Building vs buying: 5 things to consider

When it comes to moving out of the rental market or the family home, it’s time to decide: build or buy.

Building versus buying will always come down to personal preference, but there are plenty of things to consider before you make that decision.

Building can save you money

Many people see building a home as an investment, and there are plenty of ways building can save you money.

Buying a home means you pay stamp duty on the purchase price. When you build a home, usually you only pay stamp duty on the land price.

Building a home also opens up access to government grants like first home owners grant, and the more recent homebuilder grant.

Buying is much faster

For most people, buying a home will be a much faster process than building – if you can find the home you’re looking for that is.

Building a home means you don’t have to search for your dream home, but takes between 4 to 12 months once you’ve already secured the land and finalized your house plans.

Building a new home usually means a more efficient home

A new home means much less maintenance because everything is new.

Buying an established home can come with some headaches, especially if systems haven’t been serviced or maintained properly.

Most new builds also incorporate energy-efficient features so you’ll save on bills in the long-term.

Buying can limit your choice

Most people have an idea of their dream home or have certain features that their new home must-have. When you’re searching the real estate market, you’re limited to what’s for sale at the time.

Building your own home means you can design your dream home within your budget.

From the floor plans, aesthetic, room numbers to the final fittings and finishes, you choose everything.

Make sure you discuss must-have requirements with your builder and take time to plan your home.

Building offers great access to land

When buying, finding your dream home in the perfect location can be harder than you might think.

Buying an established home may mean you can buy closer to the CBD, but the competition for prime real-estate is high, meaning access to a home you’ll love is even harder.

Building isn’t for everyone, meaning there is less competition for land in sought after location.

WA is also fortunate to have space and a sprawling coastline for those happy to build a little further than the busy CBD.

The dos and don’ts of building you own home

For most people, building your own home is a once in a lifetime scenario.

It’s a big decision to build versus buy and you probably decided to build because you want to create your dream home.

Building your own home comes with lots of benefits, but it’s a big financial investment and if this is your opportunity to build your dream home, getting it right can create a lot of pressure.

Here are some simple dos and don’ts of building your own home to help you get it right the first time.

Do choose the right builder

Building a home isn’t just a financial investment it takes time and energy.

There’s lots of decision-making and usually some problem solving along the way.

Working with a building team you can communicate with and trust makes a big difference.

Read more on tips for choosing the right builder.

Don’t underestimate location research

If you’re not one hundred per cent sure on where you want to build, research is everything.

Create a list of things that are important to you when it comes to where you live.

For example, do you prefer a quiet neighbourhood or the bustle of a busy high street? Is access to good public transport links important?

Visit the area at different times of the day and check out the local amenities.

Research upcoming town plans, you might choose to build in a suburb for its large open spaces only to find out there are plans for a high-rise apartment block in the pipeline.

Do maximize your layout space

The size of your house will depend on your needs, budget and block size, but generally speaking, the bigger the house the bigger the bill.

It’s important to remember that a big house doesn’t necessarily ensure a functional floorplan and layout.

Clever design can prevent wasted space and create a home that makes sense for your lifestyle.

Take time to consider your needs and your floorplan. Do you prefer bedrooms at the front or back of the home? Where is the best placement for the kitchen and bathrooms?

Ensure you create a home that will work for you.

Don’t forget about landscaping

Quite often you can be so focused on getting the house right, your budget neglects the outside space.

A lot can be said for curb appeal, that feeling you get when you pull up outside your home.

Remember to put budget aside for basic landscaping so your home feels finished, you’re not walking sand through your new home every day, and so that you can enjoy the outside space as well as the inside.

Do make sure you make a non-negotiable list

Everyone building a new home is working within a budget – there are usually plenty of compromises to make along the way.

Before you get started, make a ‘non-negotiable’ list.

The list should only include items you must have in your new home, for example maybe an en-suite bathroom or double garage is a must – add it to the list that you share with your builder during the planning stages.

