Build or Buy a House?

Building a House vs. Buying a Home: What is the Best Value For You?

April 25, 2019
Darren MelstadBy Darren Melstad
Mortgage Loan Originator

To buy or to build? It’s a question that faces many who enter the housing market. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’re looking for something that better fits your family’s needs, making a decision to buy or build your house is worth a fair amount of consideration. 

Whatever  direction you decide to go, it’s important to compare the positive and negative aspects of each option. That way, you can make the decision that best fits your needs. 

In this article, we’ll help you weigh the pros and cons of building a house vs. buying a home:

Build or Buy a House: Weighing the Factors

  Buying a Home

Building a House

Cost

$225,000*
(national median home value)

$293,000**
(average national cost)

More Room for Negotiation?

Yes  No
Energy Efficiency Lower Higher

Time

Move in as soon as you close. Can take months to complete.  
 Customization Minimal

You have complete control.

Immediate Repairs Needed?

Possibly No (or covered by warranty)
Competition  You'll likely face competing bids. No competition.

*Source: Zillow.com
**Source: HomeAdvisor

Good Reasons to Build a Home:

1. Customization

When you build a home, it's yours! That means you get final say over the design and construction, including all the features you've always wanted in a new home. Do you want an open floor plan? Two sinks in the bathroom? Extra space in the garage? Have it your way.

2. Energy efficiency

A new home means new appliances, better insulation and other energy-efficient benefits that could lower your monthly utility bills. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average annual energy use per home has declined despite the fact that we use more air conditioning, appliances and consumer electronics than ever before.

3. No competition

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the average home is on the market for just  a little more than one month before being sold. That shorter time frame means you're more likely to face competing bids. But when you build your own home, you don't have to worry about that competition.

4. Less maintenance

With a new home you'll avoid the usual wear and tear that comes an existing house. You won’t have to worry about scheduling repairs to fix issues found during a home inspection, and you likely won't need to budget for renovations (for a few years at least). 

5. Warranties

If any repairs do pop up, your new home should come with a builder's warranty that should cover any repairs during the first year (and sometimes up to 10 years, depending on the plan you purchase). That will give you some peace of mind when you buy an existing home.

Advantages to Buying a Home:

1. Typically lower cost

According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost of building a home is just under $293,000. Meanwhile, real estate website Zillow.com shows the median home value of a single-family house is a little more than $225,000. 

2. Takes less time

Building from scratch can take months to complete. Buying and closing on an existing home can take far less time and you’re able to move in as soon as you’ve closed on the house.

3. Convenience

When building a new home, you have to consider every detail, including where to purchase land, the design of the home, and all of the fixtures and trims you want included. These decisions are already made when buying an existing home, which can make it a less stressful process.

4. More room for negotiation

A real estate agent can help negotiate the price of an existing home so you get the best deal possible. There is less room for negotiation when dealing with contractors on the build of a new home.

5. Make upgrades over time

While an existing home may not have every feature you want, you can take time to make upgrades as they become necessary and as you are able to save for them. 

Thinking About Buying or Building?

Whether you choose to buy or build, Security National Bank can help you with financing along the way. With our new Mortgage Hub, you get the convenience of applying online, without losing the human touch of a trusted hometown lender.

Reach out to us today to learn more about your home financing options!

About the Author

Darren Melstad

Darren Melstad is a Mortgage Loan Originator with Security National Bank of South Dakota. A lifelong South Dakota native (he grew up just down the road in Vermillion), Darren helps customers with residential home loans and business development in the Sioux Falls area.