Is it better to buy or build a house? If this is your first time looking for a property of your own, this question probably already crossed your mind, right? We know this may seem a bit overwhelming at first, especially when you have just started your research, but don’t worry: we’ve got you covered!
In this blog post, we will go through the pros and cons of buying vs building a house to help you get informed and decide which option is better for you and your family right now.
Buy or build a house, which one should you go for?
There is actually no right or wrong answer here. The choice depends on what fits better in your financial life, available time frame, needs and wants. But of course, there are pros and cons on each side, so let’s dig a bit deeper on that:
Pros and cons of buying a house in Australia
Buying an existing property is a much faster process than building a brand new home for obvious reasons: you don’t need to find the land, design the whole project, hire a builder, plan every single material to be used in the construction and so on.
As the house already exists, the timeframe will vary from 30 – 90 days after signing the contract of sale.
There are more options in established neighbourhoods
Existing properties are generally located in more established neighbourhoods closer to facilities such as schools, shops, cafés and public transport structures. If you consider living closer to the city centre, you will also find many more options of established houses to choose from, once most of the land to build is already taken.
Besides location, another point to consider is the landscaping. The majority of established houses already have a garden, sometimes even trees, so you don’t need to wait for the lawn to grow or have to plant everything from scratch.
Difficult to judge if it will require any specific maintenance
When buying existing houses (especially those built years ago) there is always a risk when it comes to identifying unexpected issues, not only major structural problems but also minor ones that can cause some trouble down the road.
Although we always recommend doing pest and building inspections before making any purchase decision, it is important to keep in mind that older houses are more likely to require maintenance and frequent repairs.
You might spend additional money to renovate or repair
In some cases, even after the inspections, it is still worth it to go ahead with the deal and get the issues fixed before moving in. Still, it is essential to consider the costs involved and the time allocated and the stress potentially caused for that.
The same goes for renovations to be made in the house: maybe you decide to update the kitchen design a little bit, you want to renovate the bathroom to make it more modern, or even adapt something to your family needs. All of this is very common, but again: it is crucial to have in mind that you will spend additional money on top of what you were expecting.
Choices are limited
Building your own house gives you all the possibilities to design something exactly how you have always dreamt of, whereas buying an existing one is a bit more limited.
You will have to match the type of the property with the size, location, price and design that best suits you and your family, and this is not always an easy job.
Pros and cons of building a house in Australia
You can design what is perfect for your family
When you build your own house, you have the flexibility to design it exactly the way you want it to be. You can choose the number of rooms, bathroom, the layout of the kitchen, the type of plant in your garden or whatever it takes to suit your family needs.
However, at the same time that planning everything from scratch is a positive aspect, it can also be a very demanding one, as every single detail requires attention: carpets, doors, colours, textures, materials and so on.
Newer homes require less maintenance
Brand new houses naturally take longer to require maintenance, which might save you some money, time and stress for the first years living in that property.
The whole process will take longer
Building a house from scratch is a time and energy-consuming process. That is a big project that needs every stage to be managed, from finding the land, choosing a home design, hiring a builder, and monitoring the whole build.
Another aspect to take into consideration timewise are the potential delays caused in the building process. This is not a surprising situation that can happen due to bad weather, council approvals, or other unexpected reasons.
It can be more expensive
It is important to have in mind that while you are building a house to live in, you’ve got to be living somewhere else, and in many cases, you will need to keep paying rent during this period.
So the tip here is to organize your financial life to make sure this situation is possible.
There might be extra costs associated
Ensure you plan all the costs associated with the construction (not only the ones included in the builder contract). If not very well planned, some little hidden costs will make you spend a lot more money than expected, such as registration, flooring, landscaping, and driveways.
Government Grants and concessions available
As we have detailed in this previous blog post, the Australian government offers some grants, concessions and schemes to encourage first home buyers or builders. Here are the benefits currently available:
First Time Home Owners Grant (FHOG)
This is a national scheme that reduces the impact of the GST on home prices and helps you increase your deposit, which may improve your eligibility for a home loan. The FHOG is available for those who buy or build a new house for the first time and living there for at least six months.
First Home Super Saver Scheme
The FHSS scheme allows permanent residents and Australian Citizens to save up to $30,000 to buy their first house in extra voluntary contributions to their superannuation fund. This incentive is valid for the whole country.
Stamp duty concessions
It applies to first home buyers purchasing new or existing homes. It allows them to access up to a full tax concession, depending on the property’s price and the state or territory they are buying at.
First home loan deposit scheme
Under the FHLDS the Government guarantees 15% to the lender and allows eligible first home buyers or builders to purchase new properties with only a 5% deposit without paying the lender mortgage insurance (LMI). However, it is important to mention that this benefit has only 10,000 places available per financial year.
If you are planning to take the next step towards a property of your own, we are here to help you in this journey, no matter if you choose to buy or build a house. Please get in touch with us today and let us guide you to the door of your dream property.