Building vs. buying a house in DC area

If you are torn between building the house of your dreams and trying to find it on the market, it’s smart to know more about both options. So, we’ve put together a guide on building vs. buying a house in DC area.

The pros and cons of building

The quality of the home

The first difference between building vs. buying a house in DC area is, of course, the ability to ensure the home is of good quality. And we mean this in a thorough sense of the words. After all, even if a bought home looks nice, it may have been built out of inferior materials. This makes it much more likely that things will break down and you are forced to look into home renovation. Since you’ve likely spent a lot of money on getting the home already, this is the last thing you want to do. On the other hand, a personally built home only contains what you want it to. Premium materials might be expensive, but they ensure your home lasts.

A fresh build lets you know everything that went into your home.

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The customization options

The second difference between building vs. buying a house in DC area is the ability to customize. When you are house hunting, you are looking for a home that fits you. It’s not always possible to find one. On the other hand, you can fully customize a home you are building from scratch to suit the needs of your family. Do you need an open floor plan on the bottom floor, and lots of smaller rooms on the second? Easily included. Do you want skylights included in the home’s design? Again possible, and it’s not something you see in a lot of homes for sale in DC. As the storage experts from point out, you can even have additional storage space, which means you don’t have to worry about renting it out! Your imagination and your finances are the only limits.


Make your own perfect floor plan!

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The waiting game

While building has a lot of advantages, the speed at which you’ll be able to move to a new home is not one. Building projects take time, especially if you want to make sure they are completed to your specifications. As such, you can expect a serious delay between committing to a build and actually moving. This will force you to either stay in your current home, or look for a place to rent. Either option has its own difficulties, especially the latter. Being unable to sell your current home also means you might struggle with financing the build in the first place. 

The expenses

Speaking of financing, let’s be upfront: building a home is, in the end, more expensive. Even if we set aside the fact that you’d likely have to rent a place and waste money that way, the base cost of building a house is not cheap. You would also have to purchase the actual land the home will be located on, which is something a lot of people tend to overlook when planning. Yes, homes in DC are more expensive than they typically are in many other states. However, dealing with that single expense is frequently easier than it is to finance a new home. Especially since it sometimes happens that the final costs of building a house are higher than you’d anticipated.

The pros and cons of buying

A sense of security

The first of the differences between building vs. buying a house in DC area in favor of buying is the fact that you know exactly what you are paying for. You see, while you might think you have a clear image of what sort of home you want to build, this doesn’t mean it will match up to your expectations. Builders make mistakes. Some of the aspects of your ‘ideal home’ only look good on paper. And you can’t be sure your situation and preferences won’t change while you are waiting for the build to finish. All of this means it might be better to just find a home that suits you and move in right away. Rather than risk your finances on a potential disappointment.

More diverse funding options

The second thing in favor of buying you should keep in mind is that getting the funds you need is easier, too. There’s a ton of different financing options you could pursue. Most of them are, of course, loans. But this doesn’t go against the fact that it’s still more manageable to get a loan or a mortgage for buying a home than it ever will be to fund a building project. Banks and other institutions have set packages and protocols for giving out home purchase loans. The subject of getting the same for a new build is a little more complicated. And it requires immediately getting a home assessment and mortgage once the home is complete at the very least.

Lack of thorough knowledge about the property

Of course, the first disadvantage of buying is that you might not be as aware of the home’s traits as you think. To be brutally honest, some home sellers in DC try to cover up the flaws of their property. They try to hide problems that would drive down their house’s price. Typically, you can get around this with a home inspection. But even those are not foolproof. Besides, even the home’s owners are not always aware of all the problems with it. This is why thoroughly checking the house once more is part of many checklists for moving into a new home.

Having to settle

The final difference between building vs. buying a house in DC area that doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the latter is the house selection process. You see, while DC has a decent number of homes on the market, it’s not always possible to pick out one which you like. This means you might be forced to make a lot of compromises. Now, it’s possible to learn about home renovation and plan out the perfect way to mend some of these problems you dislike. But that still means you have to pay extra on top of the home’s base price. 

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Deciding on building vs. buying a house in DC area

In the end, the decision between building vs. buying a house in DC area comes down to your preferences. If you think you can take the cost and are willing to wait, then building is a pretty great option. On the other hand, while it isn’t too common, it’s also possible that you’ll find your ‘dream’ home on the market. So, it might be smart to look at what’s for sale before committing to either option.

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