Building Your Family Home
There was a time that building your own home was the norm. Indeed, it was a rite of passage that helped usher young people into adulthood and allowed them to create a solid physical and emotional foundation for the family. However, as society has developed over the centuries and populations became more centralized into cities and urban areas, the work of home building shifted to professionals. The situation is not much better today; that not only is it unusual to build your own home, but only around 65% of the U.S. population even owns their house.
That doesn’t mean to say that building a home for your family isn’t possible. Whether you are set to create your dream home, or just a starter house to get yourself onto the first rung of the property ladder, there are some good reasons to engage in the process. That said, there are also significant challenges along the way.
Let’s take a look at some of the key pros and cons of building a home rather than buying an existing property. What are the potential stumbling blocks? How can you approach the process to ensure success?
When you’re considering building your own home, some thought needs to go into the safety aspects of this endeavor. After all, your main concern when finding any home — whether you buy it or build it — is that it provides a secure and reliable roof over your family’s heads for years to come. It’s important not to proceed until you are confident in this area.
Expertise plays a role. If you are not 100% confident that you have the skills and knowledge to build a safe home, you shouldn’t undertake it on your own. In most cases, you don’t need the safety licenses that professional contractors need, but it’s important to remember that professionals are licenses for a reason. It demonstrates they know what they’re capable of creating safe building projects. An option here is to lead the project as the general contractor and bring on qualified subcontractors for elements you’re unsure of. However, this can certainly get expensive, particularly if you make mistakes along the way that need to be repaired.
On the plus side, leading your building project means that you have a personal hand in making sure that your family’s safety is forefront throughout the process. If you live in an area prone to problems, you can make certain disaster-proofing is present from the get-go. Unlike buying a house, you can also be sure that potentially hazardous materials haven’t been used in its production. If you buy a home that was built in the 20th century, for instance, you might find that asbestos had been used for its insulation. This mineral, which had been commonly used in construction, is known to lead to mesothelioma and other non-cancerous respiratory illnesses. Building your home from the ground up means you aren’t potentially exposing your family to such hazards, and you don’t have to go to the expense of having them removed.
The more we learn about the planet we live on, the clearer it is becoming that some of our activities can be detrimental to the environment. As such, when you’re making your decision as to whether to build or buy a home you have to consider the extent to which this could be harmful. Certainly, construction utilizes a lot of raw materials, can put pressure on local exo-systems, and on an industrial scale counts for around 38% of global emissions.
This is where buying an older home can be appealing. There is no additional consumption of resources, and you are unlikely to disrupt habitats when clearing the land. Even if the property isn’t quite up to your family’s preferred standards, undertaking some renovation isn’t generally as negatively impactful as building a home from scratch.
That said, though a construction project isn’t the most sustainable, there are ways that you can mitigate the issues. There is a growing trend of using reclaimed wood as part of the home construction process. This is material that has been salvaged from older buildings but is still a viable raw product. You can apply it to the structural elements of your home, along with decorative touches such as fireplaces and furniture. Building your own home also allows you to design it for maximum energy efficiency, utilize environmentally friendly insulation and building materials, and even install solar power throughout the building to allow for long-term sustainability.
It may well be the case that you are intending to build the kind of home that you can spend the rest of your days in. Something you can pass down to the following generations of your family. However, life is rarely that straightforward, and your circumstances and plans might change. As such, it’s helpful to consider whether a home you build yourself can represent a valuable investment should you need to sell it in the future.
The good news is that this generally tends to be an area in which starting from scratch can be preferable. Newly built homes tend to be more attractive to buyers than those which are older and have fewer modern conveniences. This means that you may be more likely to see a profit on your family home than if you spend time trying to sell one that has been around for decades. However, you do need to weigh this potential profit against the possibility that it might cost you more to build than it would to buy.
Another advantage is from the experience that you’ll gain through the process. You’ll understand precisely what goes into designing, preparing, and constructing each element of your property from the ground up. As such, if you decide to sell you can be in a good position to undertake any renovations that could make your property more valuable to buyers later on. It also means that you can cut down on the time and cost of getting someone else to do the renovations, allowing you to capture the window of opportunity for the best possible sale.
Building your own family home can be a rewarding experience. But it’s important to take time to consider whether your circumstances might mean it’s better to buy an existing property. With investment, commitment, and some research you can create a property that not only suits your family but acts as a valuable investment.