To Buy or Build a Home in Santa Cruz … That is the Question

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 11:01pm.

You want a new home in Santa Cruz, but you’re not sure whether it’s best to build a new one or buy an existing home.  The first thing you should do is identify your priorities.  Do you dream of a customized house built from the ground up, or is living near all the action in your ideal neighborhood most important to you?

Before you make up your mind or put in an offer, take the time to prioritize the following:

• Location - Can you find land to build on in your desired location? If not, are you willing to consider a different area if it means you’ll get a house tailored to your specifications? If you’re extremely location focused, you might have to give up the idea of building your perfect house and concentrate on available homes in the area.

• Timeline - How flexible is your timeline? If you absolutely need to be moved into your new home in Santa Cruz on a certain date, don’t even think about building. Building a house always seems to extend past the estimated completion date. If your timeline isn’t flexible, it might be time to start looking at existing homes.

• Renovation - Are you willing to renovate an existing house? With property values staying consistently lower than the cost of new, custom construction, renovating an older house may get you a lot more bang for your buck. However, do your homework first to find out exactly what needs to be done and at what price because renovation costs can skyrocket if you run into unexpected problems.

• Communication - Do you want to deal with builder headaches? Sometimes, even the best contractors can be difficult to work with. You’ll need time to drop by the building site on a regular basis to make sure everything is going according to your plan.

• Resale Value - Are you likely to re-sell your new property in the relatively near future? If so, you might be better off buying an existing house. In new construction neighborhoods, most potential buyers will be thinking about building instead of buying.

Ultimately, you can get a lot of satisfaction from either choice — just make sure you know what you’re getting in to. If you need help deciding whether to build or buy your new home in Santa Cruz, call me at 831.662.6522 or email me at

For additional information please visit my website at





About Lauren Spencer

Award-Winning Santa Cruz REALTOR®

Lauren Spencer is your local real estate expert, specializing in Santa Cruz real estate and surrounding communities—this is where she lives, works, and plays too. Let her know your questions about the community and county and she'll be happy to fill you in on all you want to know! Lauren Spencer has consistently been voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise. Call her at: 800.226.4717.

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