So you’ve finally reached that pivotal moment where you are ready to buy a house. Then you realize the next biggest decision…To buy or to build? You’re faced with the option of building your own home from scratch or perusing the inventory of existing homes in your desired area.

Some of the biggest advantages of buying an existing home are convenience and cost. Existing homes are often in developed neighborhoods and are typically not part of a larger home-owner’s group. The established neighborhood principle also has advantages when it comes to things like landscaping, which is often full and mature, whereas a recently built home may require additional expenses to develop the yard. Financially speaking, you will likely find better value for your dollar in an existing home as the environment is more conducive to negotiate the price down. Appliances and fixtures are often included in the price as well, rather than being subject to additional charges and upgrades.

The most common drawback to buying an existing home is that it realistically will not have all of the items on your “must haves”. Since the home is already built, you may have to deal with a pre-existing floor plan that doesn’t match your exact desires or needs. Existing homes have been around longer, which can have its charm, but it also comes with its own set of issues. Such as, existing homes are often in need of some maintenance or renovations not only to get them up to your standards, but sometimes just to make them livable. Existing homes obviously are not equipped with the most up to date amenities and wiring qualifications. You just have to weigh your checklist and decide what you can work with and still be happy with.

Building your own home in San Diego has the potential to be easy, particularly with so many developers offering a predefined set of floor plans and choices. Building your own home gives you the power and flexibility to have things just the way you dreamed them. Even so, the additional benefit of having a developer comes with some disadvantages.

Building your dream house offers great sentimental value and reward in the long run. When you build your own home, you can have everything your way from the flooring in the laundry room to the cabinets in the kitchen and everything in between, both in structure and design. There are definitive feelings of emotional fulfillment and pride in a house that has become “your baby.” Furthermore, the construction materials and building code will be up to the latest safety standards.

Talk to anyone that has built their own home and most have dreadful stories about the project taking too long or exceeding their budget. Whether it be due to delay because of inclement weather, issues obtaining the proper materials, postponed inspections or a general contractor who is spread too thin; building your home from the ground up can come with significant setbacks. Apart from being frustrating, it may also put your wallet in a bind as you find yourself getting hit twice with the mortgage or rent on your current residence and the same on the home you are building. Many families find it to be a race against time and their bank accounts. Cost is also a huge factor as it is almost always more expensive per square foot to build your home than it is to buy an existing home. Picking out new fixtures and upgrades can really add as well. The personal time commitment can also be draining to your emotions and your schedule. You just have to decide what you are willing to handle.

The decision to build or buy is not an easy one and each has its own set of advantages and issues that need to be carefully weighed against one other. In making your decision, consider things like your current financial situation, long-term plans for being in the area, job security, and most of all…your sanity. Owning a home is a great experience, but it is also an extremely demanding event in your life and you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way. Take time to consider both options and choose the path that is best suited for you.

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