Should you build or buy an existing house?

When you’re considering buying a home no doubt you will also consider having one built. For this reason I would like to share with you some of the advantages and disadvantages of building versus buying an existing house.

The advantages of building your own home include being able to get what you want (within your budget constraints) and being able to add “eco” friendly features if you wish. You will also have a home which is amongst homes of similar values if you are building in a new sub-division. Moving into a brand new home and knowing that you won’t need to do any maintenance for quite some time is also a great feeling for those buyers who don’t have DIY in their blood.

It sounds great so far but there are disadvantages too. To find the land for building usually means you will have to live further from the central areas of Auckland so longer commutes will be involved for many. It is also more expensive per square metre to build than it is to buy an existing home. This goes for apartments as well as stand-alone houses. It can be very time consuming and it can be stressful to build as there are many decisions which need to be made and often very little time to make them.

You need to be good at reading and understanding plans and to have money set aside for the items which are not included in the building such as curtains and landscaping. There could also be cost over-runs with little changes adding up to large amounts in the end and delays are usually part of the process unfortunately.

The advantages of buying an existing house are that you can see exactly what it looks like and you can get it inspected to ensure there are no problems. You also get to search in a great variety of locations. You can buy a property which needs renovation and add value if you have the right skill set and it will be cheaper than building the equivalent home in an equivalent area. You can also see exactly what the neighbourhood and community are like before you buy.

The biggest disadvantage in buying an existing property is the amount of competition you face in buying it in the beginning. You may be buying at auction and you won’t know if you can afford it until the bidding gets underway. You could also be buying someone else’s problems especially if you don’t get all the checks done before buying.

The other main disadvantage is that it is unlikely that you will find a house that provides everything you want and is decorated exactly as you would like it to be so you may need to spend further money improving or changing it. And it can be difficult to add features that are important to you depending on the style and construction method.

There is no right answer to the dilemma of building versus buying existing but it is really important to be totally honest with yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of both so you can weigh them up carefully before making a commitment.

Robyn Forryan

Property Magic

0800 800455


Robyn has been in the real estate industry for more than 20 years. She has sold houses, rented houses, traded houses and now she is doing what she loves best – helping house buyers. Because of her varied experiences her advice is practical and honest as well as being independent because she is not a real estate agent but a house buyer’s consultant. She keeps her community informed about the property market, gives tips on how to buy a house and tries to help buyers with the techniques that will help them secure their dream home at the best possible price and with the least possible problems. 


Dustin Lindale July 19, 2015 Blog