Whether you are choosing to move or have a life event that requires moving, there is a big choice that you must make…  Should you build a custom home or buy an existing house?  This is a very important question that requires some serious thought, as there are pros and cons to both sides.  So, let’s explore some of the issues, in order to gain insight about the home building and home buying processes.

Option: Buy an Existing House

Some Pros of Buying Existing

  • Ability to walk-through the house; no need to visualize
  • Once you find a home, you can usually close in 30-45 days.
  • You know exactly how much the house costs.

Some Cons of Buying Existing

  • You don’t get to choose your own features and finishes.
  • Remodeling may be required
  • You will probably have to “give in” about something—location, floor plan, features…

Option: Build a Custom Home

Some Pros of Building Custom

  • Opportunity to design the perfect floor plans
  • Ability to choose features and finishes for your new home
  • Flexibility with where you build—on your own land, in a neighborhood, rural, urban, etc.
  • Some control over budget – In other words, if you want to save money, you can choose a less expensive finish or feature.

Some Cons of Building Custom

  • Not being able to see the finished product (In other words, you must be able to visualize.)
  • Must choose finishes by selecting from samples, which are often small in size
  • You must have realistic expectations, understanding that you won’t get everything, especially if you want to stay in budget.
  • Numerous decisions must be made, from paint colors to hardware and everything in between…
  • If you don’t make decisive decisions and stick with them, change orders will cost you money and time.

Should you build custom or buy existing?

Still not sure whether you should build or buy?  Well, answer these questions…

  • Are you a visual person? In other words, are you comfortable with your ability to visualize what a custom home will look like based on floor plans and selections made from samples?  Or do you feel confident only when you can see the finished product?
  • What are your requirements for your new home?  For example, are you moving because you want a particular location?  Are you trying to solve a specific floor plan problem?  Does your current home lack features that you need?
  • How decisive are you?  In other words, are you comfortable with making many small decisions (about land/lot, features, finishes, etc.) or would you prefer to make one big decision (and buy an existing house)?
  • Are you likely to get stressed out about decisions involving small details?  For example, will you worry that the light switch might turn out to be better six inches to the left, but you won’t really know until you move in?  So, you fret about this minor detail.  If so, you should consider buying an existing house.
  • Have you always dreamed of creating a certain environment for your family, one that is unique to your needs and the experiences you want to have?  If so, you should consider building a custom home.

Build a Custom Home or Buy an Existing House?

As the pros and cons lists, plus the above questions show, the decision to build a custom home or buy an existing house is not one to take lightly.  The “build or buy” decision is not simply about the finished product, but also the process and how your temperament is likely to affect the experience.  Your emotional state, and your family’s, is at stake.  So, take the time to think through the building and buying options.


Want more information about the process of building a custom home?

Interested in starting the design build process?

Build Custom or Buy Existing?
Article Name
Build Custom or Buy Existing?
An article which discusses the pros and cons of both building a custom home and buying an existing house, including questions to ask when trying to make this decision.
Publisher Name
Elements Design Build L.L.C.
Publisher Logo