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  • AutorenbildDaniel Hofmann

New Construction or Older Buildings – that's the question...

A home is not simply a roof over our heads but also a statement of our individuality. A house can define us. It expresses our personality, interests and even our beliefs. Considering these factors, it is not surprising that buyers are torn between whether to buy an existing home or to build one from scratch.

There are pros and cons to buying an older home versus building a new one. Some of the benefits maybe obvious and others can be easily overlooked. So, when the time is right: what will be a better choice for you – buying or building?

The Appeal of Building Your Own Home

Perhaps one of the main reasons you would want to build your new new house is the fact that you have complete freedom over to design of the new built. You can make it fit your lifestyle, your architectural bias and you can follow current (or not so current) design trends to your hearts content. On the other hand, buying an existing property is often a matter of deciding which undesirable aspects you are able to live with.

A new house is generally maintenance free for several years after construction. Because it has been built based on current construction techniques and with modern technology, you can rest easy knowing that there should not be any structural, safety or mechanical concerns for many years to come. New homes also tend to hold their market value longer than older existing homes.

However building a new property is exhausting - believe me, I have done it - surveyors, kitchen studios, flooring specialists, builders, construction site etc to name just a few things and people you have to deal with. It takes a lot of time, energy and patience. It is not as simple as choosing a floor plan, there are often delays and problems in obtaining permits, inspections, selected materials and getting contractors to keep to the construction timeline. But if you stick with it, you will have built something that fits you.


The other side of the coin: Buying an existing property

Cost is often a deciding factor supporting the purchase of a pre-built home. The cost per square foot of an existing property is usually much less than the costs of building from scratch. This is even true with homes that are less than five years old. Purchase price, however, should not be the only consideration. Often older homes are in need of repairs, maintenance, upgrading or even a complete renovation. The additional monies, if you are not careful, can quickly drive the total price of the home beyond the current market value.

Often enough though you can see beyond undesirable features – such as an ugly kitchen or worn floor coverings – and see the home’s potential. If the general floor plan meets your needs, a few improvements are all it takes to make it right.

Buying a home is quicker than building one. Even if the property is in need of some repairs and updating, this will often take much less time to complete than building a new home from scratch. Another reason people consider buying a home versus building one is caused by a scarcity of vacant land. If you want to build a new home in a fully developed city such as Berlin, for example, finding available land can seriously affect your ability to build. Often the only available vacant land will be located in either undesirable neighbourhoods or on the outskirts of the city. This could affect your property value and the ability to sell the property further down the road.

In instances where there is a shortage of available land, some buyers have opted to buy old, dilapidated buildings and either tear them down to gain the vacant land or completely gut the interior and start fresh. This is one way to work around land shortages. Building vs. buying is a very personal decision and must be weighed by each buyer individually. If you are intent on living in a specific neighbourhood and have budget limitations, buying an existing home may be a better decision. If location is not a factor, but individuality and condition are important, then building a new home may be your ticket to a dream home.

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