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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Should you buy or build a home?

I work in the mortgage industry.  I write, blog, and post about it all day long.  But it wasn't until the last few months I got to really experience what it means to be a home buyer and have to go through the home buying process.

I'm telling you this because I've had my fair share of experience.  Not as much with buying homes, considering I just bought my first, but I'm very familiar with guiding others through the buying process.

So to begin with, you've got to find a home.  You'll probably end up meeting with a Realtor and the first thing they'll ask you is: what are looking for in a home?

For me, it was very up in the air.  I knew I had a strict price range so I wasn't expecting the White House mansion but I also didn't want a shack in the ghetto.  What I did know: I wanted an updated kitchen and bathrooms, a laundry room, and a small yard for my dog.

The point i'm trying to get at is that everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to buying their "dream home."  It's best to weigh out your personal options and then decide if buying or building is for you.  I've listed a couple of the pros and cons below to help you decide:

Building a new home


The obvious reason of building your home from scratch is that you get exactly what you want.  The layout, design, decorating...it can all be exactly what you want it to be.  Some people find this task over daunting and therefore most builders will offer you stock floor plans and a set of options to narrow down your choices and help ease the process.

Another great benefit is the brand new appliances, plumbing, and electrical.  You already know all safety codes will be up to date and newer appliances offer lower cost and energy efficient options.

But every "dream home" has it's down side.

Often times, and in my personal experience, the building projects can go over the projected timeline budget, causing major problems for you as the borrower.  A key to remember on new build construction is to always allow 1 to 2 months longer than the contract date set by the builder.

One of the more obvious cons of building is the cost is quite a bit more expensive.  Also, your home does not come with a lot of the great features that an existing home might such as a fridge, window coverings, or landscaping.

Buying an existing home


The great thing about an existing home is that most of the work has already been done for you.  All you have to do is get pre-approved from your lender and pick out the one you want.  It's also considerably cheaper than building a home.

If you're not sure what you're looking for in a home, buying an existing one is going to be a much easier option.  Pre-built homes usually come with all the necessary features that you would normally have to pay more for on a new home.

The bad thing about existing homes is that it is what it is and some things can't be changed.  Your small kitchen or cramped backyard space is something you will most likely have to live with.  Even with the right budget, permanent fixtures are very hard to change.

You'll also have to buy a home inspection on an existing home.  Not that this is a bad thing because it prevents you from buying a home with complications, but this is an out of pocket cost that cannot be financed into the loan.

Also, depending on the age of your home it could require some repairs over time.  The more the house ages, the more likely it is to need repairs.  Extra money should always be put aside when buying an existing home for emergencies in cases like this.

None the less, buying a home should be an exciting and joyous experience.  Just make sure to write down a list of items you want and need, so that you don't end up making one of your biggest investments into a home that won't make you happy.  Either way, make sure you've had enough time to sort out the pros and cons so you can ensure a happy and stress-free home environment.

Any questions on home buying, new home builds, existing homes, or getting prequalified? Contact us at 800.461.4152 with questions or email us at info@ranlife.com.  You can also get started by filling out an online application here.


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