The truth is - it depends. That's because no two families, properties, or houses are exactly alike. Everyone has different needs and wants - and different time frames in which to address them.
There are so many factors to consider, and as you're making an investment for life, it's crucial that you address them as early as possible so that you make the right decision for you.
What is certain is that you should make sure you are clear on the following four points before you sign on any dotted line:
1. Build vs buy urgency
Do you need to move quickly to accommodate a new baby on the way? Or are you looking to downsize as your last child has left the nest for good?
If you need to move quickly, purchasing an existing home can be a good deal, as you'll have the ability to move in right after you settle.
If you have more time, buying a vacant plot or a house and land package might be more worthwhile. Just be aware that the construction of new homes may be delayed by anything and everything, from poor weather conditions to busy builders to council approvals.
So think about how quickly - or not - you need to move.
2. Home is where … the land is
While many of us would love to have the freedom to build our ideal homes wherever we like, achieving this can be complicated. Maybe your wish is to build your dream home from scratch on empty plots in an inner-city suburb, but finding a vacant block at a decent price can be extremely difficult. Likewise, knocking down an existing home and rebuilding from scratch can sometimes be far more costly than expected.
If you have your heart set on a new build, there are many excellent blocks of land, or land and home packages being released in welcoming communities just a hop, skip, and a jump away from a city's centre. Not only can they be more affordable, but you might just be surprised at the good schools, public transport, and shopping facilities that are close by.
3. The right touches
After years of renting or living with others, you're more than excited to outfit your new house just the way you'd like it.
Brand new houses can be crafted to your taste (and budget) from the foundation up. Whether you want to use eco-friendly building materials, state-of-the-art technology, or the latest designer tiles, it's far easier to incorporate them into a completely new structure.
Existing homes can be harder to renovate and extend, and on occasion they may end up being more costly than knocking down and rebuilding, especially if you need to preserve certain features.
4. Stamp duty
Depending on your state or territory's legislation, first home buyers may be privy to stamp duty concessions on both empty plots and existing house purchases, so check first to discover your eligibility. Generally, first home buyers receive more benefits and concessions for purchasing homes or plots of lands up to a certain value.
But be aware that by purchasing a property with a house, instead of just a vacant block, you could pay more stamp duty as the value of the house is included as part of the tax's calculations.
What's the verdict?
Should you build your dream home from the ground up? Or update an existing house? Make sure you've reviewed the above points carefully. Your decision will then be much easier to make.
Continue to selecting a great block of land.