When you’re looking for a new home, there are all kinds of considerations to make. How much square footage do you want? How many bedrooms? Open floor plan or something more traditional? But the biggest choice you have to make before beginning your search for a new place in Asheville, NC is whether you’d rather build or buy.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each, and ultimately it comes down to how much you’re willing to spend, and how much you’re willing to compromise on your final floorplan. Here’s a few things to think about when you’re trying to get your next dream home.
Buying is probably the more convenient option, as you’re able to move in quickly, and with considerably less hassle than if you build. Depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll also spend less money, square foot to square foot. But just like every choice, buying has its downsides as well. Check out the pros and cons:
- Upfront Pricing – When you buy a home, you know exactly what you’re paying for it. There won’t be any variations once you put in your bid, and you won’t have to worry about any hidden fees or extra costs for the house itself. You pay, and you get your home as is.
- Immediate Move-In – One of the benefits of buying a home is that you can usually move in 30-45 days after you close. That means you don’t have to worry about finding temporary housing, or where you’ll move your belongings. They go right to your new home, immediately. That’s a type of convenience that’s hard to beat.
- Location – If you’re looking for a home in a certain location, it’s easier to buy an existing home. Whether you’re looking to be in a certain school district, or you’d like to be closer to the downtown area, there’s not usually a lot of open land ready to be built on in already-developed areas. You’re better off finding an existing home that you like.
- Mature Landscape – One of the benefits that a lot of people don’t consider when purchasing an existing home is the benefit of mature landscaping. Trees are already planted in your yard, so you don’t have to wait for saplings to grow, and you won’t have to do a lot of initial gardening. Chances are that most of that is already taken care of.
- Gradual Upgrade Costs – When you build a home, you have to buy all of your appliances immediately. That can add up to a pretty large upfront cost. When you buy a home, it already comes with appliances, even if they’re not ones you want to keep for the rest of your lifetime in the house. You have more time to consider which appliances you want, and you can spread out the costs over the years. You could start with a new refrigerator when you move in, and then get a new dishwasher a few years down the road, instead of having to buy everything all at once.
- Know the Neighborhood – Another great advantage of buying a house is that you know exactly what the neighborhood will look like, before you even move in. You’ll know who your neighbors are, how many houses are around you, and you’ll have a general layout of the land before you even move in.
- Know What You’re Getting – While any house you buy might have some quirks once you move in, you’ll pretty much know what you’re getting before you move in. You’ll be able to visualize exactly what your floor plan looks like, and you’ll have a better idea of how much space you have to work with. This gives you a better idea on how you can decorate and remodel, even before you move in.
- Not Exactly What You Want – One of the most obvious cons when you buy a home is the fact that you won’t be getting exactly what you want. You might end up with the four bedroom home you wanted, but with only one bathroom. Or maybe the bedrooms aren’t on the main floor, or maybe there’s only a half-bath downstairs, where you wanted a full bath. While you can design your house to your exact specs when you’re building, you don’t have that much freedom when buying an existing house.
- Renovation Costs – Along with the previous point, since the home you’re buying may not be exactly what you want, it’s important to factor in renovation costs. If you’re planning on adding a master bedroom, expanding a bathroom, or knocking down walls on the main level for an open floor plan, it’s going to cost money, on top of what you already paid for the home as-is. This means extra work, extra money, and depending on the renovation, it could delay your move-in date significantly.
- Home Quirks – Most existing homes have quirks that you probably won’t know about until you move in. Whether it’s a door that sticks, a broken floorboard in the deck, or a faulty appliance, you probably won’t find out about it until after you’ve moved in. It’s important to take those possibilities into account when you’re budgeting as well.
- Stuck With the Layout – When you buy a home, you’re buying it the way it is. Unfortunately, that means that you’re stuck with the layout, whatever it is. Maybe you found your ideal four bedroom, three bathroom home, but the kitchen is tiny, or you don’t like the way the floor plan works. Since you’re buying, and not building, there’s not a lot you can do about it outside of a renovation or remodel.
- Decorating Costs – Another cost that people don’t think about when buying a home is the cost it takes to redecorate your new home. Maybe you loved the floorplan of the house you bought, but you’re not crazy about the shag carpeting. Or maybe you plan to repaint the entire house. These are necessary changes, but they’re also very costly. Redecorating and remodeling costs can really add up, so they need to be factored into your budget when you’re buying a home.
- Home Insurance – The other downside to buying an older home is the cost of home insurance. New homes are easier, and less expensive to insure, so plan on having to pay a little bit more to ensure a house you buy, over a house you build.
If you’re looking for your ultimate dream home, one of the best ways to make sure you achieve that is to design it yourself. Creating, and then moving into a home that you designed and had built yourself, is a rewarding experience unlike any other. While there are a ton of positives to designing your own custom home, there also comes a few downsides. Here’s a few pros and cons:
- Get Exactly What You Want – When you build a home, it’s built exactly the way you want it. You don’t have to compromise your design for anything but what you can afford. If you want all the bedrooms on the second floor, you can make that happen. If you want an open space floor plan, you’re free to design that however you’d like.
