Building A New House vs. Buying An Established One – What’s The Best Option?
Building a new house or buying one is a big decision. Maybe one that you will be doing once in a lifetime. You want to make sure you have all the info available before you make this decision.
The following criteria are our ones and the assessments we made based on probably the thirty houses we visited when we tried to buy one.
Basically we were looking for a house to cater for our family composed of mum, dad and two little kids. My wife’s desires included a contemporary design, modern interior and spacious rooms.
At that time we lived in a house that was rated EER 0, i.e. inexisting insulation. In summer it was hotter inside than outside. In winter the bathroom’s temperature was often next to 0 degree C! Because of this insulation and energy rating were other important criteria in our selection process.
The below table shows how we compared building a house vs. buying an established one off the market.
|Criteria||Building a house||Buying a house|
|Stamp duty||Pay only stamp duty on
|Pay stamp duty on the
whole value of the house (including land)
|Overall cost||For the same budget
bigger house (up to 50 square metre bigger)
|For the same budget
|Energy Rating, Insulation||EER 5.5||Often EER 0, a few were
EER 3 or 4
|Ceiling||2.55m high||2.40m high|
|Kitchen appliances||Brand new, high quality,
|Old, budget models|
|Painting||New and fresh||Yellowed|
|Inclusion in the house
(tapware, bathtub, toilet suits, etc.)
|Brand new, high quality,
|Joinery, cupboards||Custom made, plenty of
space, wall hung, marble
|Block of land||Same size||Same size|
|Time to possession||1 year for the block of
land to be ready for construction + 6 months for construction
|A few weeks|
|Time and energy investment||Moderate to High||Low to Moderate|
From our experience what we can say is if you can be a bit patient, willing to deal with a builder to get things done then building a new home has a lot of benefits:
- For the same budget you would have a bigger house (not necessarily bigger block of land though)
- Brand new equipments with better performance
- You live in a house that you have designed to suit your requirements and living style
- You’ve designed your dream kitchen and got the kitchen appliances you liked. Especially the cooktop, oven and rangehood, have been selected for your cooking style
- Your bathrooms are tastefully designed with your comfort in mind. For instance you had shower hose and rail installed rather than just a shower head
- Your house is cozy. With better insulation it’s warm in winter and cool in summer
- More environmentally friendly with new materials and technologies
- Costs less to run
The flip side of the coin with building a house comprises:
- Longer process
- Personal investment of time and energy in the design, involvement before and during construction until hand-over
- Dealing with builder and tradesmen
- Time spent on selecting everything in the new house ranging from roof tiles to tapware, appliances and so on so forth (if you are not happy with what is proposed by the builder)
You probably have heard the saying “no pain no gain”. From a financial perspective we believe our personal involvement allowed to save a fair amount of money in the process of building our house.
Would you build a new house or buy one?