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Cost of building vs buying a home in 2019: Which is cheaper (with pros and cons)

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


February 14, 2019 - Karl Yeh

So, if you're going to buy a new home, it's actually going to be what the builder says it is that cost, based on the land price, and based on the home price alone. Whereas, if you're buying a resale home, it's what the actual seller wants to sell it to you for.

Does it cost more to build or buy a house? What are the costs you need to know of each? In this episode, we discuss the pros and cons of building and buying a home. We also explore if building a house costs more and how long it normally takes to build a home. 

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Hi everyone, Karl here, and welcome to another Homebuyers School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics, and tips from home buying experts. And remember, if this is your first time on this channel, and want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below, hit the little notification bell, so you don't miss anything.

So, today, I'm joined by Jessica McNabb, Area Manager with Brookfield Residential. And today we're going to talk about

Building versus buying a home in 2019

So, Jessica, I think, how we want to answer this question is, can we look at the pros and cons of building, the pros and cons of buying. Then maybe have a discussion about that?

Jessica McNabb:         For sure.

Karl Yeh:                      

So, let's go. Let's start with pros and cons of building a home. So, let's start with the pros.

Pros and cons of building a house

Jessica McNabb:          

For sure.


So, the pros [00:01:00] of building your own home is, you get to go through with your area manager, sales rep, and

it becomes your future home.


The cons, maybe, are you might need to get into a home right away. So, you don't have the time to actually wait.

And another con might be that you have to finish your landscaping on your own, or your decking on your own in the future.

So, there could be a lot of costs associated after the fact, but you can also have that included [00:01:30] with the builder.

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Karl Yeh:                      


Why would you have to finish your deck or landscaping on your own, if you're building on home?

Jessica McNabb:          

So, it could be a preference.

Sometimes with the builder you are looking to build your own home, and you've got your budget in mind.

Let's say it's 300,000, and you want to pick all your fixtures, and the interior upgrades are more important, there may not be enough in your budget to come up with the costs after the fact for your deck and landscaping.

So, you might want to do it in the future or when its spring or summer you might be able to get the Landscaping at a cheaper, discounted rate from the supplier.

Is it more expensive to build than buy a home?

Karl Yeh:                      

Now, is [00:02:00] it more expensive to build a home? Like that would be one conception, right? Is it a misconception or is it true that it would be actually more expensive to build than to buy?

Jessica McNabb:          

That is actually a good question. It's a big misconception.

So, if you are thinking to buy a home, you're thinking "Do I buy resale or do I buy new?"

So, if you're going to buy a new home, it's actually going to be what the builder says it is that cost, based on the land price, and based on the home price alone.

Whereas, if you're buying a resale home, it's what the actual seller wants to sell it [00:02:30] to you for.

So, they could have it listed at 350. You could have the same home that is new, listed at 350, but if multiple offers come in on the resale home, you might end up paying more.

Karl Yeh:                      

If you want to know more about the home construction process, watch our video above, in the description below.

Pros and cons of buying a home (instead of building)


So, Jessica, let's look at buying a home. What are the pros and cons of buying a home versus building?

Jessica McNabb[00:03:00] :          

So, the pros of buying a home is maybe you're looking for a quick possession. So, if you're looking ... you have a lease that's expiring, you're renting and now you're going to be just be buying a resale home, that home will be finished for you, and you can take possession of it within 30 days.

And perhaps all of the landscaping and decking will be completed for you in the fencing.

So, that could be a pro of that. Then did you say asked for a con?

Karl Yeh:                       Yeah.

Jessica McNabb:           Of buying.


So, you might not have everything in the home completed to your liking.

So, maybe the cabinet color isn't to your liking or the flooring color.

So, it could just be a matter of the upgrades inside the home.

Karl Yeh:                      

How long does it normally take to actually build a home?

Jessica McNabb:          

Mm-hmm (affirmative) That's a good question. [00:03:30]

So, on average, it can run you four to six months to actually build the home.

So, what we would actually quote somebody is going to be 6 to 8 months.

This is, because there's building permits that we have to obtain.

Sometimes there are spec homes that we already have in the process, that have their building permits. So, it might not take as long, but generally speaking, it can take three to four months to build the house or six to eight months.

Karl Yeh:                      

How come you need to get a permit before building a home?

Jessica McNabb:          

So, the city actually has to approve of what's going on that piece of land, before we can go ahead with the building.

Karl Yeh:                      

Oh, [00:04:00] Okay. So, that ... so, for example, I guess, the builder doesn't have the permit to build just any type of home, before the home is actually built, right?

So, they just ... is it just, because they own the land, then they have to apply, and how long does that permit process take?

Jessica McNabb:          

So, typically communities have certain zones.

There will be different zoning regulations for each of these communities.

So, some zonings mean that you need to have a single-family home on that lot, and you need to have it have a certain architectural finish. So, we have to apply for a building permit.

It can take one to three months [00:04:30] to await for this permit to come back.

Karl Yeh:                       Is that part of the whole timeline of building a home?

Jessica McNabb:           It could be.

Karl Yeh:                      

So, that three months could be added to ... So, is it like three months on top of the nine months or is it three months included into the nine months?

Jessica McNabb:          

So, usually when people are coming in to visit us, and they're looking at how long is it going to take to build? We will quote in that permitting timeline. Okay, just to give an accurate timeline for moving.

Karl Yeh:                      

So, do you have anything else to add, in terms of, building versus buying a home in 2019?

Jessica McNabb:          

No, I think that's [00:05:00] everything.

Karl Yeh:                      

So, the question of the day I have for you is:

Did you build or buy your home? Why? And how was the experience?

And remember if you enjoyed this video or found it helpful, hit the thumbs up button, remember to comment, and make sure to subscribe. Thank you and we'll catch you next time.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

Homebuyer's School publishes new content weekly so subscribe or check back regularly for the latest information, strategies and tips from homebuying experts. 

About Jessica McNabb:

University of Alberta: Bachelor of Science in Registered Nursing 2011 McConnell Place North Alzheimers Care Centre 3 Years - Client Care Leader Brookfield Residential 6 Years - Area Sales Manager Sold over 200 Homes

While a career in Nursing was extremely fulfilling, I also wanted to explore a career in home sales. After 6 years of being in the New Home Sales Industry, I still feel the same sense of fulfillment through taking clients from start to finish building their home.

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