Investing in a home is considered one of the best investments one can ever make. This is because even if you choose not to live there, you can still earn rental income and when you pass on, the house can be given to your children or relatives. There is a debate, however, whether it is better to buy a house or to build one from scratch. It is fair to point out that each has its own advantages and disadvantages which we explore in detail below.
Advantages of buying
The major advantage of buying a home is convenience. If you are looking for a property to move into quickly, buying is your best bet. This is because the process of buying a home can take only a month in Zimbabwe. On the other hand, the building will take you over six months even if you have all the resources at hand. If you are relocating for a new job or prefer to stay in certain locations due to their proximity to work, schools and family, you are better off buying a home. Even if you are looking for a house close to town, you may find that there is no vacant land and the only option is to buy existing homes.
From a security point of view, it is less likely that an existing home in an established neighbourhood will be surrounded by vacant stands. There will be other houses, shops, perhaps even a police station. In addition, insurance premiums are likely to be cheaper in an established neighbourhood as compared to a new area. This is because the risk of theft is lower in established areas where you have next door neighbours and other amenities close by.
Another major perk of buying a home is its mature landscaping. The trees and flowers are likely to be large and well established as opposed to a new home. When you build, you need to start planting trees, lawns and flowers, some of which may take years to grow.
Disadvantages of buying
Unfortunately, buying a home is not always rosy. Firstly, the layout and finishes may not be in line with your personal taste. This means after buying a property, you may need to spend a lot of money on renovations as you try to convert the house to your preferences.
Secondly, the house may have certain defects, some of which you may only notice after moving in. This could cost you a lot as you try to repair the defects.
Thirdly, deteriorating properties in the vicinity may have an adverse effect on the value of your property. In the real estate world, location is everything, so even if your property looks perfect, the condition of your neighbourhood will have an effect on the value of your house. This will affect you in future when you want to sell your house. It may also give you a low bank valuation when you need one.
Advantages of building
When you build your own home, this is done according to your liking. You choose the design, layout, finishes, carpets, tiles, bathrooms and all. A home is something of sentimental value and what better way to enjoy it than having it built just the way you want it.
Another advantage is that newly built houses usually require lower costs in maintenance as compared to older homes. Everything will be in good working conditions for years to come. If you buy a house, you are likely not to enjoy this as wear and tear may have already set it.
Also, a new home is likely to be surrounded by other new homes. This will certainly drive the property value upwards.
One other factor to consider is that new constructions almost always beat older homes in energy efficiency. This is because most houses nowadays are fitted with solar geysers and gas stoves. Older homes were mostly fitted with electrical geysers and stoves. Even general electrical fittings are more energy efficient nowadays than before.
Disadvantages of building
There are disadvantages associated with building your own home too. New developments and vacant stands are mainly on the outskirts of major towns and cities which may be a setback due to security and accessibility challenges.
In addition, future construction work by neighbours may add noise and pollution to your headaches. If you are among the first ones to build in that area, road works and other construction works will be constant noisy challenges to deal with.
Building your own house can also be time-consuming. People rarely start building a home when they have all the required building materials. They often buy as they go and this may delay the process. So, if you want to move in soon, building may not be a viable option.
The other problem is that stand sizes are generally smaller in the new residential areas as compared to established older areas. This is likely to limit your options if you want to build.
The choice of whether to build or buy depends on your circumstances. However, this does not take away the fact that owning a house is the best investment you can ever make. Do it wisely and you will be smiling all the way to the bank, the rest of your life.