Custom Homes vs Existing Homes

April 15, 2013

Buying a home is a huge decision that requires careful thought and consideration before any purchase is made. There are generally two options to choose from when it comes to purchasing residential real estate – customizing new construction or purchasing an existing home. While there are headaches and smiles with both options, the right choice is ultimately up to the buyer. When it comes to custom homes vs existing home, here are some pros and cons of each to help you decide the right path for you:

Pros and Cons of Purchasing an Existing Home

An existing home refers to a home that is already built. It was also previously owned and lived in.

3 Pros of an Existing Home

Here are a few benefits of choosing to buy an existing home:

1. You May be Able to Get the Home at a Great Price

Generally, existing homes are priced lower than custom new construction homes. Depending on the market and other factors, you may be able to negotiate the list price down further, which allows you to get the home at a decent price.

This can provide significant cost-savings, at least at the time of purchase. You may end up paying far more than intended later in repairs, renovations, updates, etc., but the initial purchase price may be lower.

2. Existing Homes Are Usually Move-In Ready

If you are building a custom home from the ground up, you’ll have to wait until it’s finished to move in. Although there will be things you need to do before you can move into an existing home, existing homes are usually move-in ready. The house is there, you just need to tie up loose ends after the purchase and then move in.

3. Older Homes Can Have a Charming Historic Quality

Although existing homes may require repairs and updates sooner than a well-built new construction home, they do have a lived-in look and feel. Older homes can also have a charming historic quality, even if they aren’t considered historic homes.

But, if there are certain design aspects of older homes that you like, you can always include those in a custom home. This approach allows you to get the historic charm you want while also getting the benefits and peace of mind that come with a new construction home.

3 Cons of an Existing Home

There are also some potential drawbacks that come with purchasing an existing home. Here are a few cons of an existing home:

1. An Existing Home May Have Outdated Building Materials

Depending on when the existing home was built, it may have been built with outdated building materials. Not only can this cause issues with the structure of the home over time, but it can also be a health concern at times.

Lead-based paint, asbestos, poor insulation materials, etc. can all be potential risks that you will need to address should you choose to buy an older existing home that may have been built using them.

2. Older Homes Are Usually Not Energy-Efficient

Older homes are notorious for drafts and other issues that can negatively impact the energy-efficiency of the home. Even if updates have been made, older existing homes still tend to be less energy-efficient than new construction homes. Granted, this all depends on how homes were built and have been maintained, but it is something to keep in mind.

3. Remodeling May be Necessary

With existing homes, the property is generally sold as-is. This can sometimes mean you end up with a home that doesn’t suit your needs, which can cause home buyer’s remorse. Also, it usually means renovations and remodeling are needed at some point to help make the house work better for you and suit your tastes.

One of the biggest reasons to build a custom home is that it’s designed and built to your specifications – no endless remodeling to try and get your dream home; you already have it.

Pros and Cons of Building a Custom Home

Custom homes are new construction houses that are uniquely designed and built. A custom home is built according to the wants and needs of the homebuyer with the aid of a team of qualified and accredited home builders.

3 Pros of Building a Custom Home

There are several benefits to building a custom home. Here are just a few of the pros of building a custom home:

1. You Get Everything You Want in Your Dream Home

One of the biggest benefits of building a custom home is that you get your dream home. It’s designed and built specifically to suit your needs, lifestyle, and taste. You don’t have to try and make something work through endless remodeling projects because your home already has what you want and need.

2. Updated and Innovative Building Materials

Another big pro of building a custom home is that it’s new construction. So, you get all the benefits of modern building materials and technologies. Plus, you have the peace of mind that everything is built up to code and is safe.

You don’t need to worry about finding a serious issue after purchase that wasn’t addressed during the inspection and now falls on your shoulders to handle as you do at times with existing homes.

3. New Construction is More Energy-Efficient

New construction tends to be more energy-efficient than existing homes. You don’t have to worry about drafts that have developed over the years or anything like that as you might with an existing home.

Plus, if sustainability and energy-efficiency are essential to you, you can focus on building an energy-efficient custom home that includes extra efficiency features in the design. Partnering with an experienced, reputable builder will help you handle the basics. Then, you can explore other features and solutions that take your new home’s energy efficiency to the next level.

3 Cons of Building a Custom Home

As with anything, there are some potential drawbacks to new construction as well. Here are a few cons of building a custom home:

1. The Purchase Price Tends to be Higher

Although this depends completely on the market and what you’re looking for in a home, new construction tends to be more expensive than existing homes, at least when it comes to the initial purchase price.

You generally need to do repairs or renovations on existing homes sooner than you do with new construction homes. In this way, new construction homes can be more cost-effective even if the initial purchase price tends to be higher. Depending on the market and inventory available, it may even be cheaper to build than to buy in some cases.

2. You May Have a Larger Time Investment

Depending on the inventory available and the market, you may also have a larger time investment when building a custom home. You have to visit contractors, interview them, find the right fit for you, find land or have them build on land you have, lot visits, visiting the house site, etc.

All of it can take up a lot of your time. A good custom home builder, especially one with an in-house design/build process, can help make the process move more quickly and smoothly. At the same time, building a custom home can sometimes be quicker and less stressful than searching through available inventory that just isn’t working.

This tends to be the case if homes just aren’t available in your area or don’t stay available long enough for you to consider and evaluate them. There are ways to cope with a long home buying search if an existing home is what you want. But, sometimes, choosing the build is a better use of your time.

3. You Have to Wait to Move in

One of the biggest cons of building a custom home is that you have to wait to move in. You’re building from the ground up and that takes time. So, new construction homes aren’t move-in ready until you’re done building. But, once they’re done, you get to move in and not have to worry about re-painting, repairing, or remodeling anything.

Above all else, location and budget need to be considered when evaluating custom homes vs existing homes. Whatever option you decide to take, when it comes to custom homes vs existing homes, location is a huge factor to consider. You have to be happy with the neighborhood and overall location of your potential home to be satisfied.

As you evaluate custom homes vs existing homes, the other big factor to consider is your budget. You have to determine the overall budget that you are willing to have to put into your existing or custom home and stick with it. If you’ve decided a custom home is for you, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090 to get on the path towards your dream home!