4 Advantages To Building A House

We lived in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom starter home for nearly eight years, but we felt like we needed more space to support our growing family.  We looked at the houses for sale on MLS and checked out the show homes that were being built in new subdivisions.  In the end, we decided that building a house was a better option for us than buying an existing home.

Here are 4 advantages to building a house:

Customized.  With the resale housing market, buyers visit dozens of listings to try and find the perfect house.  Building a house gives buyers the ability to customize their home to suit their needs.  It was easy to see what we could add when we were using project management software for construction for our house. We added features like custom counter-tops and upgraded flooring for an extra few thousand dollars.  We also knocked $5,000 off the price by removing a feature wall from the plans.  As a bonus, we got to pick out our lot in the new subdivision.

Affordable.  We heard horror stories of buyers going way over budget with a new house, but our builder quoted us a base price and we worked with their team to stick to our budget.  There were a few existing houses on the market that met our needs, but because of their location they were expensive compared to building a house from scratch.  An older home would also require extensive renovations to suit our tastes, and who knows what we might find behind the walls.

Energy Efficient.  A new house gives you the latest in energy saving appliances and building code standards.  Our new house is twice the size of our old one, yet our utility bills are 10 per cent less than before.  The energy and environmentally efficient features included; high efficiency direct vented furnace, high efficiency power vented hot water tank, double pane low E windows, insulated overhead garage door, and energy efficient spacing on all framing.  Our house also came with seven brand-new ENERGY STAR appliances.

Protected.  When building a house in Alberta, you are protected by the new home warranty program which offers deposit protection, builder performance protection, structural integrity and first year warranty protection to home buyers as well as mediation, conciliation and arbitration procedures.

Disadvantages to Building a House

There are some drawbacks to building a house.  Most subdivisions are located on the outskirts of the city, leaving you with a long commute to work, and a good distance away from schools and grocery stores.

New developments will likely be under construction for a few years, which can be a nuisance.  Many people have also experienced issues with their builder, with the project exceeding budget or taking longer than promised to complete.

Building a house was an enjoyable process for us, aside from a few minor issues along the way.  We took possession of our new house nearly six months ago and couldn’t be happier with our decision.

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  1. Marianne on February 6, 2012 at 9:49 am

    We hope to build our dreamhouse on some land eventually for many of the reasons that you stated. We’ve renovated our current house but it still isn’t exactly what we want and it’s not worth it to sink the kind of money necessary to make it exactly what we want/need. We’ll probably move a couple of times and try to make money on each house until we can afford to build a house that’s exactly us!

    • Echo on February 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm

      @Marianne – home renovations can be expensive, and so can moving every few years. We opted to build a bigger house that we can grow into and hopefully stay in for 20+ years.

  2. krantcents on February 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I always wanted a custome built house, so I could have some of the amenities that I have seen at other homes. Maybe someday!

  3. NAGA on February 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Better option – which we decided on – buy an old place in a location close to amneties and public transporation. Knock it down and build your dream home.

    Key is to do your homework: Plans, permits and get multiple quotes either from general contractors or individual trades. In our case we project managed ourselves and saved significantly plus we got what we wanted.

    • Echo on February 6, 2012 at 11:15 pm

      @NAGA – We considered that option, but we live in a small city and it wasn’t really necessary. Our subdivision is only 10 minutes form downtown, and about 6 minutes from my office.

      Great advice for a building a house in a big city though. Thanks!

  4. Kanwal Sarai @ Simply Investing on February 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    We built our house a few years ago and couldn’t be happier. For us the advantages outweighed the disadvantages.

  5. Jeremy @ Personal Finance Whiz on February 6, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    We’ve always talked about building our dream home some day, but I’ve heard so many horror stories from friends that it scares me. It’s good to hear from someone that had a good experience.

    • Kev on March 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      Jeremy, we general contracted our house last year but hired a consultant to hold our hand through the parts that I wasn’t familiar with (everything up to painting/flooring) and it was a great experience. In fact, we saved so much and I enjoyed it so much we’re going to sell and build again. Having a consultant with contractors/trades that they work with regularly was the key. His consultant fee was a fraction of what a builder would’ve charged and everything was custom to what we wanted the whole way.

  6. My University Money on February 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    We plan to eventually build our own house as well. I’m a fairly simple guy that could be happy almost anywhere, but my fiancée really loves the idea of one day designing exactly what we want. As long as we don’t have to go much into debt in order to do it, I’m all for it!

    • Echo on February 6, 2012 at 11:17 pm

      @MUM – Sounds pretty familiar. Good luck 😉

  7. VanLarry on February 7, 2012 at 4:32 am

    My parents house was built during my teenager years, 90’s. I remember much of it.

    One of the things my father did after we’ve settle in was to throw some insulation wraps for the pipes and hot water tank.

    Lesson learned: even though it’s rated to be energy efficient, you can still improve upon it. And these insulation you get at the hardware store is cheap. A good thick curtain for the windows to keep the heat in during the winter time and to block the sunlight during the summer.

    And the easiest of all: a light off 0A, 0V is better then energy efficient lighting.

  8. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter on February 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

    We have talked about building a house some day but right now we like where we are. We are in a prime location with lots of parks and schools for kids and we have a short commute. What we have been talking about is putting on an addition for when we get tight on space.

  9. Karan Batra on February 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    The biggest advantage of building our own house is that it is customised. Very few people have a customised home and home designed to suit our own personal needs is something which everyone desires but very few are able to achieve

  10. Mark Shea on February 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I want to save as much money as possible with our home purchase.

    Firstly, my emphasis is on land. I prefer rural and forested areas where there is peace, quiet and privacy. I can do things with land but once a house is built there is little you can do to change it.

    Secondly, I prefer small to large and am working on convincing my wife of the merits of smaller homes.

    Thirdly, although I have little experience, I wish to build smaller, separate structures on my land in order to provide more enclosed areas without resorting to an immense McMansion to satisfy my needs.

    I have about 30,000 saved in cash and will be my first home. Any tips or suggestions out there?


  11. P.R. Lancaster on July 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    The cool thing about building your own home is that you get to be involved in every detail of the planning process. Make sure you go with a builder that offers premium materials and products. I think with the market on the upswing, we’ll see more folks getting back to building their own homes.

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