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Why you should (and shouldn't) build a new house

It's a decision that many couples eventually face: should we build a new house or buy an existing home? To help you decide, here are reasons why you should - and shouldn't - build a new house.

Why you should build

The resale housing market is tight. For example, you love the house but those pillars on the front aren't your style. Plus, even if you do find the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, the housing market now is red-hot and houses are selling almost as soon as they're listed.

You'll know your house's history. When you buy an older home, you don't know what has been done to the house over the years.

You can get exactly what you want. There are hundreds of details that go into the building of a house, and you can control many of them. Do you want the blueprint flipped so the garage is on the other side of the house? No problem. Do you want one of the bedrooms to be an office instead? That can be done. Do you want one of the exterior walls to be 2 feet further out? Let's do it.

Big repairs aren't going to be in the picture for a while. Houses, like people, break down as they age. Furnaces, air conditioning, roofs, sump pumps, carpeting, flooring, garage doors, outdoor decks and more eventually will need to be repaired or replaced. When you build a new house, you don't have to think about those issues for a while.  

Today's houses are more energy efficient than older homes. It might not seem like important now, but over time the savings can be substantial.

Why you shouldn't build a new house

When building a new house, not all of the costs are included. In addition to the house itself, there are add-ons that you might be your responsibility: lawn, landscaping, gutters, appliances, paving of driveway, building a deck, and even installing a mailbox.

The details can be overwhelming. The flip side of getting exactly what you want is this: you have to make decisions regarding hundreds of details. Depending on your builder, these decisions can include flooring, windows, paint colors, exterior colors, roof color, bathroom fixtures, appliances, furniture, light fixtures and more.

You won't have to put up with the sounds of other houses being built. When you build a new house, it's likely other houses will be built on your street or in your development. Hammers are loud at 7 a.m.

Can you trust the builder? Some builders are great at marketing but lousy at building. Some builders aren't ethical. Some builders hire low-cost, low-quality subcontractors. Some builders don't meet deadlines. It can be very difficult to tell the good builders from the bad builders. 

Building a house will consume your time and thoughts for months. If your life already is packed with responsibilities, it might be very stressful to add "build a house" to your to-do list.

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