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Is It Better to Buy or Build Your House?

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

Looking to own a property but unsure whether to buy or build from scratch? You're not alone. It's a common real estate dilemma, with many wondering which option is more cost-effective. While erecting a structure in Nigeria may seem like the obvious choice, the potential challenges that come with building your house may leave you feeling apprehensive.

On the other hand, purchasing real estate also has its downsides. So how do you decide which path to take? Let's weigh the pros and cons of both options to help you make the best choice for your needs.

Buy or Build Your House

Pros of Building Your House

Everything is brand new:

When you build a new home, everything is fresh and unused. This is in stark contrast to purchasing an existing property, which has already been lived in and may show signs of wear and tear. As the first owner of the property, you get to start with a clean slate.

Design control:

Building your own home gives you complete control over the design and layout. You can customize everything to suit your personal preferences and lifestyle, from the floor plan to the finishing touches. This means you won't have to worry about costly remodels or renovations down the line.

No major repairs:

Since everything in a newly built home is new, you won't have to worry about costly repairs for a long time. This is in contrast to buying an existing home, which may come with major issues that require expensive repairs.

Potentially lower costs:

Building a new home may actually be cheaper than buying an existing property, depending on various factors. Developers may offer lower prices on off-plan properties in order to meet financing requirements and begin construction. Additionally, building a home from scratch can be more cost-effective if managed properly, as opposed to buying from an agent or real estate firm that expects significant returns on their investment.

Cons of Building Your House


Constructing a new home in Nigeria takes time. The size and complexity of the project, as well as the season, can all impact the timeline. With house designs becoming more intricate and larger, the construction process can take even longer.

Risk of poor workmanship

There is a risk of poor workmanship when building a new home. If the construction is not done correctly or with inferior materials, it can cause structural damage to the building or even lead to collapse. This risk can be mitigated by hiring professionals and ensuring proper inspections are carried out, but it remains a concern.

Delay in moving in

Unlike purchasing an existing home, building a new one requires patience as you won't be able to move in right away. You may have to find temporary accommodation and incur additional rent costs until the home is completed.

Dealing with land grabbers

Land grabbers, also known as Omo Onile, can be a significant challenge when building a home in Lagos state. These individuals can cause delays and unexpected costs, making the process even more stressful.


Building a home can be a stressful and demanding process. If you are not equipped to handle the rigours of managing a building project, it may be best to consider purchasing an existing home to avoid stress and pressure.

Unpredictable costs

The cost of building materials in Nigeria is not fixed, which means that budgets may not always work out as planned. It's possible to exceed cost expectations, and there is no room for negotiation as there would be when purchasing an existing home.

Pros of buying an existing house

Clear understanding of the property

One of the benefits of purchasing an established home is that you have a clearer understanding of what you’re getting into. Any defects that may be present are likely to be visible or identified during pre-purchase building inspections. Moreover, buying a home in an established neighbourhood means you have a better idea of what the area is like in terms of lifestyle, schools and other amenities. Established homes are also believed to have character compared to new houses that may have a generic design.

Proximity to city centres

In Nigeria, finding virgin land to build on near city centres can be challenging. Buying an existing home in these areas may be the only option. Living closer to the city centre makes commuting to work, school and other essential services easier and less time-consuming.

Quicker move-in process

Purchasing an already-built home in Nigeria is a faster option than constructing one from scratch. Once you’ve completed the necessary paperwork and signed the contract, you can move into your dream home almost immediately.

Room for negotiation

Unlike building a home where the cost of construction is influenced by market volatility, purchasing a property allows you to negotiate the price. This could save you money and ensure you get the best deal possible.

Cons of buying an existing house

Not exactly what you want

The home you purchase may not be exactly what you were looking for, and you may have to adapt to quirks that you don't like.

Upgrade costs

Moving into a home and making upgrades can be a significant investment in both time and money. Even simple home renovation projects can be costly. You may have to spend extra money to make the necessary upgrades to make the building livable.

Decorating costs

In addition to closing costs and other upfront expenses, you may also have to invest time and money in bringing the home up to current standards, such as removing wallpaper, changing paint colors, or updating flooring.

In Conclusion:

After considering the advantages and disadvantages of buying and building a home, which option is better? The answer to this question depends on the individual's preferences, specific needs, and financial situation. Regardless of the option chosen, purchasing property should always be viewed as a long-term investment, and thorough research should be conducted to make an informed decision.

Source: Propertypro


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