We Americans love our choices and options. If you don’t believe me, take a walk down the cereal aisle in one of the Rochester-area supermarkets and look at all the different options you’ve got for breakfast cereal! The same thing is true when it comes to your housing needs. You have options for meeting your family’s needs. But should you build, buy or remodel? What’s the right choice for your Rochester home?
The answer, of course, will depend on what you’re looking for in a home. Your budget and the timing of your move will also be factors. Your specific needs will be different from those of others, so there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer to whether you should build, buy or remodel.
That's why it may be more helpful for you to compare some of the advantages and disadvantages of your various options. Here's a quick overview of some of the pluses and minuses of building a new home, buying an existing home, or remodeling your current Rochester home.
Building a New Custom Home
- Your home will be built to your exact specifications. You’ll be involved in the process from the ground up to ensure you get exactly what you want.
- You’ll start with a clean slate. That means you won’t have to work around existing structural constraints or styles in order to get what you really want.
- You get to put more of yourself into the way the home is built. Your home can reflect more of your personality.
- With a new custom built home, you'll have lower initial maintenance costs (because it's new) and down the road because of the quality of materials and craftsmanship.
- Custom built homes are more likely to use green building materials and technologies—resulting in lower utility bills and a decreased impact on the environment
- With a custom home, you can build in features such as higher ceilings and bring in more natural light.
- New custom homes offer the advantage of a basement that's dry from the beginning and remains dry because of the quality of construction.
- There is a cost differential. Custom homes tend to cost a bit more than tract homes (but bear in mind that you’re getting more as well, so you have to take overall value into consideration).
- You may face some delays before you can move in. If immediate occupancy is important this can be an issue and you may have to stay where you are longer—or find a temporary solution.
- Custom building is a lot more “hands-on.” You’ll face a lot more decisions about the design and finish of your home. That can consume a lot of time and mental energy.
- Building a custom home gives you lots of opportunities to make changes. If you have a hard time sticking with a (good) decision, the options can be a huge challenge. And if you’re not careful, the changes you request can severely delay construction and drive your costs up.
- If you have a job that might require you to move soon, building a custom home may not be the right choice right now. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it or shouldn’t, but the timing may not be right at the moment.
Buying a New or Existing Home
- Buying an existing home gives you the ability to move in more quickly. There’s no waiting for construction to be completed—your home is “move-in ready” right now.
- Existing homes generally have landscaping already done—and it’s often more mature. In addition to looking nicer, it can save you money later on.
- Buying an existing home requires fewer decisions. If the thought of deciding on finishes and features and the like leaves you cold, you avoid all that.
By the way, at Gerber, we frequently have existing models for sale that allow you to see a finished home that nobody has ever lived in—and move in quickly. Click here to check out our current inventory.
- An existing home sits on an existing lot and you have to take what you get. You don’t have the option of choosing the lot you like best.
- You’ll be somewhat limited with regard to how much you can customize your home. If you like the way the home is designed and finished, that’s great, but if you want to make changes it will take time, effort, and money.
- If you’re buying a home that someone else has lived in you don’t get to “break in” your new home. Some people really like the idea of being the first ones in their new home. Also, your fixtures and appliances won’t be brand new (unless you’re buying a model).
Remodeling Your Existing Home
- If you live in a neighborhood you love that is convenient to work, schools, and other activities, you don’t have to pull up roots and start anew.
- You can avoid the stress and extra expense of a major move. There will be some disruption—but it’s not the same as moving.
- Good remodeling isn’t cheap but it’s probably going to be less expensive than building from scratch.
- You have to be prepared to deal with the noise, mess, and disruption that come with the remodeling process. (BTW, here’s an article with tips on how to prepare for remodeling)
- You may not be able to make all of the changes you want because of existing structural issues—or code restrictions.
If you really don’t like the overall style of your current home (i.e. You really want a rancher and you’re in a two-story) your remodel may not be able to address that issue.
It’s good to have options. And while you may have additional questions that you need to address before you decide what’s best for you and your family, evaluating the advantages and disadvantages above will give you a good start on your decision-making process.