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Should I Buy or Build My Next House?

Whether you’re ready to purchase your first house or you’ve outgrown your current home, eventually there comes a time to move on. However, the hardest decision isn’t whether or not you should move – it’s whether or not you should buy a pre-built house, or build and customize a home on your own land?

While there are definitely pros and cons to modular home construction, it’s important to consider all of your options before deciding what works best for your family. However, when you decide to build a brand new modular home with Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington, you’ll be able to get your dream house for less than the cost of a traditional stick-built home. Not only is the cost to build a modular home more affordable – it will save you from the hassle and expense of renovating an older home. 

Whether you choose to buy or build a home, below you’ll find some of the pros and cons of each to help you make an informed decision.


Pros and Cons of Modular Homes

To buy or to build?


Buying a House

When buying a house, there are definitely a few different things to take into consideration. While you’re busy meeting with a real estate agent and touring home after home, you might actually be taking away time from building the home of your dreams.

However, there are many appealing advantages to buying a house that might work best for your lifestyle, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer.


  • It’s Easier
    • Convenience is an important factor for many home buyers. Buying a house rather than building one means you’ll make fewer decisions. You’ll know the total cost of your home right away and can negotiate with the homeowners to get the price you see fit.
  • You Can Move Sooner
    • Timing may or may not be an important factor in your decision to buy or build. If you are relocating to start a new job, you probably won’t have the time to wait for your new home to be built.
  • No Land Purchase
    • There is no need to locate or purchase land if you buy a house that is already built, which is appealing to many homeowners.
  • Lower Initial Cost
    • Buying a house usually has lower upfront costs when compared to building a traditional stick-built house.


  • Hidden Costs
    • Older houses can have hidden problems that can mean costly fixes, either upfront or over time. Toxic building materials such as asbestos, or outdated electrical systems that don’t meet building codes, are evidence of underlying structural damage. These are all potential problems that come with buying a home. Hiring a building inspector to look through the house can help, but an inspection won’t catch every issue. In order to get a high-quality home, sometimes you need more than an extra set of eyes on the project.
  • Lower Resale Value
    • An older, outdated house will have a lower resale value than a newer, more updated home. New home-based technologies and advances in energy efficiency are highly desired features for home buyers. It’s not always about the square feet, or floor plan – it’s about the incredible features you’ll have access to in your home.
  • No Energy Efficiency
    • Your new home will likely be less energy efficient than any house that you build. Not only does an energy-efficient home help the environment but it also saves you money on your utility bills. Upgrading a home to become more energy efficient can be costly, whereas if you build an energy-efficient home, you’ll never take the brunt of those costs.

Building a House

While the cost to build a modular home or stick-built home is different than buying a home, the home building experience is incredibly unique. Not only do you get to pick the perfect floor plan for your family – you can customize nearly every single part of your home. When building a home, the modular home customization process truly takes all the best parts of the home building experience and places them within your reach. While there are a few starting points to follow when building a home, first decide whether or not this is the right path for you.


  • Complete Customization
    • Customization is one of the best advantages of building a home. While you can always renovate an existing house, building a house allows you to customize every aspect of your home from start to finish. Working with custom home builders, like the team at Carolina Custom Homes, means you’ll be able to modify your home to suit your needs – including your floor plan.
  • Money-Saving Energy Home Improvements
    • Newly built houses are going to be much more energy-efficient compared to an older house that you buy. This will save you money on energy bills, and prevent expensive HVAC repairs or replacements. While the cost of a modular home might be more upfront, in the long run, you’ll end up with savings that speak for themselves.
  • Safety and Peace of Mind
    • Building codes and regulations on materials are always changing. When you build a house, you’ll know everything in your home is up to date, because your home builders have to follow the most current building codes. Your home won’t contain any toxic building materials, structural issues, water damage, pests, or mold. Buying an existing home just means you might have to worry about these unforeseen problems.
  • No Remodeling Required and Higher Resale Value
    • The average value and modular home price compared to an older home are significantly different. While your average and final cost might be different than when you buy a home, you’ll get all the features you wanted from the beginning. Newly built houses are more likely to have the updated features and finishes that provide a greater resale value. When you’re ready to sell, you won’t need to spend much on upgrades.
  • The Average Price of a Modular Home is More Affordable
    • It can actually be cheaper to build a house if you choose modular home construction over a traditional stick-built house. A modular home allows for the same level of customization with lower overall costs and a shorter timeline.


  • More Time Consuming
    • Building a home has a longer timeframe than simply buying a house that’s already built. Modular homes take on average 3-4 months to build, while most stick-built houses can take 6-12 months. However, the customization you get out of building a home will make your home a better fit for your family. The initial site work and time spent on constructing and customizing your home may make the wait worthwhile, but for additional peace of mind, take a look at How Long Does it Really Take to Build a Modular Home
  • Land Purchase
    • You’ll need land before you can start the planning and construction of your new home. However, when you build a modular home with Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington, all you need to do is pick out the land you want, and we’ll take care of the rest! Some people find buying a piece of land themselves is more rewarding because it gives them the freedom to live exactly where they’d like – for a few tips, review How to Buy Land to Build a House.
  • Lots of Decisions
    • Building a home is a more involved process than simply buying one, especially if you want customized features. That means more decision making on your part. Your builder or housing consultant can help guide you through the decision-making process, but a lot of those decisions fall onto your shoulders. If you’re feeling a little nervous, read our free guide, How to Prep Yourself & Your Family for Building a Home.

  • The Bottom Line

    When deciding whether you’d like to buy or build a home, it often comes down to key factors such as cost, time, and your own wishlist. It’s more convenient to buy a house that’s currently on the market, in the long run, it’s better to build the modular home. Because modular homes are built more efficiently than stick-built homes, you won’t be waiting very long to move into your new home.

    However, if you want more flexibility and customization in the home buying process, then it might be worth building a home instead. On average, modular home prices in North Carolina are realistic and affordable, so you’ll be able to find a floorplan that suits your needs without breaking the bank. Plus, the overall construction time is considerably less when you compare modular to stick-built homes. Combined with the additional customization features, hands-on customer service, and quality of work, modular home building truly speaks for itself.

    Just remember – the average cost of a modular home tends to change outside of its base price. The more features you add means your total costs will increase. For more information, read our free guide on The Basic Cost of Building a Modular Home.

    If you want a home that’s energy-efficient, meets high-quality standards, and is customized to fit your style, consider building a modular home. While there are pros and cons to building a home, in the end, you’ll walk away with the home you’ve always wanted.


    Are you ready to build the custom modular home of your dreams? Before you get started, take a moment to learn the advantages of building a custom modular home, and contact Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington to view some of our model homes. We offer virtual tours for many of our current floorplans, so you can start looking for your perfect home today!


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Carolina Custom Homes

Written by Carolina Custom Homes

Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington was founded with a mission to provide customers with an alternative, greener way to build. We partner with North Carolina’s top manufacturers to create both practical and luxurious designs for your home. We maintain a low operating overhead, which means that more of your money goes towards designing and building your perfect home. We provide you with high quality, custom modular homes at an unbeatable value.

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