The age-old question of built vs buy, I get this question at least 3 times a week, and the answer is always the same, build, I say build because if I say buy I lose a client, but my honest opinion is that it depends on your location, it’s the as when you want to build a shipping container house, the cost is mostly determined by where you are and how far away from the suppliers are, it can also be cheaper to buy a house than to build it, but then the reasoning is the house has to be built before its sold so how is it more expensive, the answer is not clear cut but let’s make it as clear as possible by looking at a few things you have to consider before deciding what route you want to take.

Size Matters

Size really does matter it’s obvious that a smaller house will cost you less per square feet(sqm) than a larger house, whether you buy it or build it, the only difference the overall cost does not stay constant, the cost of construction has got so many things that can change that price even during construction, while the cost of buying a house stays constant,

Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into, focus on your budget, don’t stray away from it, anything else can come after you’re done with the house.

Type of House Matters

Building a double story house is always cheaper than a single-story house plus it leaves a lot of room for future development, look at it this way you cut your foundation and roof in halve or even smaller in some cases, there’s however other things that come into play like the structural elements that puss the price of you house up but even that should not drive the cost up too much, even this is not black and white, for instance, are you building with wood or concrete,

find out how much the contractor is charging per square feet, and if there is any difference in cost between the different types of houses.


location, location, location…. this might just be one of the most important factors, land is expensive in any urban area, it gets cheaper the further you get from the CBD with rural land being the cheapest, note that installation of basic services gets expensive the further you are, you might get the land cheap but still have to transport your material plus drainage and plumbing will push the cost of construction up especially if the pipes servicing your area is a couple of miles away.

Another thing to keep in mind is that un-serviced land is always cheaper than serviced land, but cost more to service, never buy unserviced land unless you’re a developer, it will only leave you with a lot of migraines.

Do your research, go to the site before you buy, cheap doesn’t always mean cheap, you don’t want to be blasting and clearing land you’ve just bought, all this will add extra cost to your house.

The alternative is not fake

using alternative building materials doesn’t mean that your house is sub-par, you’ll save money in the long run by installing laminated or vinyl flooring, it’s not wood, but look at the advantages you get, its water-resistant and scratch-resistant plus its cheap.

This alone will allow you to put your money where it matters I know facade is important but you want the house to still stand after a couple of years.

Building Materials

We love buying material that does not add any value to the house, buying exotic wood from another country seems like a great idea but will not be great on your wallet, only do it if it reduces the cost of maintenance on the house, people living in brick houses will not understand this because a brick house virtually needs no maintenance, except for a paint job every few years or so.

Building your house far away from material suppliers also determines the final cost of construction unless your supplier provides free shipping, which is a rarity in the construction business.

Upgrade Later

Go standard when you build your house, I always say that the money is yours even if the bank finances your house you still have to pay back the money with interest, look at what the contractor offers, and then go shopping to see if you cant find alternatives, you can always sell what you have now when you want to upgrade in the future, there is always someone that wants what you have, so chill on the expensive light fixture and the double glazing.

Building materials have evolved, there’s always a robust alternative to traditional material, and if your contractor cannot install them then you have the wrong guys.

Get What You Want

Don’t be forced into going for things simply because the contractor says he knows better, the only way you safe money is to be actively involved in in the construction, you should have an understanding from the beginning, he works for himself but he also works for you, it’s only for this project and it’s done.

You will end up paying for more when you and your contractor don’t understand each other, also make sure they have insurance you don’t want to end up paying double for their mistakes.

Be Your Own Contractor

This is a bit tricky and is something I normally don’t advice anyone, it can save you a lot of money at the end, the only downside is you get to have all the responsibilities that normally would go to the contractor, you need to get the insurance, buy the material yourself get all the building permits, pay the workers, it feels like it works when you watch self build tv shows, but real life is a lot different.

Do it if you have some knowledge, run away if you don’t.


The only reason to build rather then buy is if you want the house to be yours, I have seen many cases where the building is actually cheaper than buying especially if everything from the land, services, and location are cheap, it’s getting harder to find land in cities to build on, it’s even getting harder in this environment of speculation where people pull prices out of thin air,

I can tell you one thing location for me is one of the biggest factors, for starters, Stay away from the CBD(Central Business District)

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