It’s probably the oldest question in the property investment book: should I build my next home, or buy an existing one?

The very fact that this question has had such a long and illustrious history as a conundrum should provide a clue as to why the only definitive answer will always be: it depends.

Of course it doesn’t help that the choices in existing properties are bewildering: PrivateProperty.co.za lists thousands of properties in more than 4 500 SA suburbs – and hosts more than a million visitors a month.

But each person’s needs, desires, and budget are different, so the only correct answer is also: it depends.

Challenges

If you’re faced with making this decision, then, it’s worth knowing a little about the challenges – and triumphs – of building.

According to Nick Brits, a principle at Evolve Architects in Gauteng (www.evolvearch.co.za), two of the greatest benefits of building your new house are design freedom and the ease with which you can incorporate your green ambitions into the structure.

“The question of design freedom is an important one,” said Nick. “Very often people struggle to articulate what they want, and one of our roles as architects is to guide our clients on the exciting journey of attaining it. For them – as well as for people who have a fixed idea of their ideal home – building is the way to go.” (For an example of how Evolve Architects succeeded at fulfilling one client’s expectations, watch this YouTube video from Top Billing.)

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