Building vs. Buying a Home: Is One Really Better Than the Other?

As a first-time homebuyer, wading through the murky waters of today’s real estate market can feel downright overwhelming. The road to becoming a homeowner is not a simple process that’s filled with plenty of twists and turns and many big, important decisions to make along the way. Chief among them is the question of build or buy? Should you go for a new house or an existing home? What are the cons of building? What are the cons of buying? Can the pros of one really outweigh the negatives of the other or is homeownership truly not that black and white? 

New Home Construction Is An Investment Worth Making

Newer Homes Are Guaranteed

Sure, older homes have charm and character from a bygone era that can help you see past the quirks— at least for a little while. However, unexpected costs from renovations, repairs, hidden dangers of asbestos and lead paint, and a lack of energy efficient anything can quickly dull its sparkle. At DEN, we stand firmly behind our belief that the upfront costs of investing in a high-quality new build will help you score your dream home, and let’s be honest, avoid the demoralizing bidding wars that regularly occur in this competitive seller’s market full of house shortages. 

“You know what you’re signing up for with new construction,” says Chris Davis, a Maine-based realtor, investor and property manager. “If you think the house is worth $800,000 and you love all the specs then you get to pay [that amount]. Otherwise, when you go to look at a house on the open market that’s listed at $700,000, but some other buyer thinks it’s worth $800,000 and they are willing to pay for it, then you have to pay more — and there’s no guarantee that you will even get the house.” 

You Get To Build a Quality Custom Home

With home prices on the rise, the bottom line is that even though the costs of buying can also be high, there’s truly nothing that compares to building a custom home. To start, you get what you want out of home. “It’s really exciting because you get to choose what you want. You get to put your style into a house and not inherit anybody else’s style at all,” says general contractor, experienced home builder, investor and property manager, Justin Funk. “You get to see your vision all the way through without any baggage.”

Davis echoes this statement, adding that another downside of trying to buy in an overcrowded housing market is that you'll have settle for less. “You can’t get exactly what you want on the resale market.” 

On top of designing your ideal abode, Funk argues that even though the cost of building a new home might not always be cheaper than buying an existing house, the upside is that the upfront costs will go a long way. “From a cost perspective, you are not necessarily going to save money because you’ve got to buy the land and pay people to do all the work,” says Funk. “The benefit is that you get exactly what you want, it’s all new, and you don’t inherit any problems. With new construction, you’re going to get something that is going to last forever”. 


Use Floor Plans to Build Your Vision

New construction is an umbrella term for many different types of structures including stick-built homes, a modular house or brand new prefab. Depending on your preferences these options are all good and well, but if you’re just starting from scratch, Funk recommends finding a set of detailed floor plans that will literally provide you with a solid foundation to build on and eventually make it your own. “Floor plans can help you see where the potential is, but you get to play with it a little bit and feel the space out so you can pick and choose what you want.”  Even though it can be tempting to buy $20 building plans for a beautiful single family home online, it is worth it to pay more for a well-designed new house. Spending a little extra money to get detailed plans will make it a lot easier when you go to reach out to a builder or if you’re going to do it yourself.” 

Investing in quality floor plans doesn't just help you build a vision of the potential your future home has, it also streamlines the building process. "There are certainly efficiencies and ways to make [the building process] easier there," says Davis. "As long as you like the product, it can be a great way to get something that is [not completely customized] but still has a high-end feel." 

Our new home building service, BuiltBy DEN, is meant to streamline the building process with DEN’s signature premium, modern cabins and new homes, that along with transparent pricing and a dedicated project manager to see things through, can help you skip the stressful buying process and get the home you’ve been wanting. Sounds too good to be true? We promise it's not.

“At the end of the day, the difference between building and buying comes down to whether or not you want something very specific, and if you’re ok with sacrificing a lot," says Funk. "You have to sacrifice something on your want list when you buy a house because you didn’t build it!”


Head over to to start building your future, today.