To Buy or To Build: A First-Time Homeowner’s Guide

There are a lot of people buying homes out there, many of whom are trying to become homeowners for the first time. With the 2008 financial crisis still close in the rearview (and perhaps a new one brewing), it’s a buyer’s market for houses in many parts of the world. But many of these are old homes, which weren’t constructed to meet all of our modern day needs and lifestyles. So, new buyers are faced with the question: should I build or should I buy? It’s a complicated consideration, one with many factors to look at. Here are the main points.

To Build

Building a house lets you be sure that you are getting exactly what you want. Many older homes are functionally obsolete, meaning that their layout and amenities were meant to serve people in a time gone by. You may be looking at large houses with only a single bathroom, or cramped layouts with little room for improvement or expansion. Building from scratch fixes all this, but there’s usually an added cost.

It can often be more expensive to build than to buy, though not always.Land for sale in Perth by Lend Lease is an example of building projects made to be affordable, especially for those coming into the country from without, to take advantage of a weak Australian dollar. But for those who are staying within their home country, building a home may be more expensive than it is worth. Still, much of this investment will be recoverable, as newer homes resell for more than older homes, generally. So, if you want to build, be ready to pay more up front, and to wait for months while your home is constructed from scratch.

To Buy

Buying an existing home is (potentially) convenient and affordable by comparison. If you’re not too picky about layout and design choices already built in to the existing home, you will likely find a home in good location for an affordable price. The downside is that these homes can be more expensive in the long run, unlike their newly built counterparts. Old homes have problems. You might have to replace the electrical system, fix the plumbing, deal with pest infestations, make large scale renovations, and any of many other factors.

Your home may end up being worth less (as explained above) than a newer home, when you decide to sell. Of course, it’s possible to pack equity into an old home by making intentional, well-chosen upgrades. But there’s your additional cost over the years that you own the home, one that you wouldn’t likely incur by building a home from scratch.


It’s really up to you, what you want, and what you can afford. If you want to move into an established area, like a city, it’s probably easiest for you to buy a cheap house and renovate it to meet your needs. But if you want to move into an area without good home contenders, it may be worth your while to build from scratch, creating the perfect home for you and your family, wherever the location might be.