Buying A House vs Building A House

So you’ve decided it’s time to own a property but you are torn between buying your house or building it from scratch. It is a normal real estate riddle: should I buy or build, which is cheaper? In Nigeria, erecting a structure might seem the way to go but thinking about the issues that come with building might scare you away, but purchasing real estate also has its own disadvantages. So which option is the right one for you?



Pros of building your own house

Everything is new

As the name implies, everything is new in a newly built house. as opposed to getting an existing property which already has years of use by the previous owner you get to start fresh with a new property as the first owner.

Design Control

You won’t have to worry about remodelling the house if you build it as everything is what you want from the start. You get to customise the property’s details to suit your lifestyle and tastes.  you can have everything your way from the carpet in the den to the cabinets in the kitchen and everything in between, both structurally and design-wise.

You don’t have to worry about big repairs

With everything new, you won’t have to worry about major repairs like roof leakages anytime soon. An existing home can come with major issues that will need you to spend extra money fixing.

It may be cheaper

is it cheaper to buy land and build a house in Nigeria? Well, it depends on certain factors. Building a home might be cheaper as most times developers have a quota of properties they need to sell off the plan in order to meet their finance and begin construction. This means you may be able to find lower prices on offer. Building a house afresh is most likely going to cost you less especially if well managed while buying one from an agent/real estate person will cost more because those that build also expect huge returns for their project.

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Cons of building your home

Building takes time

If you’ve asked anyone who has had a home built in Nigeria, you’ll know that it takes time to construct a home. The type of building, the season are also factors that will determine how long it’ll take for your home to be completed. house designs are typically larger and more complex these days and it also affects the timing.

Risk involved

There are certain risks involved in the construction of a new project. Poor workmanship can ruin the structure of the building, cause it to collapse especially if you can’t inspect the building or get a professional to do it. Some contractors use inferior materials and this will cause major damage to the house in the long run.  A house for sale that’s already standing has gone through the scary construction phase and may hopefully stand throughout your stay there.

You can’t move in right away

You’ll need patience if you plan on constructing your house as you won’t be able to move in for a while as opposed to buying one and moving in as soon as the deal is completed. You may have to find somewhere else to live for the main time till your home is built and that might mean extra rent cost.

Land grabbers

The real estate construction situation in Lagos state is not complete without including Land Grabbers (Omo Onile). Land grabbers serve as bottlenecks in the construction scene and you should be willing to deal with them if you are opting to build your own home instead of buying. They won’t only slow down the process but also cost you more money than you budget for.


The stress and pressure that comes with erecting a building in Nigeria can make you pull out your hair. If you are not the type that can cope with the rigours of building projects, you should consider just buying an already built house. It saves you the stress of monitoring your building project the entire period and developing a high blood pressure.

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The cost is not fixed

The price of building materials in Nigeria is not stable and this will definitely affect the cost of erecting a building. Budgets don’t always work in the building of a new home as you most likely will exceed cost expectations. There is no room for negotiations like when you want to buy a house where you can negotiate the price.


Pros of buying an existing house

You know what you are getting

When it comes to established homes, you know you’re getting in three key ways:

First, the potential defects of an established home are often visible or show up in the pre-purchase building inspection to give you a warning about what you’ll face once you move in.

Secondly, buying an established home usually means buying into an established neighbourhood.

Finally, established homes are said to have character, whereas new homes can have the “cookie cutter” feel, especially in new estates.

Closer to a city centre

Buying an already built home in Nigeria might mean having to live close to the city centre. In a city like Lagos where it is hard to find virgin land to build in major parts as all the land is already occupied. An established home in an area like that is more likely to be available as an option. Thinking about your commute time to get to and from work, schools and job opportunities will make living close to the central business districts an important consideration.

It is a faster process

If you are hoping to move into your home as soon as possible, buying an already built home might be the option for you. It is much faster to settle and move into an established home than to build a house from scratch. You can move into your dream house as soon as you sign the contract and done with the major paperwork.

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Room for negotiation

Buying a property leaves room for negotiation as opposed to building one where you can’t really predict how much you’ll spend on construction as the building market in Nigeria is not stable.


Cons of buying a house

Not exactly what you want

The home you buy might not be exactly what you want and you might have to deal with buyers remorse and have to get used to the quirks in the house you didn’t like before you bought it.

Upgrade Costs

Having to move into a home and make upgrades can be a major time and money investment. Even the simplest home remodelling projects can cost a lot of money. You’ll have to spend extra money to get the building to something you’ll want to live in.

Decorating costs

Aside from paying closing costs and other upfront costs, you might have to invest some time and money to bring the home up to current standards by removing wallpaper, changing paint colours or updating flooring.


After analysing both the pros and cons of buying and building a home, which is better? The answer to what would be a better option will be based on the owner’s personal preference, individual requirements and financial situation.

Regardless of the option that the owner chooses, a property should always be viewed as a long-term investment, and the necessary research should be done in order to make an informed decision.




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