitable.
But you should also check for more serious issues like foundation, lanai or driveway cracks or sinkage, roof damage, plumbing and electrical issues and the age of vital items like the air conditioning system.
You may think you’re getting a good deal at first glance, but a professional and complete home inspection will be your best way to properly calculate your real purchase costs.
When building a brand-new home, a big part of the process is selecting the exact finishes, colors and other construction and design details that you want.
You won’t have to worry about outdated colors, flooring, countertops, or moldings – you have the luxury of hand-picking those items to create the home you’ve always dreamt about.
Another advantage of building new is your potential resale value down the road, should you ever need to sell. A newer home will be more valuable than an older home in most cases, allowing you to recoup some of your initial building costs.
New homes also come with a warranty, reducing your financial risk in the event of any needed repairs. If you’re buying a resale home, you may want to check out companies that offer home warranties that cover appliances, pool equipment, air conditioning systems and other potential mechanical failures.
To Buy or to Build – Doing Your Homework
If you’re considering retiring to southwest Florida from up north or looking to relocate from one part of our area to another, research and asking the right questions are key to finding the most suitable property.
If time is on your side and you’ve always dreamt of building the home of your dreams, finding the right homesite and builder can result in the most rewarding experience.
But if your personal circumstances dictate that you need to move within six months, you’ll need to keep an open mind when looking at available resale properties on the market.
To buy or to build is something that you ultimately will need to decide. Using your imagination and keeping your budgeting in check, you may be able to create your own paradise with a little work updating an existing home.