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Cypress Homes

Building vs Buying an Existing Home

July 3, 2019
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Is it better to build a new home or buy an existing home?  This is a question many people are facing when looking for their next home. The answer depends on your situation and what you prioritize in a new home.  We organized some of the major factors to consider to help you decide which option is best for you.

Build a Home vs Buy a Home


PRICE: Advantage Buying an Existing Home

If finding the best bargain is your top priority you probably should look at buying an existing home, but this category is closer to neutral than you might initially think:  If you compare price per square foot, you’ll certainly notice that existing homes are cheaper than new builds. However, it’s important to look at all of the costs associated with your home.  For example factor in the energy costs, taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs over the next few years.  New homes are significantly more energy efficient and cheaper to maintain compared to existing homes.  Here are some of the costs you’ll have to deal with sooner rather than later if you purchase an existing home:

  • Roof – $6,000-$10,000
  • Water Heater and Furnace – $4,000-$5,000
  • Appliances – $3,000-$4,000
  • Other items that need to be replaced or repaired sooner in existing homes include: windows, flooring, cabinets, counters, siding, electrical, plumbing, foundation, and more.

Once you factor in these costs as well as the added utility costs, buying a home could very easily be just as expensive as building.


CUSTOMIZATION: Big Advantage Building

The greatest benefit of building a home is that you get exactly what you want.  Everything from the layout to the door handles will be chosen specifically for you. It is impossible to get this level of personalization with an existing home so building provides a huge advantage in terms of customization.

At Cypress, we take customization to a whole new level; when you build with us you get full access to our in-office design center and our interior designer. This helps you to feel confident in all of your choices when you build with Cypress Homes.

Time Frame

TIME FRAME: Advantage Buying an Existing Home

Depending on your schedule, time frame can lean either way but we are giving the slight edge to buying. Mainly because building a home can take some time – you have to obtain financing, sell your existing home, create a plan, and go through the construction process (at Cypress, the construction process usually takes 4-5 months from the day we break ground before you can move in).  

When you purchase an existing home you still have to deal with the sale of your current home.  You also have to coordinate this with the purchase of your future home.  Depending on the market conditions, it can be difficult to sell, buy, or both. At least building gives you some certainty over the move in date for your new home.

Building typically takes longer than buying, but if you are planning your next move more than 6 months in advance, there isn’t a clear winner in terms of time frame.


MAINTENANCE: Big Advantage Building

When you build a home, everything from the foundation to the finishes will be brand new. Building with all brand new materials means you likely wont have any maintenance for the foreseeable future. It could be more than 10 or 15 years before you incur a significant maintenance costs with a new home. We mentioned some of the maintenance that occurs sooner and more often in existing homes in the Price section.

When you build a new home with Cypress Homes you get a warranty ensuring quality craftsmanship on your new home. Many existing homes may come in excellent shape with a number of updates, but you simply can’t beat a 100% brand new high quality home.  So if low maintenance is a must-have, building is a better option for you.

Energy savings

ENERGY SAVINGS: Advantage Building

Efficiency comes naturally with building a new home. Appliances, furnaces, water heaters, insulation, and windows are just a few of the items that have improved tremendously over the years in terms of energy-efficiency.  These items can make a big difference on your utility bills and your overall emissions.

New homes built by Cypress Homes are particularly energy efficient; all Cypress Homes are “Focus on Energy” Certified Energy-Efficient Homes making them at least 25% more efficient than code. According to the Focus on Energy program this can lead to about $20,000 in savings over a 30 year mortgage. In fact one of our customers let us know that her new Cypress Home costs less to heat than her former home (which was less than half the size of her new home):

Health & Safety

HEALTH & SAFETY: Advantage Building

Health & Safety goes hand in hand with maintenance costs and energy efficiency: Both building code and material quality have improved over the years to make new homes healthier and safer than older homes.  Mold, lead based paint, and asbestos can commonly occupy older homes – you may not even know if it’s there.  When you build a new home you get a home that starts clean and stays clean (for the most part – we’re all sometimes guilty of letting are home get a bit messy at times). Cypress incorporates high efficiency furnaces (with high performance air filters), de-humidistats, and superior ventilation into their new homes to help keep your home safer, even as your new home ages over the years. We also install passive radon systems that can easily be converted to active radon mitigation systems if needed.


LANDSCAPING: Big Advantage Buying an Existing Home

One convenience of purchasing an existing home is having landscaping in place; you are more likely to have a nice lawn and mature trees when you purchase an existing home. When you build a new home, the excavator will need to dig up a significant portion of your lot.  All builders should make sure the final grade is properly pitched away from your home – you can even elect to take this a step further by bringing in top soil, planting the lawn, and adding additional landscaping like a patio or deck.  Unfortunately, even the best landscapers can’t prevent settling that might occur the first couple years after you build a new home – Wisconsin’s climate changes exaggerates these problems even more so its wise to allow soil levels to settle for at least one freeze-thaw cycle before spending a lot of time/money on additional landscaping.


Next time you decide to move your family, be sure to compare all your options. At first glance, building might look expensive, but after factoring in energy costs, low maintenance, total customization, and health, building may be a favorable option for you. Ultimately, you have to decide which of these categories are most important to you to determine whether building or buying is the right fit for you.  If you have more questions in regards to building vs buying, please contact us. We’d be happy to help you weigh all your options.

Are you considering building, but want more information before you decide to move forward. Click here to access the “4 Step Guide To Building Your New Home!” This guide is a must read if you’re considering building in the next few years.

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This post was written by Greg Drusch

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