There are basically two ways to get the home of your dreams. You can buy an existing home and then do the work necessary to make it the way you want it, or you can build a custom home from scratch. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages, and which one you decide to do will largely come down to your personal preferences, your financial situation and the time frame in which you have to work.

Building a custom home allows you to get the home of your dreams from the first day you set foot in the home. When you build a new home from scratch, you can be involved in every aspect of the design. That allows you to get kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and other rooms designed the way you want and exactly where you want them in your home. It also allows you to make any custom design decisions you want to make. Want energy efficient appliances? A skylight? A finished basement? You can make all of those decisions before the home is built so you wind up with the home you want from day one. Of course, custom building does have some drawbacks, one of the biggest being cost. Building a custom home is expensive, and many home builders will charge a premium if you are not using one of their standard plans. Custom homes also take a lot longer to build than a spec home, which means you might have to find a temporary place to live until your home is finished.

The alternative to building new homes is to buy an existing home and renovate it so that it meets your expectations. That is a lot more common, and 58% of homeowners in 2018 said they planned to spend money on renovations, and the total spent on renovations in the U.S. was nearly $100 billion. One of the advantages of buying a home and then renovating it is that you don’t have to wait for a place to live and you can move in right away. This option also can be cheaper, as you can do the renovations in stages as you can afford them. Among the most common items that people renovate are bathrooms and kitchens, and those are among the renovation projects that add the most value. A big drawback to doing renovations to an existing home is that it can take a long time for you to get the house just the way you want it. You also can run into unforeseen problems that wouldn’t be present in a newly built home.

Whether you build a custom home or renovate an existing home to make it the way you want it, it’s important to stay within your means. Overextending yourself financially when it comes to your home can cause you a lot of problems down the road, so make sure you can afford that home of your dreams.

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