Buying a Home versus Building a Home: Pros and Cons

Written by  //  February 18, 2013  //  Home Construction  //  Comments Off on Buying a Home versus Building a Home: Pros and Cons

Of the only two options for those seeking home ownership, both have some notable benefits and drawbacks. Deciding whether buying a home or having one built is right for you will be largely determined by your individual situation. However there are several prominent pros and cons associated with both scenarios that everyone should be aware of.

Knowing the different aspects of each option ahead of time is crucial to making an informed decision, so we’ll cover the two main pros and cons for both approaches. 

Building Your Own Home


  • Flexibility and creativity. – Being able to decide every detail of your home could be a dream come true for some people. Those with a creative edge and specific ideas about what they want will be better suited to the task, and probably happier with the result. Building your own home means you have a say from the beginning, being able to oversee the structural layout, size of each room and every detail right down to the type of wood and flooring that’s used. In this scenario, nothing is left to chance.
  • The “Newness” factor. — If you have a home built, you’ll be moving into a building that you’re certain is free of any defects caused by prior owners, or from the wear and tear of having existed for years before you showed up. In this scenario there’s no guesswork about structural or electrical problems, as every aspect of the home is completely new. That’s not to say that you’re guaranteed to be free of trouble in the future, but the likelihood of that happening is significantly decreased.


  • Time and energy for preparation and planning. – Building a home is a hands-on approach, even if you’re not taking any part in the actual construction. All the research, planning and selection of materials are ultimately your responsibility, which can take a significant amount of time away from your everyday schedule. For some people this in and of itself can be a deal breaker.
  • Finding a place to stay during the building phase. – The time it takes to plan and build a home can be anywhere from several months to close to a year, depending on the scope of the project. If you’re renting with some type of a lease and time frame for moving out, finding a place to stay and making sure your home is finished on schedule can be tricky, and potentially leave you in limbo between an uncompleted home and lack of a place to stay. If you already own a home this is a little easier, but selling that home introduces its own set of time constraints which can be difficult to match up with the completion of your new house.

Buying a Home


  • Far less work involved. – Unlike building your own home, buying one that’s already constructed takes a tremendous amount of work out of the entire process. While you might not have every feature you want, there are always enough homes on the market that you’ll have plenty to choose from. Having several months of work and planning taken out of the equation is a major benefit.
  • Simpler moving process. – With a home that’s already built, scheduling your closing and selling your current home or timing the end of a lease is much easier. You won’t have to worry about downtime between residencies, or having to find another temporary place to stay. You’ll also have a place where you can immediately begin to move your furniture and belongings in, releasing you from the possibility of having to rent a storage space.


  • Less control over price and material. – What might be a benefit for one person could be a deterrent for another. Buying a home that has already been built means you’ll have less control in terms of price, layout and material. Losing that creative input might mean a lot if you have a long list of specifics you’re looking for, especially when it comes to the size and layout of the rooms.
  • Can require a lot of searching to find the one that’s “Just Right”. – Everyone’s hope when buying a home is that they can find the perfect combination that gets them closest to the price, design, look and feel of what they want. When you’re buying a home that you didn’t design, you’ll often have to settle for “close is enough”. The searching required in finding a home that is ideal for you in all those areas can take a long time.


Your situation will determine which set of pros you find the most valuable, and which cons you’re most willing to tolerate. Getting the home you’ve always wanted takes a lot of work and time, regardless of which route you choose to take. The type of work that you believe better suites you should be kept in mind when deciding whether to build or buy.

Author Information 
Travis Bayles is an independent real estate researcher. He enjoys sharing his insights on various property publications and websites. Visit Baywest Homes, to find out more details.

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