Wondering if it's cheaper to buy or build?

Asked by Brandon Snider, Cullman, AL Fri Sep 9, 2011

Been looking around at homes for a while and just want some feedback from people in real estate as well as folks who have actually built a home new construction recently. What's your take on it? Is it cheaper to buy or build what you want?

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Stephanie Ra…, Agent, Cullman, AL
Sat Sep 10, 2011
You can get much more home for the dollar on a pre-existing home right now, Brandon. There are some great deals out there! I don't know why anyone would build right now. You will pay more if you build.

I know a really great buyers agent if you need one! Haha
1 vote
Cathy Bureau, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Sat Sep 10, 2011
Brandon - it all depends. In San Antonio you can buy a 2,000SF one story 4 sided brick home for $150,000. I showed it to my mom and she said she loved it, as is, except a carpet replacement. She didn't mind the DIY tile project, 1980s Magik Chef appliances, and the Grecian style bedroom. I told her I'd have to replace ALL the flooring, strip the popcorn, re-texture and paint the house, change all the lighting and appliances, which would run about $20,000+ taking it to $170,000. It has a heated pool with a jacuzzi and patio too.

If I built it, I'd get mostly what I want but builder grade carpet and lighting, not worth a hoot if you can also get at Home Depot for less. I would spend another $40,000 on the pool, $10,000 on the deck, and to build that size with that lot size (.25 acres) would be around $250,000; total in is $290,000.

I'd gladly take the out of date home, greenovate it over a new one any day. Either way I'm getting a great house. But value wise, the older one will be easier to sell later and it is exactly what I want, flooring, lighting, pool, appliances, and all.

There is much to decide. My recommendation is that you make a list of 5 MUST HAVES. Then shop for homes to see what you find. Then check with a few builders to compare. Every area is unique even down to the block.

Find a good Realtor who knows both new and resale homes. That is always your best bet! I can refer a quality Realtor if you like. I'm networked nationally on a personal level with hundreds of Realtors.

Good Luck!

Cathy Bureau
Green Home Realty
1 vote
Gary Geer, Agent, Antioch, IL
Sat Sep 10, 2011
Cheaper to buy! Larger inventory and better prices.
1 vote
Macklin Crewe, Home Buyer, 06831
Thu Apr 3, 2014
All The broker say buy ... What did you expect? LMAO
0 votes
Jacinth Brown, Agent, Locust Grove, GA
Sat Sep 10, 2011
Depend on how much time you"re working with, the area market you're looking to purchase your home. There are some area market selling 50% - 80% on the $$$ others are 100%. Then if you do have the time to build then you can have exactly what you want. Check with your local Realtor He or She should be able to help you.
0 votes
Brandon Snid…, , Cullman, AL
Sat Sep 10, 2011
Yeah, my problem is finding what I want..... Both homes that were even close to what we wanted were asking top dollar per sq ft in my opinion. So I asked myself, if I'm going to have $90-$100 sq/ft in a home, why not build exactly what I want?
0 votes
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Sat Sep 10, 2011
We are seeing prices in depressed areas of $67 to $90 per square foot for Distressed homes.
You would have to research your local costs, but we are seeing $120 to $200 per square foot for building; and that does not include the cost of the land.
Also, people tend to add-on to building costs once they have justified the initial expense: nicer doors, better faucets, upgraded appliances, etc.

On the plus side, the Homeowners gets more of what they want with the Build, fewer concessions.
If they are planning on staying there many years, that would be important.

On the negative, they are building for their tastes and may not be considering the next owners.

If they are 50+ years old, and this is their retirement home......
If they are 25 years old and buying a Stepping-Stone.......

Like everything else in a Realtor's life; not Black and White.
0 votes
Jeffre Taylor, Agent, Cullman, AL
Sat Sep 10, 2011
Definitely to buy. Way more opportunities to negotiate and when looking at $/sq ft, that is the way to go.
0 votes
Mikel DeFran…, Agent, Canton, MA
Sat Sep 10, 2011
Much cheaper to buy... by building you get a brand new / customizable property ( hence... very in demand ) and as such, it is much more expensive than similar sized Non-new construction.
Web Reference:  http://www.SuccessInMass.com
0 votes
Dp2, , Virginia
Fri Sep 9, 2011
I'm an investor. Right now, it's cheaper to buy than to build. This is one of the key reasons why new builds are on hold in many markets.
0 votes
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