Home Buying in 01077>Question Details

mike.casimiro, Both Buyer and Seller in Southwick, MA

Do you think it is cheaper to build or buy right now? We can get a 3500 square foot home for 500K. Do you think it would be possible to build that?

Asked by mike.casimiro, Southwick, MA Fri Nov 16, 2012

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Heath Coker’s answer
Six in walls or 2x4?
Regular insulation or foam?
High end finishes or contractor grade?

Make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
And also consider that building can take 6 months longer than planned.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 21, 2012
Yes it is possible, but if the existng home is one you like go for it. It will save you time and money in the long run.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 17, 2012
Buy the house that you want. Home prices are low. If you can't find the home that you want then you can pay a little more and build it. There are homes being constructed now that you can have things added to by the builder.
My Uncle is knocking down his home in East Longemadow and rebuilding it from scratch because he likes the land. It would be cheaper to sell his home and buy the home he wants, but he is doing what makes him happy and he can afford it. I suggest you do the same.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 16, 2012
There are so many variables....

Generally it is cheaper to buy an existing house than building a new one, unless you are capable of general contracting yourself. Then you can save the 10-25% profit margin a builder will be looking for on constructing a home.

Most folks are not capable of GCing their own home and it also creates many financing issues.

Finished square foot prices in our area will range between $105-120 a square foot. This is just to build the home. Then you have the cost of the land and bringing it to a permitted lot.

If you are considering building just to save money, save yourself the aggravation and buy an existing home. If you are building to suit your needs explore your options. At the end of the day my guess is building will cost you more and be fraught with tons of aggravation.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 16, 2012
I'm not sure about the cost of land in your area, but right now in most areas it's cheaper to buy existing than build. Although, that being said we just built our own home even though it was going to cost slightly more per square foot as compared to existing homes in the same area. The reason we chose to do so is we wanted some features (an main level office and a 3 car garage) that we couldn't get in other houses in our price range. We didn't want or need the rest the stuff that came with most houses with these features. So, we decided to build.

It cost us $105.26 per square foot for the construction of the house (excluding the lot price). We did mid grade finishes. In other words, we didn't do granite or hardwoods, but we have better quality cabinets, fixtures, and some upgraded electrical features (HDMI in the walls under cabinet lighting and such).

In any case, we did have bids from some higher end custom home builders that were $115-$160/SF (even with fairly basic finishes). So my suggestion would be talk to some builders who have built homes similar to what you are looking at, ask them for some ball park pricing, and then add that to the cost of land in your area to compare. If you are interested, I blogged every week through our home build process (linked below). Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 16, 2012
$143 a square foot.
It is unlikely you can build a home in MA for that price without some major compromises on quality of finishing and upgrades.

However, there is just too much we do not know.
Options do exist where a home can be placed for close to $100 a square foot, but there are conditions.
The community in which you are building can influence what can be constructed.
The location of the home in regards to natural hazards is important.
Are we talking frame or block homes with animated the Florida building business.

There is a lot of new construction taking place in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Waterfront and near beaches seem to have strong appeal. Prices are moving upward also. These flood zone properties, meeting hurricane standards and elevation requirements are being built at the $186 average. Of course you must add to this the cost of removing that 1950's home that currently exists on the lot. That, however, is not an apples to apples comparison.

There is just way too much that is unknown.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 16, 2012
The only way to find out is to ask builders with your specifications and then compare it to the houses available in the marker with similar specs.

Best of Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 16, 2012
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