- No Renovations – Another great thing about building your own home is that once it’s built, you’re done. You don’t have to worry about renovating or changing anything, because it’s been built to your exact specifications. Your dream home is ready for you to move in the day it’s finished.
- Better For You – A new home can actually be a lot better for your health than an existing home. Since you just built it, you don’t have any of the concerns that come with purchasing an older home, like asbestos, lead paint, or mold. You’re sure to be breathing in clean, safe air.
- Annual Savings – Since you’re building, you’ll need to buy all new appliances. While this might seem like a big cost, new energy-saving appliances are good for the environment, and believe it or not, they’re also good for your wallet. You get to pick exactly which appliances you want, which means you can have Energy Star rated appliances, as well as an efficient HVAC system, plumbing, and electrical fixtures. Not only does that help the environment out, but it can save you a bundle on your energy and water bills, making the long-term costs of a new home considerably lower than an older home.
- Better Resale Value – A newer home is likely to sell for more than an older home. If you plan on selling at any point, building a home might be a better option for you, as you’re more likely to recoup your costs on a new home with updated, energy-efficient appliances, HVAC system, and plumbing. Additionally, newer homes need considerably less maintenance, an attractive feature that buyers like to see.
- Material Discounts – When you’re building a home, it can be fairly easy to get material discounts if you’re purchasing a lot of your materials from one supplier. In most situations, the more you buy, the better your discount will be. This includes anything from lumber costs to lighting fixtures. Make sure to talk to both your builder and the supplier you plan on working with to get a better idea of what your material savings will be.
- Easier to Entertain – If you’re deciding whether to build or buy your next home, and entertaining is something you plan on doing a lot of, you may consider building instead of buying. Open floor plans are extremely convenient, especially if you plan to entertain often, but they aren’t as common in older homes. Older homes are generally built smaller, and may have some odd design quirks, like having to walk through a bedroom to get to the bathroom. When you design your own home, you can make sure the floorplan corresponds with your entertaining goals.
- Warranty – Another bonus of having a new home is that everything is under warranty. And that really does mean everything: your roof, that new front door you just put in, and of course, all of your appliances. So, if anything does go wrong, you know you can get it fixed, and at a very low cost.
- Buy Land – One of the biggest downsides to building your own home is having to buy the land as well as build the house. This means you have to find land that’s in a location you like, and in many cases, develop it so that you can actually build on it. This adds both cost and time to your home-building project.
- Hookups – Another logistical aspect to consider when you’re thinking about building a home is how you’ll get water, gas, and electricity. In some situations, you may actually have to pay the company to build a line out to your home, and you may have to dig your own well. It’s good to understand the costs associated with these necessary hookups before you even purchase the land, as they can add up pretty quickly.
- Builder – When building your own home, you’ll have to find someone to carry out your custom design. It can be difficult and time consuming to go through the process of interviewing a builder, and it’s also important to note that some builders will only build homes from a set book of floorplans. If you’re really looking at designing your own custom home, you’ll have to find a builder, and perhaps even an architect willing to work with you, which can cost a bit extra.
- Temporary Housing – An additional cost that comes with building a home is the money you have to pay to live somewhere temporarily until your home is finished. Since it will take considerably longer to build a home than it would to buy one, you have to have somewhere to stay for the duration of the building period. This is another cost that can really add up, especially if construction isn’t going to plan.
- Legal Considerations – There’s a whole bundle of legal considerations that come with building a home. You have to make sure you, or your builder, obtains the proper permits for construction, and you’ll want to have an inspector handy, so you know your home is up to code. These legal considerations are something you’ll want to take into account before you decide to build or buy.
- Only Build What You Can Afford – When you’re building, you are limited by what you can afford in a different way than when you’re buying. Square foot by square foot, it’s likely going to cost you more to build a home than to just buy a home. The upside is that when you build, you get exactly what you want. It’s just important to keep in mind that you can only build what you can afford, rather than being able to add onto an existing home.
- Farther from Downtown – Another potential issue that arises when building a home is location. Since you need land to build, your location is fairly limited to where you can find land. In many cases, this means you won’t be able to build too close to a downtown area. Additionally, if you’re one of the first to build in a development or developing area, you don’t know what’s going to be built around you. It’s possible that 10 years down the road, you could have neighbors practically on top of you, with little to no space. When you build, you trade a known neighborhood for an unknown area that’s farther removed from school districts, your work, and a general downtown area.
We hope this helped you weigh your options between building or buying your home. If you’re interested in building in Asheville, NC, the sustainable mountain community at Couch Mountain has property just for you! Located just minutes from downtown Asheville, the large, beautiful lots at Couch Mountain feature level building sites beautifully shaded with a mixture of old-growth hardwoods and towering pines. Give us a call at (866) 936-5263 or request more information online today!