Build a House or Buy?

Build a House or Buy?

Should you build your next house?
The home above was a Coastal Living Idea House built by Historical Concepts.

If you had your choice, would you build a house or buy a “used” house?  Did you build your current home?  What about renting?  Does that work for you?  Do you live in a free standing house or townhome.  We actually travel between two homes, a traditional single family home and a condominium in a high rise building.  There are so many different kinds of homes, aren’t there?

Time to sit on the porch.
I never dreamed I would have a porch like this one. I love spending time on our porch with family and friends.

We moved into our house not quite three years ago.  My husband REALLY wanted for us to build a new home.  He wanted to work with an architect to design exactly what we wanted and needed.  That would have been fine if we were willing to move anywhere in central Florida, but alas, that was not the case.  He wanted us to be able to build our own home in the same community we were already living in a condominium in.  We are a quick 25 minutes to the airport on a not too busy greenway, we can walk to a dozen restaurants and some quaint little shops.  We have miles of lovely pathways and boardwalks throughout our community.  We just couldn’t find this anywhere else in the area.  On top of that, the zoning in our community allows for apartments build over our garage to be rented out, in our case, as a place to have my parents living out their golden years safely ensconced in the backyard!

Strolling through Celebration, Florida
It would have been hard to leave our community with all of the miles of pathways and boardwalks like this one.

SO, we had looked at houses for years in our community.  I can’t even tell you how many of these homes I have been in at realtor open houses.  We knew the areas of our community we wanted to be in and what style of home we wanted, but we would have to settle on something someone else had already built since there were no more buildable lots left in town.  I still joke that if I win the lottery I will buy a house and have it torn down so my dear hubby can plan a home from the ground up.

I look forward to adding shiplap to a wall in our master bedroom and change one of our rooms to a bunk room for our grandchildren. I am loving the coastal vibe of the closets and storage in this room!

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my house.  I really do, but we have done a lot of things to the house and we have a lot more to do.  Do you have a list of things you would like to change about your house?  We know it will take time, maybe years to change everything we want, but that is okay.  I a a firm believer that living in a space will make it easier to make all of those decisions about how you want to use your spaces and how you would like to change them.

We have come a long way in creating our coastal style home with a nod to nautical. The sailboat has been a favorite acquisition. That opening between the family room and living room had plastic shutters in it when we bought the house.

If you haven’t been reading Celebrate & Decorate for very long, you might not know that we sold our condominium here with all the furniture.  Now, that might sound like it would be great fun to buy all new furniture, but it also requires a lot of research and shopping, not to mention the expense of it.

This is the sideboard I discovered at Ballard Designs for our casual dining area.

If you had to move would you prefer to build that dream house or would you buy that house you drive by every once and awhile?  You know that house that you have always loved?  Do you think it is easier to plan and build from scratch or renovate?  Have you built a home?  Do you have renovation projects planned for your home?  We still have plenty of changes coming, I hope you follow along here at Celebrate & Decorate!

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  1. My husband and I built our first home, just a starter with a tract builder, but we nearly went insane. Never again. We bought our current home for the land and the view, the floor plan is terrible, the kitchen is tiny. But I sit on the verandah and all of a sudden I do not care about any of that. We have done extensive remodeling over the 12 years we have been here, and each new element makes a difference – particularly ridding the house of the hideous and dated white painted wrought iron railings inside and outside. I remodeled the basement on my own into a fabulous sewing and crafting space with gorgeous windows to that view too.

    1. Carole, what you are describing is why I do like the idea of a pre-built home that I can make my own. I too am living with a kitchen that is not ideal and a project list a mile long, but it is also fun to dream, plan, and renovate at our own pace. If we built a home and it was completely perfect, I fear we might miss our accidental hobby!

  2. We had two homes built and then moved in this one which was a fixer upper. We did a major renovation on it and ended up staying longer than anticipated. I enjoyed the process of building a home. I’ve always believed in owning your own home if possible vs. paying rent but it doesn’t always work out for some people. I found too though that each home brings different challenges for furniture layouts so it’s nice if you can start new or after you live in it a while you can make changes with what you have to better suit the situation. I love that you provided a place for your parents to live. What a sweet thing to do.

    1. Thank you Liz, having my parents near by is a blessing both ways. My husband and I are out of town often and they are very helpful looking after the property. Also when the great-grand children come into town with my daughter it is so convenient that they can just head out back to go for a morning visit!

  3. You must be reading my mind. We are empty nesters , retired and ready for a new-to-us home. I can finally afford the home of my dreams, and hubby has some desires for his garage kingdom too. Its so hard to decide, I definitely do not want to renovate. At this stage in life, we don’t need a large home but we do need relatively easy access to shopping, doctors and entertainment and hopefully grandchildren. This winter we have been doing the open house circuit, but more and more it seems we come back to custom building. Yikes, that scares me! I enjoy the ideas you share on your blog.

  4. Our current home here in the states was contractor built years ago, before & I got together. It looks so much better now decorated, but I do enjoy a home already built and just add to it. Also, we have acquired an overseas home on one of the Azorean islands, which is about 50 years old and has wonderful bones, however, it still needs some updating to our tastes. Because funds are limited we have to do things slowly, even though we are not quite retired yet. The kitchen and bathrooms are the only two rooms that need updates, I have ideas but would accept suggestions, any idea how I can do that? Is there a way to show our photos and have suggestions posted to give ideas? Thank you for your wonderful photos and articles, I too love the nautical theme.

    1. Maria,

      That sounds like such a fantastic project. My husband and I often like to renovate slowly because when we rush to do everything all at once we end up with regrets. Rather we renovate slowly, one room at a time with an overall vision that typically evolves as we go. Let me think of the best way to share photos and suggestions and get back to you.

  5. Hi Chloe

    My husband and I lived in Texas for 25 yrs. due to his job. During those years we had a favorite builder who built our first and second homes. We always bought new and custom homes. So when we decided to retire we said we were going to move home closer to family. PA, we got an architect to design our home that we worked with for years in Texas then searched for a builder in PA. It took years but finally came to fruition.

    Long story short, Yes I would build a house from ground up when allowed. You get what you want and the older you get you can design what you will need in your old age. Sad but true. This is our last house for us, kids are grown and have their own lives, we are older and too tired to build another! LOL!

    1. Maggie, that is very impressive that you have gone through the building process three times! We have completely renovated several homes, and it is true that there are always things that you have to compromise with when you buy pre-built. Hope you are very happy with your final custom built home, and are just enjoying it after all the work and patience.

  6. We have built two custom homes ! I can tell you this ! You will Have PROBLEMS you never even knew exsisted And it will be A COMPLETE NIGHTMARE unless you choose the RIGHT BUILDER ! That is the KEY to SUCESS ! Interview and GET REFERENCES of past homes they have built and TALK to the homeowners on satisfaction !! If a builder does NOT want to provide that info ! Do NOT HIRE HIM! TRUST ME on this ! Been there! Done that ! GOOD LUCK !

    1. Oh, it sounds like you have had so much experience. At least where we are, we won’t be building since there are no buildable lots left in the location we want to be. I am feeling the same way about contractors for remodeling the home we have as you have advised about builders!

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