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To buy or build? What to consider when looking for a new home

By Andrew Bell

There are a lot of things you have to consider when you are in the market to buy a home, and one that you might not always initially think of is whether you should purchase an existing house, or buy land and build from scratch.

As with so many things in the real estate game, there are pluses and minuses to either option, and there's no one answer as to what makes sense for you. As such, you should read on to learn more about the considerations that go into such a decision:

What does it cost?

Just like if you are buying a new car versus a pre-owned model with many miles on it, you have to keep in mind that the latter is often more affordable than the former. Savings.com.au recently conducted a study revealing that the average cost to buy a piece of land and then build a new home on it was more than $714,000. Some parts of the country saw price tags well above that number.

Conversely, the average price of buying a pre-existing home somewhere in Australia is a little under $625,000, a savings of roughly $89,000.

In and around Brisbane, specifically, the cost of building was higher than the national average, at almost $753,600. Meanwhile, the cost of buying was actually far lower than the average, coming in at just under $518,600. This is something that should certainly inform your decision.

What do you need?

The most obvious benefit of building a house from scratch is that you can design it to have pretty much anything you want and nothing you don't, according to Domain. On the other hand, with an existing home, you are somewhat restricted in what you may be able to do, even with a large-scale renovation. Also, any changes you make after purchase will obviously come with costs above and beyond that price.

Simply put, if you can dream it and you have the budget for it, builders can do it. If your needs are particularly unique — for instance, if there is a disabled member of your household, or you need a work-from-home space separate from the living area — the added cost might negate the benefits of buying an existing home.

In addition, it's worth noting that buying an undeveloped piece of property today is quite a bit different than it used to be, largely because (generally speaking) parcels of land are getting smaller. If you want a bigger yard, you might have to go with an existing home.

What goes on inside?

Finally, it's worth remembering that older homes may have wiring, plumbing, heating and so on that need maintenance or even replacement, SBS noted. And of course, newly built homes will have entirely new setups that won't require that kind of attention for some time. This, too, is something that just requires a bit of calculation and thought: Would you rather pay more to avoid the headache for many years to come, or does the potential cost of repairing or replacing older systems make the expense not worth it?

Whenever you are thinking about buying a home, or just a piece of land on which to build the house of your dreams, it's critical to work with an expert. At Ray White Surfers Paradise, we've helped countless of buyers find the right home at a price that works for them, and we would love to do the same for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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