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We built in 2015, prices were just coming off the bottom a bit/stable and rates were still super low (even now they are low historically).

The problem we had/saw is that in the area we wanted to be in (newer growing area with a population of 3k in 2000 that by 2010 was 30,000) many of the homes were built 01-07. Meaning that in 2015 many of these homes were getting to be 10yrs old and there was some big code changes in the area too. That and the home styles started moving to 3 car garage (what we wanted) so homes closer to the 01 - 05 mark that was limited in availability. At 10yrs old you are looking at 10 old appliances and such like water heater and HVAC and updates if not done already. The price for existing was right at or higher than building in my opinion for the right now vs wait 6mo reason. Houses were selling in days so it was competitive to even get into an existing.

Since we were in a situation to wait for house to be built it made more sense to have one built. Ours is not a custom build but we got to pick and upgrade many options and if we wanted to could move walls around (we did not) so although it was a builder it was not a spec home. It was nice to pick out things and know what things you wanted to do but not pay the builder to do.

Prices have been rising but not at a super fast rate outside of the higher priced coastal areas.
 

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Depends.

You may find an existing that you LOVE, and in that case, building may not be the best option. That's exactly what happened to me. This place came up for sale, I knew of it, knew the owner quite well...he's a little OCD, keeps his stuff squeaky clean, takes VERY good care of things. Well when it came up for sale I had no choice but to jump on it. In 5 years, some improvements to the neighborhood were made and the appraisals have significantly changed (increased) for everyone in the neighborhood. Many took advantage and moved; however I haven't. It's really perfect for me OTHER than I need to have a storm shelter installed since we live in tornado alley. Thats one of two complaints. The other, I have neighbors within a 1/4 mile radius.
 

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We built in 16. At the time, for what we were looking at, we could build for the same asking prices as to what we were looking at. Soooooo, why not just build what you want, if spending the same money? So anyway, took 8 months from ground break to move in. A TON of headaches along the way. Almost got everything the way we want it now, so we can start on the basement, which is unfinished. Biggest thing for us, was the builder. We kept asking him about overruns along the way, and he just kept telling us not to worry about it. Until we got hit with a huge bill once the keys were handed over. But whatever. It's done, we built what we wanted (my wife designed the house on graph paper, handed it to the builder and off they went)

At the end of the day, you get more value and move in right away buying from the market. If you're willing to wait, you can build what you want versus what someone else dreamed up. But you're going to pay for it.
 

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Buy, unless you have a huge bunch of money to cover cost overruns.

A bank will lend for the land. You have to do the homework to make sure the land can support a house, so you need to first pay a soil expert to say the land can be built on, pay someone else to grade. Then go to city hall and pull permits, then build, get inspections, build, have stuff go wrong, experience every conceivable frustration, and possibly have neighbors show up and try to stop you from building. I mean like they file stop orders with judges, and stuff like that.
If you can go off-grid, do so. Get plenty of solar panels and consider having a DC house.

Are you going to pen your own design or have an architect dream up something? What about landscaping?
You need to somehow find a good supervisor: someone who will drive the workers to maintain velocity and (more importantly) to make sure they're doing a good job.

Also consider buying a house that's a good starting point that you can build out later.
 

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Good point about building P63 and question to ask...would you be building on your own land ie you buy undeveloped land or are you building in a development that has lots already setup.

Building on some land you buy will be more challenging as you will need everything to be done like said above. If it is a development is it open to whatever builder you want or is it one where there is a specific builder for the development? If you build with a development that has a dedicated builder it wont be as much of a headache depending on how much customization you can do/choose.
 

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Building a house is a lot like building a car. Mistakes happen along the way that need to be fixed/re-done, and that's not something that adds to the value of the house, so its extra money spent that cannot be recouped.

In the end, you build only if:
1) you can't find anything you like from the existing stock
2) you can afford and don't mind paying extra to have it your way

Every housing market is unique, and it is true that in times of rapid price appreciation in a specific area, sometimes it is about the same to buy a lot and build yourself. But I think in most cases, buying an already built home will be the more cost effective.
 

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My wife and I considered building until we found it added close to 50% onto our target budget. We bought a house we both love for just a tiny bit more than our planned budget. Took a little longer to find, but we were the buyers in a buyers market in the middle of the great recession.

