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The Benefits of Building a Custom Home vs Buying an Existing Property

Posted by John Graziose

Fri, Oct 6, 2023 @ 14:10 PM

The Benefits of Building a Custom Home vs Buying an Existing Property

In the vibrant landscapes of New York, homeownership is a dream cherished by many. With the picturesque backdrop of the Finger Lakes and the urban allure of Rochester, deciding where to put down roots is just the first of many decisions. Another significant choice facing prospective homeowners is whether to build a custom home or buy an existing property. Each option carries its unique set of advantages, challenges, and financial implications. As 2024 unfolds and with 2025 on the horizon, understanding the dynamics of the current housing market and construction trends is crucial. In this guide, Gerber is here to delve into the pros and cons of building vs. buying, helping you make an informed decision that aligns with your dreams and budget.

Luxury new construction exterior at twilight by Gerber Homes

Financial Considerations: Build vs. Buy

Navigating the financial waters of homeownership can be daunting, whether you're considering building a custom home or purchasing an existing property. Each path offers its own set of financial implications and opportunities. 

Cost to Build House vs. Buy

In 2024, the costs of building a home and buying an existing one have shifted due to market trends, labor availability, and material costs. Generally, building a custom home allows you to control where your money goes, prioritizing features that matter most to you. While the upfront cost can sometimes be higher than buying an existing property, the end product is tailored to your tastes and needs. On the other hand, purchasing an existing home might offer a more predictable initial price tag, but you could end up compromising on design or facing additional costs in renovations and upgrades.

Main floor of luxury custom home with built-in shelving and stacked stone fireplace in greater Rochester

Buying House Cost

Acquiring an existing property usually entails a list of costs beyond the purchase price. These include closing costs, home inspections, realtor fees, potential renovations, and possible immediate maintenance needs. It's essential to factor in these additional expenses when comparing the total cost to building a custom home.

Building a House in 2024

Building a custom home this year? You're in for an exciting journey of creativity and personalization. However, financial preparation is key. In 2024, while labor and material costs have seen fluctuations, innovative building techniques and energy-saving technologies can offer long-term savings. Factor in costs like land preparation, permits, architectural designs, and potential overages when budgeting.

New construction two story lakeside home exterior

Will Construction Costs Go Down in 2024?

While we don't have a crystal ball, industry analysts suggest that construction costs, especially materials, might stabilize in 2024. While we may not see volatile shifts in materials due to supply chain improvements and an increase in domestic production capacities, we will likely see incremental increases in construction costs year over year. Therefore, we can’t advise waiting to build a house. Consider your risk tolerance, timeframe, and the potential benefits of enjoying your new home sooner rather than later.

Customization and Long-Term Satisfaction: Crafting Your Space

One of the most compelling aspects of homeownership is the idea of a space that truly reflects your personality, needs, and aspirations. The journey of crafting this space varies distinctly between building a custom home and buying an existing one. In this section, we'll delve into the depths of customization, long-term satisfaction, and the implications of each path.

Pros and Cons of Building a House


  1. Personalized Design: From the floor plan to the cabinet handles, every aspect reflects your taste when building a custom home.
  2. Energy Efficiency: New constructions often leverage the latest in energy-efficient technologies, ensuring long-term savings on utility bills.
  3. Modern Amenities: Enjoy the latest in home tech, appliances, and design trends, ensuring your home feels contemporary for years to come.

Luxury custom kitchen design by Gerber Homes in greater Rochester, NY


  1. Time Intensive: Building from scratch often requires a longer period than buying an existing property.
  2. Decision Fatigue: The myriad choices, from paint colors to flooring materials, can be overwhelming for some.
  3. Unpredictable Challenges: Unexpected issues can arise, potentially extending timelines and budgets.

Pros and Cons of Buying a House


  1. Quicker Move-In: An existing home is ready for occupancy, allowing for a faster move-in process.
  2. Established Neighborhoods: Often, existing homes are in established communities with mature landscaping and known amenities.
  3. Tangible Inspection: You can experience the space, layout, and feel of the home before making a decision.


  1. Renovation Needs: Older homes might require updates or repairs, which can add to costs.
  2. Less Personalization: While you can renovate, the fundamental layout and design of an existing home might not align perfectly with your vision.
  3. Potential Hidden Issues: From old plumbing to outdated electrical systems, unexpected problems can crop up after purchase.

Building a Home on Your Own Land vs. Buying Land and Building a House Process

If you already own a plot of land, the journey of building a custom home can be more straightforward. The land's familiarity, understanding its nuances, and having a vision for it can expedite the building process and inform your design. On the other hand, if you're considering buying land and then embarking on the construction journey, ensure you understand all aspects of the land, from its topography to any zoning restrictions, before purchase.

View of Southgate Hills community homesite off East Victor Road

Is Buying Land a Good Investment in 2024?

With Urban spaces becoming increasingly crowded, investing in land can be a sound decision. Land typically appreciates over time and can offer flexibility—build now, later, or never. However, the land's location, potential surrounding development, and any zoning or usage restrictions are factors to consider.

Existing New Construction, the Best of Both Worlds?

Purchasing new, existing construction offers a unique blend of the new-home feel without the wait associated with building from scratch. It's an excellent choice for those who seek modern amenities, current building codes, and contemporary designs but wish to skip the decision-making process and potential delays that come with custom building. These homes often feature the latest in energy efficiency, smart home technology, and design trends. Moreover, since they're newly built, homeowners typically face fewer immediate repair or maintenance concerns than older houses. 

Ready to take the next step in your homeownership journey in the Rochester/Finger Lakes area? Gerber Homes is here to assist. Contact us today to explore how we can make your dream home a reality.

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