Moving into a new home is an exciting time in your life. Moving brings the promise of a fresh start and exciting new adventures. Whether you are moving to retire, relocate to North Central Florida, or just changing homes, there are many beautiful home and land listings waiting for you. When searching for a new home many people wonder, “Is it cheaper to build or buy a house?” If you haven’t decided whether to buy an existing home or build from scratch, this guide will help outline the advantages and disadvantages of both processes. At Showcase Properties of Central Florida, we pride ourselves in offering “All properties. All price points. All for you.” Whether you decide to build or buy, we’re here to help you find your dream home.

Buying a House in Florida

Advantages of Buying a Home

If you are looking to move into a home that is completely finished and ready to occupy, buying an existing home is your best choice. A Showcase agent can walk you through the home, and you’ll know exactly what you are buying. This option can allow for price negotiation, depending on the seller’s situation and market conditions. Financing an existing home purchase is typically straightforward and takes only a single-close mortgage loan. Overall, purchasing an existing home in Florida is a straightforward and quick process.

Disadvantages of Buying a Home

Unfortunately, the home of your dreams isn’t always up for sale. In fact, you may find yourself compromising so much that you lose your enthusiasm for the move. Renovation is an option in some cases and can be a great compromise when buying an existing home. Renovations can be expensive, so don’t forget to factor that into your purchase price if you decide on a home that needs work. If you don’t have to move towns, renovating your current home may be a better option than buying. Our Renovate or Relocate? Guide can help answer that question.

Costs of Buying a House in Florida

Home prices can vary greatly based on location, size, and condition. When purchasing an existing home you may incur home inspection fees and loan closing costs. Mortgage closing costs range from 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price. These fees vary with your loan type and mortgage lender. Down payments on home purchases are hefty. Typically, the more you can pay upfront as a down payment, the lower your mortgage interest rate will be. Don’t forget to take the need for a down payment into account when calculating how much home you can afford.

According to Neighborhood Scout, the median home value in Florida is $245,845. If you visit our recently sold and pending home sales, you’ll see that recent home sales range from under $100,000 all the way up to $1,970,000. There truly is something for everyone in Ocala. Our agents can help you find the perfect home in Marion, Citrus, Alachua, Sumter, and Levy counties, or in The Villages.

Building A House in Florida

Advantages of Building a House

For some, there is no greater joy than designing and building the home of their dreams. Every last detail can be decided by you. Floorplans, paint colors, fixtures, and cabinets are exactly what you want starting the day you move in. Many parts of your home (roof, HVAC system, appliances) will stay under warranty for years, cutting down on your maintenance costs.

Newer homes are built with energy-efficient materials that save you money down the road. Modern building codes prevent you from having to deal with materials that have now been identified as hazardous, such as lead-based paint, mold, and asbestos.

Disadvantages of Building a House

Building a house is not for everyone! All that decision making can be exhilarating or exhausting depending on your personality. If you’re considering building a home in Central Florida, there are some factors to take into account.

Land Availability

Just like finding the perfect home to buy, you’ll want to find a piece of land that meets your desires regarding size, location, and cost.

Time to Completion

Building a home from scratch takes a lot of time. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average completion time is seven months. Bad weather and unforeseen supply and labor issues can cause significant delays.

Paying for Two Homes

You’ll need to maintain another home throughout the building process. This adds to the upfront costs associated with building a home. When your new home is complete, timing the sale of your existing home can be tricky.

Read more in our Guide To Buying New Construction in Florida

Cost to Build a House in Florida

You may wonder how much it costs to build a house in Florida. When it comes to pricing out a new home build, many components vary depending on your taste and the size of the house. It’s important to separate your wants from your needs and create a construction budget. According to a 2020 survey, the average cost to build a house in Florida is between $240,000 to $350,000. According to the 2019 US Census Bureau Report, building a home in the south costs on average $110.19 per square foot and ranged from $60/sq. ft. to over $150/sq. ft.

The costs and steps to building a house in Florida are as follows:

Land: The cost of land varies greatly based on location, acreage, and terrain. You’ll want to narrow down your specific needs in order to estimate this cost.

Architecture and Engineering: Once you’ve chosen a builder and house design, you can estimate what the plans, drawings, permits, and inspections are going to cost on your new construction.

Land Improvements: Excavation of your property and creating the foundation for your home is a large expense. You may also be charged a local impact fee.

House Framing: Walls, windows, doors, and roof make up your framing expense. Framing and exterior finishes will take around 33% of your total construction budget according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Mechanical Installation: Electrical wiring, heat, and plumbing make your house livable and come with their own budget line when planning your build.

Interior Finishes: Cabinets, countertops, flooring, appliances, and fixtures can easily break your budget. The NAHB reports that these costs account for 30% of your building budget.

Getting Ready to Move In: You’ll finish up with driveway installation, window coverings, and landscaping. These can be another significant expense so budget smartly, and don’t be caught off guard.

Overall, the costs associated with building a home are higher upfront. Building costs can vary widely among area builders, and you should be prepared for unforeseen expenses. Rather than a conventional home loan, you’ll need loans to purchase the land and fund the construction of your home. Many banks now offer single-close construction loans that can help simplify the process.

The Build/Buy Compromise

If you can’t decide between buying an existing home and building from scratch, a new community can offer the best of the real estate world. You are technically building a custom home, but it’s a much more simplified process.

 You won’t need to search for a custom builder as one is already associated with the neighborhood.

While you have some customization options, you won’t be overwhelmed with choices.

 Often, you can tour model homes to get an accurate idea of the home you are building.

 On moving day, you’ll enter a brand new house constructed using energy-efficient building materials and running on electrical systems and appliances still under warranty.

 Unlike some undeveloped home sites, a new community promises that amenities and local conveniences won’t be far away.

Keep an Open Mind

Despite the economic uncertainty associated with this year, the Florida real estate market is great right now. There are plenty of homes for sale across many locations and price ranges. A Showcase Properties agent can work with you to find a home that fits your specific needs and wants. Browse our current residential listings or contact an agent to start hunting for your dream home.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for right now, a Showcase Properties agent can help create a strategy to build your dream home. We’ll help you explore different locations and research available land for sale. Talk to your financial advisor or a mortgage broker to discuss the financial steps associated with building a home.

At Showcase Properties of Central Florida, we want you to “fall in love with where you live.” We’re dedicated to providing excellent service every step of the way during your real estate journey. Contact us today to get started!