“Home is where the heart is,” they say. But for an increasing number of millennials, it seems that the heart is at Mom and Dad’s.
The fact is that homeownership among millennials is on the decline. In fact, though millennials tend to have more education and higher incomes than young adults of any prior generation, they are also saddled with far more student loan debt.
They are also the generation born under the shadow of the Great Recession, and they are entering their working lives in a climate of continued economic uncertainty. For these newly-minted adults, signing the next fifteen or thirty years of their lives over to a mortgage lender can seem like a bridge too far.
For many, however, the answer may well be neither in buying a house nor in living above Mom and Pop’s garage. It may, in fact, be in building a house of their own. This article explores the benefits and drawbacks for millennials who are thinking of constructing the house of their dreams.
By far, the biggest advantage of building your own house is that you can have pretty much whatever you want or at least whatever’s in your budget. That means you get to choose exactly where your home construction cash goes.
For millennials, the first generation of digital natives who were practically born with technology in their hands, that’s probably going to mean smart home construction. If you buy an existing home and you want to turn it into a smart home, you may have to do some expensive retrofitting.
If you’re building your home from scratch, however, you can incorporate the tech you want right from the start. That’s going to make the smart bells and whistles less costly and more functional.
Millennials also tend to be more environmentally conscious than their predecessors, and they’re more likely to want a “green home.” Unfortunately, not many existing homes meet that standard, and turning an older home into a “green home” can easily prove more costly than building a new one.
While there are significant advantages to building your own home, the potential drawbacks are just as important.
First, building your own home takes time. A lot of it. If you’re on a tight schedule and you need to be in your new home relatively quickly, then building a house is probably not the best idea.
In fact, it takes on average seven months to build a new house, and that’s if things go well. Factor in the unexpected like weather delays, and you can easily stretch out that average by weeks or even months.
Then there’s also the question of cost. It’s almost inevitable that the final cost of your home’s construction will exceed what you initially estimated. What’s worse, sometimes it exceeds your projected cost by a lot. From the costs of clearing the land to secure necessary permits to hiring contractors, building a new home comes with a lot of additional expenses you won’t incur when buying an existing home.
Whether you choose to build or to buy, getting your first home is a big deal and a momentous decision. If you choose to build your first home, you’ll have the luxury of deciding what features to invest your money in. If you want green features and smart tech, you can have all that your budget allows. Building your own home truly gives you the opportunity to build your dream, and that can be an incredibly rewarding experience. At the same time, however, there are risks. Building a home takes time and a lot of money. In the end, though, building a home is building your future, and when the time is right, there can be nothing better.