What’s the best option; DIY your home or build and buy new?
Does a brand spanking new house or a fixer upper gives more value? And the answer really lies in each person or family’s needs and interests. Time, money, abilities – all need to be analysed and factored in when making the decision of whether you should DIY or buy a new house.
Does the idea of buying an older home and then fixing it up sound like just the sort of challenge you love to undertake? Or does a brand new construction, sparkling with shiny new fixtures and amenities sound amazing? There really is no right or wrong answer. There are pros and cons to both options, and the deciding factor really is personal and up to you as the prospective buyer – and fixer upper. Check out these tips before planning a home renovation
Do a temperament check
Are you up for the task of fixing up an entire house to live in? This is not a task for the faint hearted, or for those with absolutely zero skills and willingness to get their hands (and rest of self too), dirty. If you are enthused by finding a house that has seen better days but will come to life again with TLC and hard work, where your value-add can be seen, and have the time, energy and patience to invest then go ahead and DIY.
It’s even better if you have family or friends who are either in construction, or have undertaken a DIY house project themselves. They can give you first-hand advice on how to proceed – and also the pitfalls to avoid. When it comes to DIY, there really is nothing better than learning from those who went before, alongside doing, of course.
Are you already busy?
If you work a busy job, your life is already chock-a-block with things to do and people to see, and if having to spend nights and weekends renovating a house feels like it will put a dent in your social life and style, then you probably aren’t the ideal candidate for a home DIY project. Finding a place that is newly made or under construction will probably be a better fit for you. Another advantage for a new home is that you will be able to call the builder or home owner association for repairs and help since a new home will come with a guarantee for a certain timeframe. No repairs, no sourcing tradespeople, no worries.
Understand the financial aspects
Yes, a fixer upper will likely be cheaper to buy than a new house. However, if you put in an offer on a home that is still under construction, it will not be as expensive as buying a completely built new property. One way builders help finance their projects is to make the sale while a place is still in the early stages. It’s an off the plans project that you put a down payment on and then pay off once the construction is complete. If you are looking to invest and don’t have immediate moving plans, then this is a perfect choice. You’re locked in at a lower price than a fully built new house, and you have the chance to accumulate more funds too.
It is important to understand that while a fixer upper will be cheaper to buy, there is a lot more investment needed on the other side of the purchase. Few dilapidated houses can be restored with just a lick of paint and some tweaks, and every single renovation runs over-budget. Depending on the amount of work required, you will be investing, perhaps rather heavily, on materials, tools, and labour too. Aside from yours and your loved ones time and sweat, you will most likely have to bring in an expert for the big jobs like the roof or rewiring of electricals. Experts don’t come cheap.
Do you have a tight timeline?
How much time do you have? Do you have to be out of your current home and into the home you’re purchasing within a set time period? If you have a time constraint, then a DIY and new house purchase both have advantages. With a DIY’er, you can work room by room, and get part of the house ready for moving in per your timeline. Obviously, the big items like roof and walls have to be complete. But once you have the bathroom and kitchen in working order and a spot to sleep sorted, you can slowly continue work after moving in.
With a new townhouse or house purchase, a builder will usually have a timetable they are working with and while there are times when delays can happen, you can make an educated guess as to when you can expect to move in – to your new home that will not be requiring any paint jobs or additional repairs.
So if you’re on a tight timeframe, are busy and short on patience, then building or buying new is definitely the best option. If you’re keen to put in the hard yards and are willing to work hard to get a gorgeous result, a DIY might be the way forward. Whichever choice you make, don’t forget to get house insurance for your new home, which is now your very own personal castle.