Buying vs Building: A comprehensive house guide

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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When it comes to choosing your new house, one issue always crops up and that is the age old argument of building vs. buying. Naturally, not everybody will be in a position to consider building, or so you might think, but with some extra thought given to budgets and the processes involved with both options, you might be surprised at what will work best for you! There might even be a middle ground that allows for an unexpected solution.

Take a look at our overview of the pros and cons associated with both building your own house and buying an existing property and see where you stand in the building vs. buying debate!

1. Think about the buying process

Unlike buying a new pair of shoes, you can't simply state what you want, find the absolutely perfect example of it and hand over your debit card when buying a house. A lot more goes into it than that.

From viewing, through to having a survey done, waiting for land checks and putting in an offer, buying a house is an extremely time consuming and stressful event and you never have any guarantee of being successful, until the last moment. Though you may have found the house of your dreams, complete with black front door, such as this one from Interior Desires, if someone offers more for it before you get the keys, you could be left out in the cold. 

Something else to consider is the enormous amount of fees that you will be expected to pay when buying a house. Conveyancing, estate agent and survey fees all add up and you will also be liable for any mortgage set up costs too. When it comes to building vs. buying, the fees can be enough of a headache to make people seriously turn away from purchasing an existing house.

2. Consider the risks of building

Wickham House: modern Houses by C7 architects
C7 architects

Wickham House

C7 architects

If buying an existing house, that will usually entail you compromising on certain elements, seems like a no go for you, then building your own could be a definite possibility, especially if you are great at organising!

Building vs. buying is a tricky debate, with many people opting to build, but without taking into account certain elements that can make it extremely stressful, such as unplanned costs, unreliable tradesmen and building regulations. If you create a property that is considered to be not up to regulations, you could be forced to remove it and start again, or if your tradesmen find something unexpected in the ground, you could witness your costs spiralling out of control. Add to this the possibility of hiring a team that proves to be unreliable and the stresses associated with building your own home can be huge, leaving you wishing you had bought something at the start!

3. Focus on the positives of building

It's not all doom and gloom! If you can overlook the potential pitfalls of building your own house, you will be excited by the upsides, which all centre around you getting exactly the house that you want, with no compromises necessary.

When you enlist the services of a design firm, you can specify absolutely everything that is important to you and be clear about the aesthetics that you like. You can, within reason, create whatever you like and not have to bend or yield to constraints that are already in place. This is where building vs. buying becomes a one-sided argument, as if you have the funding in place to build your absolute dream home, it seems unreasonable that you would even consider doing anything else. While a kitchen might just be somewhere to prepare food for some people, if you have always dreamt of an overhanging minimalist food prep area with a mountain view, why would you buy an existing terraced house in London?

4. The middle ground

modern Garden by Bongers Architecten
Bongers Architecten

Achterzijde moderne recreatiewoning

Bongers Architecten

The arguments for building vs. buying are varied and in depth and if you feel as though neither side has totally swayed you, maybe there is a middle ground that we haven't covered yet. Buying and erecting a prefabricated house could be the answer you are looking for and it is as simple as choosing what you want, ordering the panels and paying for them.

Still offering the customisation and personalisation that building a house from scratch does, you get the added benefit of being able to erect a watertight home in a matter of days, allowing for a faster turnaround and quicker moving in. The timescale of buying, with the personalisation of building; a perfect compromise!

5. Consider the risks of buying a prefab

We know it sounds like the easy option, buying a pre-fab, but there are risks to take into account, as with any home build project. The most key one to consider is fit, something that really does make this solution to the building vs. buying argument a little less straightforward!

Being built off site, prefabricated houses are fully dependent on perfect manufacturing and an adherence to extremely tight tolerances, otherwise, panels can arrive on site, ready to be joined together, only to find that they don't quite fit. With fixtures needing to be millimetre perfect, you will need to have absolute faith in the team compiling your measurements!

6. Enjoy the advantages of a prefab

 Wooden houses by Marlegno
Marlegno

Casa in legno

Marlegno

Building vs. buying is a debate that will never be resolved, as there will always be people that support both sides, but when a compromise can be found, we think it's a great way to go. We really cannot advocate prefabricated houses enough, especially when they offer an amazing combination of the design input of building, with the convenience and fast turnaround of buying. You can also look to find the perfect piece of land to erect them on, meaning that absolutely nothing has to be an after thought. Honestly, what could be better than that?

For more house buying inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: 6 Tips When Buying A House.

Are you considering buying a new home? Is building your own an option? Share your thoughts with us, below!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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