So I'm gonna vote "buy" unless it's cheaper due to your local available housing market conditions.
 

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im a real estate investor and im in need of buying another house but with the market the way it is right now its a horrible time to build or buy. On a side note it is an excellent time to sell if you can.
 

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im a real estate investor and im in need of buying another house but with the market the way it is right now its a horrible time to build or buy. On a side note it is an excellent time to sell if you can.
And, you're a hell of a good tooner to boot. I still need to get with you and get my car ironed out one of these days. Drove it twice last year. Rained basically every day all summer. Crazy. Now I'm swapping some goodies into my T5 build. Always something.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well we found a home that backs up to the roanoke river. Decent land for the kids to play on and for me a workshop/barn. Nice spot for fishing in the backyard as well. So no building this time.
 

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My wife and I found what we could pay cash for. It would be nice if it had a big garage, one more bedroom, and one more bathroom. No mortgage payment Trumps all the wants.
 

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I'm always cuious when a person says "build" or "buy" - this means something very different to me as a developer.

When you say "build" does this mean visit a show home and pick a lot with builder, chose a floor plan, and pick finishes from a board?

Or does build mean you have a lot or similar to build and contract your own trades or even perform the work yourself?

As for buy - I'm always on the fence, the majority of the time I end up replacing the majority of the guts, finished and make changes to suit my needs - then I end up selling because I've found something that's a better fit - once I do the work to the house that I already did to the last one.
 

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Do your home work. Buying is the easy way if you can find what you want. Ask yourself is this the only home you plan on buying? Or just the one to get you by until you retire. Buying that suits your needs til you retire can cost you less if you have time to look around for the right deal. You should make some money when you sell.


If you build a new. I suggest you hire a contractor. Some peop;e try to be the general and sub it all out. You will spend way more money and yours subs will never show up on time. And you have to deal with all the B.S. and permits. If you hire a general contractor that has an architect you can sit down and discuss all the details. Some have land to purchase or can look at the property you want to purchase to see if it will work. A reputable contractor/architect will have model and floor plan to look at or can work with you on yours. They should have a well rounded interior and exterior finish portfolio to choose from.


Always ask about whats behind the structure. A house built where high water levels are common need sump pumps and may not qualify for flood insurance. High wind areas need better roofs. I prefer metal roofs. Cheap right to the code plumbing and electrical systems will work. But the light may dim when the dryer starts or you may not get the best faucets. Do your home work here no matter what you buy new/used.


Last put your realtor or contractor on contract. For your realtor make sure they know what you want. No known water damage, no high sloped driveways, how many levels, no by levels, and so on. Make a list of demands. Build your own contract and have them sign it. They will want you to sign one for a length of time. This way if they wast your time you can void their contract.

For the contractor have a contract drawn up by your own attorney. This will cover your A$$. After you and your contractor agree on a design and finish date both of you should sign each other contract. Have your attorney read theirs.
 

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That's all wonderful, but everything is "in the moment" when it comes to realtors, inspections and general contractors/builders.

The contracts are based around "the best of knowledge" and are not iron clad. Often inspections don't even maintain a guarantee.

If you want to actually protect yourself, talk to the governing bodies that enforce actions on new home warranty. Also do yourself a favour - make sure you have the following items checked off befor you short lists and the decide on a contractor:

1. Is the contractor licensed for work in your area? How long?
2. Is the contractor insured?
3. Ask for a certificate of insurance copy, ensure the work covered is within insurability
4. Ask for at least 3 references with similar scope builds, have a discussion with all on what the liked, what they didn't, and budget vs. Final costs
5. Ask the timeline of when a contractor can start a project - next week might be a bad answer
6. Make sure you you can go through a design/build process with final stipulated price
7. I could go on, if you really want more details on build/buy and what should consider - pm me and I'd be happy to talk.
 

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In addition to Top Heavy's comments:
1. Keep a cash reserve. The project will go overbudget.
2. Never let a contractor talk down to you. If he doesn't respect you, then he will give you his least-capable workers, use the most expensive materials and charge you 24% markup, and buy too much of the material and keep the overage, etc.
3. Include in the contract that you will have the work professionally inspected and that the inspector's findings must be corrected. This will cost you hundreds, but is cheap insurance. Maybe even have the inspector review the contractor's proposal before you sign it.
 
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