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MASONWOODNews & Events
MASONWOODNews & Events
February 8, 2020

Building vs Buying a House in Austin

Your home is typically the largest investment you’ll ever make. When you make the decision to move, you may be debating between buying a house in Austin or building a new home.

Finding everything on your wish list can be tough, especially in an older home. This is where a new build might be able to get you closer to your dream home. 

From the costs to your timeline for moving, there are a lot of factors that you’ll probably need to think about. 

With so many choices, how do you know which is right for you?

This guide will go over everything you need to know about the debate a lot of home buyers face between building a home and buying an existing home in the fast growing Austin area. 

Buying a House in Austin       

It’s no secret that the housing market in Austin is booming. With so many beautiful homes, new construction, and homes that have recently been remodeled to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start.

With an incredible food and nightlife scene, it’s no surprise that Austin was recently named one of the best places to live by U.S. News & World Report.

When you’re in the market for a new home, there are a few things you should think about before you hit the ground running. 

You’ll want to start getting your financing in order and think about what you’re looking for in a new home. These first steps are like your checklist for buying a house. 

Buying a House Checklist 

When it comes to buying a home, there are some checklist essentials that will help streamline the process. These items will also help you decide if buying an existing home or building one is the right option for you.

The first item on your checklist should be to take a look at your finances. This means looking at your fixed expenses, your income, and your savings. This will help you determine your budget. 

A good rule of thumb according to CNBC is to keep your housing expenses under 30 percent of your monthly gross income. This includes your new mortgage, as well as other costs like utilities, taxes, and homeowners association fees if applicable. 

Once you start working with your lender, they will asses how much you qualify for. If you’re paying for a home in cash, the amount you spend is up to you.

Once you have your budget, you’ll be able to start thinking about what is most important to you in a home. You can narrow down specifics such as neighborhood, the size of the home you need, how many bedrooms, and outdoor space, for example.

Next, you’ll want to contact your real estate professional to have them start sending you houses that fit within your budget and meet some of your criteria.

You can also speak to a real estate developer about looking at new homes or homes that are pre‑construction if you’re still debating whether or not you’d like to build your own home.  

The next thing on your checklist is arguably the most fun. This is the stage where you start to look at houses in person.

What to Look for When Buying a House

When you’re buying a house, there are a few things you should look out for.

First, think about what is most important to you in a home. For some people, the size and square footage of a home is the most important feature. For other new homeowners, the location is what matters most. 

Once you have your list of must‑haves, you’ll want to see as many houses as you can that meet your wish list within your budget.  

At this stage, you’ll probably start to get an idea of whether or not there is an existing home that has everything you need or if you are leaning toward new construction or building your own.

While everyone hopes to find their dream home, there are usually some wish‑list items that are hard to find. This is where you can get creative and think about renovations, additions, or updates that will get the home closer to your ideal.

In addition to the actual home itself, think about the location of your home. This is one thing you can’t change in a renovation. If being near walkable amenities or public transportation is important to you, then focus on areas where you can utilize those.   

If you need to be in a certain school district or in close proximity to work, you’ll want to stick to those areas while you search.

This is where your budget will also play a major role in your decision. If you can’t find an existing home you love, can you afford to renovate, buy new construction, or will you build a new home altogether?

The Cost of Buying an Existing Home

Buying an existing home is sometimes less expensive than buying a new one but there can sometimes be unforeseen costs that may come after you own the home.

Unfortunately, sometimes older homes come with hidden problems. You may think you have an easy renovation on your hands and then all of a sudden you find a whole slew of new issues that can be expensive. 

Sometimes, the idea you have for your home is really expensive to realize. Adding on more space or knocking down walls may seem simple but the costs can outweigh the value you are adding. 

Other times, the ideas you have for your house just may not be feasible within the property lines or the structure of the home.

This is where you will need to think about what is important to you and what you can realistically accomplish within your budget.  

Building a House Checklist

When it comes to building your own home, there are definitely important factors to consider. 

If you’re considering building your own home entirely or working with a developer on new construction, you’ll want to do your homework and get to work on your checklist.

Your checklist for building a home will once again include getting a hold of your finances and figuring out your budget. 

You will need to set your budget for financing, your down payment, as well as additional cash for building your home.

You can then start working with a real estate developer to get your wish list going and to see what is feasible within your budget.

They can show you floor plans and different developments in the areas you like and within your budget. 

The Cost of Building a House

The cost of building your own home can vary greatly. While buying an existing home may be less expensive initially, if you’re renovating anything, it just might be worth it to go with a new construction home.

If you have specific home needs or tastes, buying a new home may actually be cheaper than renovating.  

Buying new construction is sort of like the best of both worlds. In some cases, most of the houses will be built but you will still be able to come in and choose your finishes. 

The overall costs will depend largely on your budget and the floor plans available. You’ll also need to be mindful of the construction time. You can typically find homes in various phases of construction that will work within your timeframe but it’s something to think about.

If you have a long time before you need to move, there are sometimes incentives for buying a new construction home in an earlier phase. 

If building your dream home is what you want, a new home with modern floor plans and design, might be just what you are looking for. 

Buying or Building: Which is Right for You?

There is a lot to consider when you’re debating between building a new home or buying an existing one.

From your budget to your timeframe, countless factors can play a role.  If you have specific needs that you can’t find on the market, building your own home might be your best bet.

While there is no right or wrong answer, a real estate developer will be able to help answer any questions you have. They can help you asses different areas, see what is feasible within your budget, show you floor plans, and help you make an informed decision.If you’re ready to learn more about new builds and buying a house in Austin, contact us today to get one step closer to finding your new home.

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