As the housing market is in its prime, it’s a good time to decide if you are interested in a new home, and if you will choose to build a house or purchase a home that is already built. Here are some pro’s and con’s to hopefully help make your decision a little bit easier.
Buying a Built Home:
First and foremost, buying a home that is already built will not give you any surprises. You can go into a house you are interested in, poke around, knock on walls and doors, ring door bells, test water pressure, anything you might want to know about a house can be found out just by going on a walk-through (aside from tearing down the walls and looking at the wiring, which might cause problems with the current homeowner). You will know immediately if you like the look of the house and how it’s built or how rooms are connected. The most important aspect of home buying is finding a home that is aesthetically pleasing to you.
Next to that, there is house-hunting with a particular style of house in mind and finding almost what you are looking for. For example, you may find a house that you really like, but perhaps there are several walls that could be knocked down to create an ‘open-airy’ feel. But after you spend this much on this house, are you really going to want to knock down all of these walls to get you what you want, or do you want to just keep looking for what you want? If you have a particular style in mind, stick with it; it already costs a lot of money to buy a house, and remodeling isn’t easy on the wallet either. Something small, like tiling a floor or changing out carpet is different than ripping out walls or adding windows. Those things definitely add up, and quick!
If you are handy and don’t mind getting your hands dusty, there is always the situation of finding a ‘fixer-upper’ or foreclosure for cheaper than your budget and going to town on remodeling (read YoungHouseLove.com). Just be prepared to be hit with the realization that remodeling doesn’t happen over night, and many foreclosures and fixer-uppers need some repairs completed before you are even allowed to move in – so be sure to have extra money in your budget to pay contractors that need to come in just to get the house livable, over and above remodeling money. Big projects can take anywhere from a week: re-tiling a bathroom, to several months: re-tiling a bathroom and finding out it needs new pipes/beams/electrical/etc. It all depends on if you hit any bumps in the road or not.
1. Stick to your budget. Even if you think you might be able to afford another $1,000 – don’t. Just keep looking. You will eventually find what you want in what you can afford. If you found what you want and it is out of your price range, always give your offer, the worst the homeowner can do is say no. Keep looking and, you never know, in a couple weeks, they might drop the price anyway. Don’t buy more than what you can afford. It never ends well.
2. Don’t settle – If you know you want an open kitchen/living room/dining room area, then keep looking until you find the house that has that aspect. Want a walk-in closet? Two car garage? The houses that have what you want are out there. If you think about getting a house that you don’t feel is perfect, it won’t be, and you’ll probably end up having more work to do in the end.
3. If you don’t know what you want, look at a lot of houses – In the early stages of house hunting, it can be overwhelming and every house you look at can be the perfect house. Make note of things you like and don’t like in each house, which will eventually give you a list of must-have’s and must-not-have’s. It will give you things to look for at the next place and make your choice easier.