To buy or build? Guide for first home buyers
Many buyers struggling to find the right home are going back to the drawing board and building rather than buying an existing home.
There are obvious benefits to a brand new home: you can build exactly what you want and enjoy shiny new surrounds, with no wear and tear costs for years to come. But there can be downsides to creating your castle.
We look at some of the pros and cons of building versus buying.
THE PROS OF BUILDING
You get what you want
The great pleasure of building your own home is choosing what you want for today’s lifestyle. If building, you have two options: a project home or a custom-built one.
Project homes offer a suite of designs, usually with options to mix and match or upgrade some features. They are cheaper than custom-built homes because the builder works on an economy of scale for the building materials and products and knows exactly how much money will be made on each design. The other benefit is that you can tour display villages and see exactly what you will get.
A custom or architect-designed home will cost more but allows you to create your dream home. Just remember, the higher the quality of your materials and fittings, or the harder they are to the source, the higher the cost. Size also matters, with builders working on square meterage.
You can go green
The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme requires all new homes to have a minimum energy rating of six stars (one being the lowest and 10 being the highest), which means lower energy and water bills for your household, plus the feel-good factor of helping the environment. Green design includes the home’s aspect to make the most of natural cooling and warming, water tanks, energy efficient lighting and better-insulated windows.
You can be part of a new community
In a world where increasingly few of us know our neighbours, a new home in a new estate can help knit you into a community. New estates are generally located in high-growth areas that attract young families, a plus for those with kids who want to feel part of a neighbourhood. These estates are also carefully planned, often with new parks and purpose-built shopping centres. Some are even large enough to have their own schools, heightening the sense of community for residents.
THE CONS OF BUILDING
Time and stress
Building a new home, even if you opt for a project design, requires your input and time. Even the simplest projects can take their toll, especially if couples disagree about certain fixtures, bad weather impacts timelines or the builder gets something wrong.
Busy people might struggle to find enough time to make decisions, liaise with the builder and other contractors and visit the building site. If that’s the case, buying an existing home might be a less stressful option.
While new homes are generally part of new communities, the trade-off is that the land is often located in outer suburbs, with fewer public transport options and longer commutes.
Finding vacant land in established areas is nigh impossible in some cities, so older homes in poor condition are being snapped up and knocked down. For many, the cost of buying and demolishing a home and building a replacement is prohibitive. If you are looking to settle in an established suburb with ample infrastructure and amenities, buying a home and renovating it to suit your needs may be more affordable and convenient.
A HELPING HAND
Whether you decide to buy or build there are still come government grants available for first home buyer to lighten the load. Check out what’s on offer at www.firsthome.gov.au