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As a first time home buyer, is it smarter to build or buy?

Both my wife and I are in the architecture / construction industry and have architecture degrees. So the related design decision and construction headaches are something we are more than familiar with and able to handle. My question relates more to how feasible is it for a first time buyer to attain enough credit to build a home or is it just a smarter move to buy an existing house for the time being. 
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March 26 - US
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Answers (4)

Profile picture for BungalowMo
 Tim Moore,

I find your comments.... interesting, and without trying to sound like I'm dogging you, or really trying to give you a hard time, I also have to question a couple things.

This is like saying is it better to buy a new Chevy or a used Ford?
Actually, in this context, THEY would be designing the newly built car, because that is what they do.
  They weren't asking whether to buy newly built or older home.

Repairs on the old house vs buying new window treatments and landscaping for example.
They are likely going to want to put up new window treatments & make their own mark on the yard no matter if they build themselves or buy existing home.  As far as repairs, many can be worked out during the bidding process.  I personally got my seller to pay closing costs, a roof scrape-prime & paint, and fully upgraded electric.  Saved me literally thousands.

Even that being said, even if you have repairs you have to make, that certainly doesn't mean you canto pay for curtains & a flower bed.  It's not really a one vs the other scenario.

Just sayin....
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April 29
This decision is entirely up to you. My suggestion would be to buy a pre-existing home. Something that is a few years older. You can buy a starter home and in a few years take the equity from your home and potentially build a new construction down the road. Your best bet is to speak to a mortgage professional to see what you qualify for. In some cases, you may have to buy the land cash and mortgage the actual building of your home differently. Plus if you are looking to be in a home sooner than later, new construction is not the route to take. 

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March 26
 Both routes have pros and cons.  Your first stop should be to a bank to speak with the mortgage person to find out what you will qualify for.  There are loan programs designed with builders in mind so you will only be paying for the loan in stages as you build.  The loan provider should be able to explain it all to you so you can make a wise choice. 
 Another thought about buying now instead of building is that it will give you more time to plan your self designed dream home.   Your tastes and ideas may change with time and experience so maybe it would be better to hold off on building.  
 Either way talk to the bank. Good luck.  
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March 26
This is like saying is it better to buy a new Chevy or a used Ford? Either can be good. There are pros and cons with both, sit down and make a list of each and see where you are after that.

Repairs on the old house vs buying new window treatments and landscaping for example. Maybe others will give you more examples.

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March 26
 
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