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In deciding whether to buy or build your next home, there are no easy answers. Since several factors must be considered, the answer will be different in each case.

The Upfront Bottom Line

The best way to consider this factor is by looking at average costs, though these numbers may be higher or lower in your area. It will depend on your local housing market. That said, the average purchase price for a 1,500 square-foot single-family home is about $223,000. That comes out to approximately $148 per square foot.

Meanwhile, the upfront costs associated with building a new home are estimated at $289,415. While that’s $66,415 more than the average home sale price, you’re likely getting more for the money. Most new constructions are more spacious than older homes and the average space in a new home is about 2,467 square feet, which equates to $103 per square foot. So, while you are paying more, you’re also getting more.

Maintenance and Landscaping

When it comes to maintenance, you shouldn’t have any problems with a new construction. While problems may arise, once you take up occupancy, they should be covered by the contractor’s warranty. Conversely, an older home, especially one built before 1960, is almost certainly going to have its share of problems. These you will be responsible for paying on your own and, while the home inspection may have identified some potential problems, that’s not to say there won’t be unexpected issues with the home.

Where you save on maintenance with your newly constructed home, you may have to spend on landscaping. It can take years and thousands of dollars to get the look you want for the exterior of your new home. On the other hand, the purchased home will likely have a well-manicured lawn, trimmed foliage, and even repaired walkways. This is because realtors urge homeowners to spruce up the exterior of their home to attract buyers. So, again, this comes down to a trade-off and choosing which expense you’d rather face.

All in all, making this determination is a matter of personal preference. While some expenses may be spared by building your home, others may arise that will cost you just as much money. The same may be true of buying instead of building. The smartest thing you can do for yourself is to research each option with specifics from your area. Talk to realtors about the market value and contractors about building costs. In the end, you may have to go with your own best instincts.