I’m one of those people at a BBQ that gets cornered by lots of questions. In my experience, everyone has questions for builders. Fortunately for me, I’m not shy of a good natter and don’t mind sharing what I have learned. There are some reoccurring questions, most of which I have answered here at one point or another. Recently though I have been asked to weigh in on the new build or buy debate as a few friends are considering both. Here’s my two cents.
New Build or Buy – The Question Many Of Us Ask
First of all, let me start by saying that each of you will read this post differently as you search for the right decision for you and your family. I have been fortunate enough to build, buy and renovate several homes, all of which were the right decisions for us at the time.
I’m not sure that houses are forever like they used to be in my Dad’s generation. He still lives in my childhood home. I thought I would be the kind of person who would settle for ever, but as our families needs have change, so have our houses. The big house we had to house all of the 5 kids living at home, isn’t necessary now that there are only 3 of them with us. In a couple of years they will all be gone, and we will have little need for the extended space.
So as our family changes, so do our homes, which is fantastic for someone like me who loves the challenge of different styles of homes. I have a deep urge to renovate a 70’s architectural design home, but I digress! (watch this space…) I believe that in the question of new build or buy, there is a potential time for both in our lives.
There is nothing quite as thrilling as planning and designing a new build. I built my first home back in 2002, long before I had met the builder, and can’t say I loved the process. I think builders have come a long way since then, and of course there is plenty of education around the process now, so that it can become one you truly love. (check out my Inside The Build course here)
Building a new home can certainly come with its unique set of challenges, but all in all there is a great opportunity for you to put your own stamp on your home. From finding the house plan that works for you, to making all your own selections, building a home is an exciting process.
Financially building can be a great investment! It is rare for a new build to increase in value quickly however, so keep in mind a new build is a longer term investment. I built my new home in 2002 for $130K including land, it sold some 8 years later for almost $400K. I think the turn around for profit of that extent is much longer now, but there is always opportunity for long term financial rewards in property.
Of course there are some disadvantages, in these times it is rare that new homes are built close to the city. (may not be a disadvantage for many of you) The locations however are not always ideal and in new estates it can be some years before the infrastructure is in place to cope with the new residents.
One pet hate I have for new estates, is the demolishing of all of the trees!! I need the shade for me to feel happy in my home. Again this is not going to be an issue for all, but some of those new estates can be real hot boxes.
Always good to note, that landscaping etc will also need to be done once your home is built, this can be expensive and time consuming.
I do feel if you can find the right area for your family, the good outweighs the bad when it comes to building a home.
Location, location, location!! Buying a home allows you to find the perfect location providing it is in your budget. Our move from our bush property to Pen Y Llechwedd was motivated by location. We needed to be closer to the kids school and after school activity as 3 hours in a day in the car for me, was a waste of my time!
As much as I wanted to build when we bought Pen Y, we would have had to settle with either an estate I wasn’t interested in living in, or still being 20 minutes outside of Ipswich, which isn’t even a big city. We bought for the location we needed for our family. That has since changed, as the kids are almost all finished school, and now they want to be close to the City. Likewise our jobs now see us traveling a bit and working in and around Brisbane often, living closer to the city makes sense for us now.
To do so, we would need to buy an existing home, which would give us the location that we desire. The downside of course is that I get no say in the way the house is set out, and that is not always ideal. You can always renovate to suit your family, however this is an added cost to your buy.
Buying existing often represents great value for money, as all those little extras that don’t come with a new build, are already done. Think established gardens, pools, garages etc. I have always felt this to be a great plus when purchasing an existing home.
Likewise I love to buy into a community I can get a feel for. When we purchased Pen Y, we found a new family of neighbours that have become very important parts of our lives.
There are many options to make either of these work perfectly for your family. If you are after a specific location, you can purchase existing or you can knock down and rebuild if you are really after a new home. Alternatively want to buy existing but is doesn’t really work for you, renovate!
There is no hard and fast answer for what choice you should make for your family, rather a few pros and cons to think about as you make your choice. Good luck!!
Are you building or renovating this year? Worried about the process? Not sure where to begin? Check out my Inside the Build course for all the answers you are searching for!