Friday, August 15, 2014

Dream House: Build Over Buy

As mentioned earlier, we've decided to move and have a new house built, and we didn't come to this decision lightly. 

It took a lot of research online as well as scouring through our desired neighbourhood for open houses to finally come to the conclusion that, the dream house we I want does not exist. I had a hunch from the get-go that we may come down to another custom built home, and I was right. When a piece of land opened up in the market, we snatched it without any second thought, so this was the tipping point I was waiting for. 

So why build over buy?

In our case, we have a very specific hood in mind which we want to settle into. When you have an ideal location in mind, you are usually looking at a well-established neighbourhood with infrastructure and amenities to show for. In such a mature neighbourhood, land is of scarcity so you are not going to find a group of builders building new houses. Your option is either to buy an existing house, or buy piece of land with a rundown house ready to be demolished. 

Need I say more? Having your house custom built allows you to control a lot of things, from the quality of the materials to the overall aesthetics of the layout. Granted, with control comes with responsibility and stress. Although someone else is building your house for you, the onus is still with you to oversee the entire process till its fruition. 

Change the Unchangeable
This is one of the reasons that excites me the most! You could buy an estate home and still have your front door tucked on one corner of the house; your house could look like a million bucks from outside but you would be short of one bedroom inside; your floor-to-ceiling window in your great room was not centred; you had a flat roof and constantly had to worry about the weight of the ice/snow during winter, etc. These are all the unchangeable or at least structural things that are very difficult to change in a ready built home. By having it built from scratch, you can do whatever you want, including an off-centred front door if you so prefer. :)

Reduce Waste
This is another key reason why I decided to build vs. buy. Kitchen and bathroom are where homeowners spend most of their reno dollars, and rightfully so. Have you ever come across those renovations that are too nice to get rid of, but so not your taste that you can't live with? These two pictures are from an open house we recently went to. Would most people think this is a nice kitchen? Yes. All the materials are high-end from the pricey Marron Emperador Light marble tiles to antique white cabinetry to all the millwork. But is this my dream kitchen? Absolutely not. It belongs to a buyer who appreciates this type of style, not someone like me who would rip it apart the moment I moved in. Our landfills are overflowing as is and I don't need to add to the burden. 

How about this bathroom? 

Picture below is from my master ensuite. I am not saying my bathroom is better because it's a matter of opinion - beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But you get what I am trying to say, right? Completely different tastes and styles - I can't live with theirs, and they probably can't stand mine. 

Not only is replacing previous owners' expensive renovations wasteful, it also adds up to your bottomline. Instead of paying for other people's renovations, use the same money to pick what you want in the first place as your house is being built. 

So these are the reasons that prompted me to build over buy. What's your experience? Do share! 

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