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  • 10 Feb 2016


Sometimes knowing what to do for the best can be hard. You might be torn between buying a house, or building a house. If you build, does that mean doing it yourself, or buying off the plan? And if you buy, do you buy old or near-new? Your decision depends on a few different factors, including budget, needs, location and timescale.


Building a new home

For some people, buying off the plan has many advantages. Prices can be lower, and you can pick and choose from what’s available to get exactly what you want.

Developers are usually keen to sell fast, so they can meet their construction costs. And that's why it's possible to snap up a good deal.  Depending on the state you live in you’ll be able to take advantage of stamp duty reductions and government grants.

Often, if you’re buying pre-construction, you’ll also get a say in the final stages and be able to personalise your home. And remember, new houses come with warranties and are often constructed to be more energy efficient.


Buying an established home

The most common complaint about new homes is that they can lack character, and look exactly the same as their neighbours. If it's an estate, you may have to put up with construction noise for quite some time, as well as unfinished gardens and amenities, muddy roads and so on.

With an established home, you know exactly what you’re getting, because you've seen it, and you can arrange building and pest inspections.

You are also likely to be moving into an established neighbourhood, so there will be better lifestyle amenities, such as cafes, shops and transport. And very often, you're getting a lot more bang for your buck, because it's an older house.

However, there are still some disadvantages. For example, it will cost more to change things you don't like about the property - and you may need planning permission.


Buying a near-new home

If you choose a near-new home you could say you're getting the best of both the above choices! The building will be modern and probably more energy efficient, but you won't need to put up with months of construction work.

And if it has already had an owner, the house will most probably have better established gardens than a brand new home would.

However, you might still have the issue of it looking just like its neighbours so, if that isn't your thing, if you celebrate individuality, this won't be the option for you.


Building your home

An increasing number of people are choosing to build their own home. And when I say build, I mean just that! They are not buying off the plan, they are hiring architects - or even designing it themselves - and building it, either alone or with builders.

It's no wonder TV shows like Grand Designs are so popular, as designing and building your own home has to be one of the most rewarding and creative things you can do. It's also one of the most frustrating, however well prepared you are!

Building a house is a huge undertaking, and isn't just a matter of buying a block of land and sticking something on there! There are regulations and rules affecting just about every aspect of building, increasingly so now that we are more aware of our impact on the environment.

But there are also a wide range of options available.

If you're not using an architect, another relatively easy option is to buy kit homes or modular homes. Is there a difference? Yes, there is. Modular homes are just like regular houses when it comes to materials and construction - but they are built off-site in a factory, and then transported to the site and connected to services.


Modular and kit homes

Kit homes have the same basic parts and are transported to the site for the owner or a builder to construct, but they require a lot more work to get them to turn key stage.

Both modular and kit homes have improved beyond expectations over recent years and both offer some amazing designs these days.

A few brave folk choose to build a home from scratch, sourcing their own materials - often recycled - and often making it up as they go along! Just as with the other designs, there is still a need for permits and permissions, so be sure to check these out.

If you are going to build your own home, do your homework first. Use the internet to trawl through different designs and models, work out your budget, talk to your local council and, if you require a home loan, talk to somebody early about that.

Different mortgage providers have different rules when it comes to building and you don't want to be left high and dry with a half built house!