Build or Buy a House? Questions to Answer before Deciding

  | 5 min read

If you are fortunate enough to get to a point in life where you can afford to own a home, one of the first questions you may ask yourself is, should you build or buy a house?

There are many beautiful homes available for purchase  in Tanzania, and buying a pre-existing home will save you from the long process of building.

However, you may not be able to find the perfect house, and instead may want to build your dream home – exactly as you imagined it.

So, if you are struggling with deciding whether or not to build a home. The following questions will help you determine the path to take.

1. Will you enjoy the process of building a home?

The building process can be incredibly grueling. You have to:

  • Buy a plot and deal with the inspection and legal aspects of purchasing land
  • Find and be able to work well with an architect and project manager (if you hire one)
  • Dedicate time to finding materials, comparing prices, checking inventory, visiting the site

All in all, building a house takes work and for it to be worth it you’ve got to either really want to do this, and/or actually enjoy the process.

If not, then it may be better to hire a great real estate agent who can find you a beautiful ready-made home.

2. How much will it cost you?

Most of us are not multi-millionaires (in dollars) who can afford to build or buy homes without budgets. However, we can sometimes make assumptions about costs that do not match the reality. So instead of just simply asking your cousin or best friend how much it cost them to build their house and using that to determine your budget – you should consult a real estate agent and construction specialist to determine how much your building or buying project will cost you.

The real estate agent will give you the market prices for land in the areas you are interested in. As well as a price estimate for the types of homes you may be interested in buying. Whereas, the builder will give you an overview of how much building your house from scratch will cost you.

You should weigh the costs against the benefits you see of buying or building a home.

3. Where do you want to live?

Where you want to live may strongly influence whether or not you can buy or build. For instance, if you really really want to live in well-developed areas close to the city center like Upanga, then finding a plot of land may be difficult and very expensive.

However, if you are flexible in moving to more remote places like Pugu or Bunju, where plots are affordable and abundant, then building may be for you.

Though, while the price of plots may be ideal, you should also consider your lifestyle. If you work in the city, are you willing to drive or take a bus for an hour a day/each way? Are there amenities that you need like grocery stores, restaurants, bars that are not available in the area?

4. How much time do you have?

Many people don’t plan to build houses overnight, instead it may take them years to complete the project. So, if you have time to spare or may not have all the funds needed to buy a house at the moment, then building may be for you.

However, while you are building your home, you may still be paying for living expenses elsewhere. So this sort of doubles the cost of living. Moreover, there are always unexpected delays due to bad weather, inventory theft and shortage of funds.

On the other hand, if you have the entire sum ready, then consider your buying options. A great real estate agent may be able to negotiate the price down and save you some money. Plus, when you buy a home, you can move in as soon as possible. And while they maybe renovation costs, at least you’ll already be in the home.

5. Do you have a vision?

Some of us have a clear vision of how we want our home to be – the design, the landscape, the finishing touches. If you are this type of person than building may be the only way to get your dream home.

Investing in a house is expensive, so you might as well get exactly what you want or try to get as close to your vision as possible.

Enjoy the process

While you may get caught up on the costs, technical and legal aspects of finding a home, don’t forget the bigger picture. Whether you build or buy, you are creating something that you (and your family) can enjoy for a very long time, and that is worth all the time and cost you put into it.

However, we don’t want you to be too stressed out! ZoomTanzania has some great contractors, builders and real estate agents that can help you on your journey to the perfect home.

Iman Lipumba
A digital storyteller, experienced in creating content that improves website visibility on search engines, enhances the user experience, and nurtures brand loyalty. With a background in the social sciences, an expert in researching complex ideas, and communicating them in engaging language to multiple audiences.