Home Ownership: Should You Buy or Build?


Getting to own a home is an exciting experience. Nay, it is magical. Just ask anyone who owns a home today. What you learn will amaze and jolt you into action.

Now imagine receiving the keys to your dream home from the contractor or the seller. You insert and turn the key. The door opens smoothly. Your eyes quickly sweep across the sitting room. Oh, yes! You nod as you appreciate what you see. Overwhelmed by emotions, you remain rooted to the spot. You are taking it all in, believing and not believing at the same time. You finally accept that it is, indeed, your new home. You have arrived where you wanted to be.

Isn’t that a truly magical moment?

Now, how do you want to get there? Do you want to buy a ready house? You can opt to buy a brand new house. Alternatively, you can acquire a used house. Or, maybe, you wish to build one right from the foundation to the roof?

Here are a few tips that may help you decide:


You already have a budget or an estimate of the amount you want to spend. Now, ask yourself: which one will cost more? Is it the house you want to build from the ground up; the built and used house you may want to upgrade or repair; or the brand new house that has been placed in the market?

Remember that to build a new house, you first have to buy land. Consider the cost of the land, the building materials and the labour. When you add all these expenses, how do they compare with the price of a brand new house, or of a lived-in one including the cost of repairs – if any?

Whatever your decision, consider the financial ramifications before deciding whether to buy or build.


How soon do you want to move into your new house? To build a new home takes time. Processing the ownership of the land may take a while. Getting the necessary building permits may also take some time. Then the process of building begins and it could take weeks or months. Are you prepared to wait for that period?

If you want to buy an existing house, consider how long you will take to find one that fits your needs and falls within your price range.


Often, people decide to build own houses so as to have the freedom to decide how the building ultimately looks like. They want to customise every part of the house, from flooring to colour schemes to ceiling height, just to fit their preferences. Is that what you want; to build your dream house just the way you have envisioned it? Then for you, buying a ready one will not do.


You consider building your new home instead of buying an existing house. Do you have the right contractor who will deliver a decent house? Is the contractor approved and licensed by the National Construction Authority (NCA)? Can you be certain that the workmanship will be excellent? Does the contractor have a good track record?

What assurances do you have that the materials to be used in construction will be of the highest quality? Or, would you be better off buying a high-quality, existing house that has been well-maintained or even a brand new one?


Should you decide to go for a brand new house, ask yourself a simple question: How credible is the developer? Can you be sure this developer will deliver as promised or will you be left clutching at straws when the project doesn’t go according to plan?


To buy or to build a new home is not an easy decision. Both options have their pros and cons. But for you to arrive at the decision that suits your circumstances, you must do a lot of research.

You may decide to consult a reputable real estate company to act as your guide and mentor in your homeownership journey. This decision will save you a lot in the long run. Contact a RE/MAX Real Estate Consultant.