Be strict, keep it to those must-have items only, for other features and fittings you’d love, make a separate list and order them by priority.

Don’t overlook energy efficiency

If you’re building your forever home, you want to consider energy efficiency.

Incorporating things like solar panels, energy-efficient windows, good insulation, draught-proofing and rainwater tanks into your budget will help save you money in the long run while protecting the environment.

Even the orientation of your home on your block can make it more energy-efficient. Make sure you plan for living areas (wherever you spend the most time) are on the north side of your home. The orientation of the sun will mean unwanted summer sun is kept out and winter sun that will keep those rooms warm will stream in.

Do ask your builder about government grants

There are plenty of government grants available for people looking to build their own home.

Sifting through the information and eligibility criteria can be time-consuming and confusing.

For the best advice, ask your builder about your eligibility.

At the moment you could gain access to up to $55k in government grants towards the build of your new home.


6 tips for choosing your home builder

Making the decision to build your own home is a big one.

For first-time homebuilders to those building a property portfolio, choosing the right builder for your home is an important first step.

Choosing the right builder can make all the difference to your experience and the outcome.

Why choosing the right builder is important

Whether you’re building an investment property or your forever home, you’re not just making a financial investment.

Building a home takes time and energy, there’s lots of decision-making and maybe some problem solving along the way.

The process of building a home is made infinitely better if you’re working with a building team you can communicate with and trust.

Here are 6 great tips for helping choose the right home builder for your new home.

1. Research your local builders

Researching builders that are local to your area is a good first place to start.

Most builders have a niche to which they tailor their services. For example, some home building companies might specialise in homes for first home buyers and others might exclusively build luxury homes.

Choose a building company that excels at the type of home you’re looking to build. If it’s their bread and butter the process will be streamlined, which should ensure a good result.

Check out their website and get a feel for what different builder’s value; what’s important to some might not be important to others. Sharing common values is usually a good indicator for building a good relationship.

Experience isn’t always everything, but how long a building company has been operating successfully adds to their credibility.

2. Confirm your budget + investigate prices

As mentioned, most building companies will have a business model that’s set up to cater for different budgets.

Have a clear idea of your budget and the home you’re looking to build before you start contacting builders for quotes.

If you are looking to build a completely custom, high-end home it wouldn’t make sense to reach out to first-home builders and vice versa.

3. Read reviews

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, dig into testimonials and reviews.

Prior personal experience offers invaluable insight when it comes to making a big decision like choosing a home building company.

People tend to leave reviews when they experience very good or very bad service, so reviews can quite quickly paint a picture of the level of service and expertise you might experience with a particular builder.

4. Check out their work

Not all builders have display homes, but if they do pay them a visit. Be mindful that most display homes include luxury features and fittings that may not be included in their pricing. Simply ask some questions to get an idea of what will fit your budget.

If a builder you’re interested in doesn’t have a display home you can view, give them a call and arrange a time to visit a real build.

Seeing a real build gives allows you to see a blank canvas, you have the added benefit of meeting members of the team and seeing how they operate.

Following social media accounts is another great way to get a glimpse into the general vibe of a building company and see their work in progress.

5. Chat timeframes

You may have narrowed down your search at this point and big discrepancies in build timeframes could help make your decision.

Many factors can impact how long a building company intends for a build to take, and often due to unforeseen circumstances, a build may be longer than anticipated.

Look for a builder who seems realistic about timeframes, can talk through project timings confidently and has a good track record for builds that come in on time and budget.

When leaving reviews, people often share information about the timeframe of their build; so again, reviews can be a good place to look for real-life experiences.

6. Go with your gut

Possibly the most important tip, trust your instincts and the vibe you pick-up from a building company.

The relationship you have with your builder is important, you’re entrusting them with the build of your home and having a good relationship will make all the difference.

Everyone is different and sometimes you just click with a certain builder.