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Building a home vs buying.

Build or Buy... Which is best for you?

If you’re looking to purchase your own home you may be wondering whether it’s best to build or buy. From differences in pricing to customisation and availability, weighing up the pros and cons between buying and building is crucial if you want to end up with a home you’ll love. Read on to discover the main differences between building a home and buying an existing home and what might be best for you.

Market availability

An often overlooked aspect of selecting a new home is simply what’s available. Start by making a list of all your must-haves. How many rooms do you want? Do you need an extra bathroom? What area of town do you want to live in? It’s a good idea to separate your list into non-negotiables and ­would-be-nice – if you need a minimum of 4 bedrooms, that might be a non-negotiable, whereas the bay windows or the bar might be would-be-nices.

Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, have a browse through real estate sites such as Domain or to see what’s available in your area, both in terms of existing homes, vacant land, and house and land packages. This will give you a good idea of what sorts of houses you may be able to select, as well as their price points. Remember that some builders will offer house and land packages, while others require you to purchase your own land first. Ensuring there is land available in your area is crucial if you’re wanting to build.

Buying vs building timeframes

Another important aspect to weigh up is the time it takes to build a house in comparison to buying. In both cases, there is a process of looking for and selecting the home, making an offer or receiving a tender, meeting with solicitors and builders/real estates, and finally signing the paperwork. Once all the initial negotiations have taken place, there’s a big time difference between buying and building a home – do you want to wait for it to be built, or move in straight away?

There are pros and cons for both options when it comes to timeframes. On the one hand, buying a home will almost always be quicker than building. However, if you truly want a custom home, it’s well worth the wait to build. There’s also a lot of misconceptions around build time frames. Depending on a number of factors, your home could take anywhere from 4-12 months to build. If it’s settling for something that doesn’t quite tick all the boxes, or waiting a few extra months for the perfect house, building could be the way to go.

Customisation of your home

One of the big differences between building a home or buying a home is customisation. If you’re looking to buy, the good thing is that you know exactly what you’re getting. Chances are you’ll look through a house multiple times before you decide to purchase, giving you ample opportunity to visualise how you will use the space, and knowing in advance any issues or areas of concern. Of course, the downside to this is that you can’t ask the owner to make any changes before you move in. If, for example, you want to change the paint colour, add a deck, or it’s a bit of a ‘fixer upper’, you’ll need to do all of this after you purchase your home – and live with it in the meantime.

On the other hand, when you build a home you can usually customise it to your exact wishes. Most Bundaberg builders will offer a base level of customisation where you can choose paint colours, tile choices etc. While further customisations may incur additional charges, it can be worth it if you know exactly what you want, and you don’t want to wait for it. Like all things when deciding on your home, it’s a good idea to see what options are available and compare price points.


Speaking of pricing, there’ definitely financial differences between building a home and buying. Much like customisations, when it comes to financing an existing home, what you see is what you get. While there may be some negotiation on the price, you’ll know upfront what costs are in store, and can therefore budget effectively.

When building a home, unfortunately there can be hidden costs involved that you may not consider when first given a base price.  Make sure you are aware of your inclusions as some things may not be included in your build such as landscaping, fencing and paving.  However, in some cases the overall cost of a build has been known to be lower than buying an existing home. If you’re building for the first time, you may also be eligible for a First Home Owner Grant and other government concessions, all of which make a big difference in the money you need upfront to build.

Quality Control and Durability

While we’d all love to live in a home that stays brand new forever, you’re sure to have some wear and tear on your home over time. Often when foundations shift cracks can begin to appear in your walls, particularly in stress areas such cornices and room edges. You’ll also get some wear on carpet and wooden flooring due to use, and will probably have to touch up the paint every 10-15 years.

If you’re looking to buy a home, it can be useful to have an expert assess the house prior to purchase so that they can let you know if there’s any major structural issues or small maintenance tasks you may need to consider. Depending on the age of the house you’ll also want to check for asbestos and wood rot which can arise from water and other damages.

When building your home, the great thing is that it’s brand new! All Bundaberg builders should have quality control processes in place to ensure your home is built to the highest standards, and will also offer a maintenance period of at least 6 months to cover any minor non-structural issues that arise. New homes shouldn’t require any major maintenance until at least 2 years after being built, however it’s important that you trust your builder’s work to ensure your house is durable.

While there are many factors to consider when deciding whether to buy or build a home, a custom-built home could be the perfect choice for you.

Contact us today to discuss your dream home and learn how we can turn your dreams into reality.

About the author

CRJ Designer Homes

CRJ Designer Homes

CRJ Designer Homes is a locally owned, family operated building company. Since being established in 2006, Michael and his wife Gillian have made it their goal to build quality homes at exceptional prices, with inclusions that most would consider as an extra!

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