If you are looking at buying a house, whether it is your first home or your fourth, you may be wondering whether you should buy an existing house or build a brand new one. In this article, we look at the pros and cons of buying vs building.
For many people their choice of home is dictated by where they want to live. For example, if you want to get your kids into a certain school zone but there are no sections available for sale in the area, buying an existing home may be the only realistic option.
Should I buy an old home?
One advantage of buying vs building is that you can walk through the house and see at a glance how much space there is and how the layout works rather than having to visualise this off a set of plans. Other potential benefits of buying an older home are that it may have an established garden and you may be able to move in sooner.
Some people choose to buy an older home with the intention of renovating it to suit their tastes and to add value. This can be a good option if you have a clear understanding of the scope of the work and the costs involved. However, one of the downsides of buying an older home is that ongoing maintenance costs can be high and you may be in for some unpleasant surprises once you start poking around inside the ceiling or under the floor! As a result, you may find yourself needing to replace old wiring or dodgy plumbing, leading to significant expenditure that you hadn’t budgeted for.
Other disadvantages of older homes are that they are often poorly insulated and not oriented well for the sun which can make them dark and cold to live in. They may also lack indoor-outdoor flow and other features that suit our modern lifestyles such as sufficient power points.
Why buy a new home?
The great thing about building a new home is that you have the option of designing your home from scratch. This means that you can make your home fit your lifestyle. For example, if you love entertaining, this is your chance to get a kitchen lay-out that really works for you.
As well as having input into the size and shape of your new home, you will also have the opportunity to choose paint colours, flooring materials and all of the fixtures and fittings that appeal to you so that your home can truly reflect your individual taste.
Other advantages of new homes are that they are sited to maximise sun and are built to modern seismic requirements and building standards, which includes double-glazing and superior insulation. This makes them warmer, lighter and more efficient to heat.
You also get the advantages of new technologies included in your build, with the option of extending these to include features such as energy management or even generation and storage of electricity via solar panels. Many of these features can contribute to lower running costs and a generally ‘smarter’ home.
Can I afford to build?
Many people are put off building a new home because they think they can’t afford it. The good thing about choosing a fixed price contract is that you will know exactly how much it is going to cost so you don’t need to worry about blowing your budget.
If you are a first home buyer you may also be eligible for a larger Kiwisaver Homestart grant of up to $20,000, whereas the maximum grant is $10,000 for an older, existing home.
It is also important to consider the ongoing costs of running and maintaining your home when making your decision, not just the initial purchase price. By the time you add in costly renovations and necessary maintenance, that older DIY project may work out more expensive in the long run than a brand new home designed to your specifications.
So while many people consider building a new home is not possible for them, we’d encourage you to come talk to one of our sales consultants about building in your area, especially if you have or are looking at a particular piece of land, or just want some guidance on the building process.