Moving to a new home is one of the biggest transitions we make in life. The process involves a vast array of decisions — from choosing where you want to live to picking out flooring and paint colors. Before one gets to that level of detail, however, there’s a bigger internal debate to have: building a house vs buying.

A sunroom with a white, wraparound couch, hand-built table, and mounted flat screen television.

Advantages of Building a Custom Home

If you’re considering which route you want to go, you’re probably wondering whether the upsides of a custom home are worth it. Truth be told, in addition to the obvious perks of building a house vs buying one, there are several that may not be immediately obvious.

Customizability

When folks do decide in favor of building a house vs buying one, customizability is often the reason why. While you can certainly renovate a home after you purchase it, this has obvious disadvantages when compared to simply paying for what you want in the first place.

Are you preparing to host family and friends over the fast-approaching holidays? Where buying a home can lead to compromise, building one allows you to create a space specifically for your family’s needs — giving you the perfect amount of room and extra features to make your home feel cozy and inviting for the holidays.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that even if one decides to buy a pre-owned home and renovate to their taste, not everything can be renovated. Corinthian Fine Homes employs some of the midwest’s top home building professionals, but even they can’t suddenly renovate a 50-year-old Colonial style home into a mid-century modern.

Latest & Greatest Building Materials

While lack of customizability is one of the more obvious disadvantages of buying a home, many homeowners-to-be don’t consider the inherent difference in quality. Building materials are constantly evolving, and what’s top-of-the-line today probably didn’t exist in 1975 when that luxury ranch-style home on Zillow was built.

For example, quite a few groundbreaking new building materials are currently expected to change the industry in the coming years. Rental equipment company BigRentz elaborates on their list which includes prospective advancements like modular bamboo and light-generating concrete saying, “Buildings crafted with the most modern materials will be more equipped to solve ongoing challenges, reduce their carbon footprint, and make an impact in the industry.” From more cost-effective builds to enhanced sustainability and beyond, the benefits of using the latest materials instead of what was used decades before can be vast.

Exposed wood beams on the ceiling above the entryway to a home with a big white couch.
Building a custom home means modern technology is on your side.

Budget Efficiency

Have you ever visited an all-inclusive resort or gone on a cruise? The “all-inclusive” business model is predicated on an understanding that enough people will pay for more in buying the package than they will actually consume during their stay. Likewise, when buying a pre-owned home, we will sometimes acquiesce to paying for things we don’t actually want and won’t get to fully enjoy. I.e. two extra bedrooms. “But hey,” we tell ourselves. “I suppose we could make use of them when we decide to start entertaining, right?”

Key Takeaway: Buying a house almost always means the buyer will either (a) pay for extra space, features, and/or land they don’t really want, or (b) settle for the opposite: not getting as much house as they want.

Choose Your Location

Location, location, location. That phrase carries a lot of weight in the building and real estate industries because at the end of the day, a beautiful mansion in the middle of the Sahara Desert won’t do anyone much good. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice where you want to live because your dream home happens to be 50 minutes away. When you build a custom home, what you’re really building is a future — a future inside any school district or zip code you like.

Sense of Ownership

There’s just something about knowing that no one else has ever set foot in a house without your invitation; that it’s all yours and always has been. This perk may be intangible and a tad decadent, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel pretty great. Building a custom home means you are truly the king or queen of your castle.

A slate grey entertainment center with a mounted flatscreen in front of a large, brown leather couch.
A good question for deciding on building a house vs buying one is this: Can I live without X, Y, and Z?

Questions to Ask When Building a Custom Home

If you choose to build your home, you may wonder about the process of engaging and brainstorming with your builder. While the best home builders are good at explaining their processes, working within your budget/timeline, and providing recommendations without overstepping, it’s a good idea to ensure you get a few questions answered up front.


What is your estimated timeline and availability?

How do you communicate delays or obstacles with clients?

May I see some examples of similar homes you’ve built?

Can you recommend an architect, or should I engage someone?


A project can only succeed when buyer and builder are on the same page. Establishing a line of communication and some agreed upon benchmarks when building a custom home will help set the stage for consistent progress as you tie up any loose ends with your old house and prepare to move in to the custom home of your dreams.