You know it’s time to buy a home but you’re just not quite sure; should you hire a home builder to build a home for you, or simply buy an established home? (“Established” by the way, is a term that realtors employ… what they really mean by “established” is “used”). Sometimes, when you are looking to avoid hidden costs and headaches, a custom home can be just the ticket.

Of course, there are advantages to both. Older homes come in established neighborhoods, and can often be quite charming. The existing window treatments and household appliances are often included in the purchase, and the character of your neighbors is fairly easy to read from your surroundings. Plus, the upfront price for a “used” home is usually lower than for a newly built one.

Still, there are some very alluring qualities that come with building a new home as well. For one thing, you’ll have the opportunity to put a great deal of say into just what your new home will look and feel like…it’s built to your specifications. You get to choose the decorating options and floor plans as well, which can eliminate some of the headaches a “used” home may bring, such as ripping out and replacing a worn-out and ugly 1970s bathroom. Also, the appliances and amenities of a custom built home will be up to date, so, all in all, your new home will probably look a lot nicer and be far more efficient.

Looks, however, aren’t everything. What’s behind the walls in a home can be just as important. In fact, the money you save on the purchase price of a used home may very well be consumed in expensive renovations. Building codes are reviewed and changed frequently to ensure safety. A few years after buying a used home you may need to make huge expenditures to bring the house up to code (water pipes, electrical, proper egress windows) or remove hazardous substances such as lead-based paint or material containing asbestos before you can resell.

Your custom built home will be constructed and wired to the most recent and safest standards, and, as a general rule, be environmentally friendly. Finally, (although you should be careful to read the fine print) your new home and the appliances in it will often come with a warranty, leaving you with options if and when difficulties arise.

Another real plus to a newly custom built home is energy efficiency. Older homes were built in an age when energy was inexpensive and affordable. That’s not the case anymore, and it’s not likely that energy costs will drop significantly anytime soon. So, while you may save a few dollars on the purchase of an older home, you may find that the money you saved is going up the chimney, escaping under the doors, or leaking through old and drafty windows. New homes are build with energy efficiency in mind…you’ll realize the savings on your energy bills every month.

While a new home can seem more expensive at first glance, in the long run it can be a better buy and wiser investment. As with anything, the key to success lies in the people you work with. Before choosing a builder, do some research; seek out and talk to past customers, find out where the builder has already put up homes, and then visit those neighborhoods. It can be really helpful to go at a time when homeowners are outside doing chores…simply stop, introduce yourself and say that you’re thinking of working with their builder and listen to what they have to say. Talk to a Real Estate Agent, or, better yet, talk to a few. Look carefully at both the appearance and the quality of workmanship in the model homes you visit. Take your time, do your research, take notes and make a wise and educated choice about who you would like to work with.

If you do your research, and chose carefully, you might find that a custom built home fits you like glove.

Leave a Reply