Building your own house - wooden structure

Building Your Own House vs. Buying One

Owning a home is a goal for many people the world over, but that goal can be achieved in several ways.

Which is better: buying a home or building your own house from scratch?

The Sentimental Value of Building Your Own House

During the course of my life, I have watched my parents both build and buy a number of houses.

In hindsight, I’ve much preferred the homes they bought to those they built.

There’s one exception though which makes me think that building your own house might be all it’s cracked up to be. That home, the one we lived in during my teenage years, felt more like home than any other they’ve ever lived in.

Maybe it’s because I saw it built from the ground up, meaning that I knew things about the house such as why the tiles in the kitchen were different from all the other ones in the house, or why the area containing the children’s rooms was separated from the rest of the house by a solid wood door (for security), or that I had a hand to play in the house having a graveled platform area in the backyard (an in-built dance floor for all the great parties my parents threw).

The Drawbacks to Building Your Own House

Despite the wonderful memories that I have of that particular house, I also remember the tedious, endless site visits that are almost inevitable when building your own house—visits during which my parents, the contractor, and the architect seemed to have endless discussions about every small detail of the house.

Building your own house - an unfinished house

I also remember moving into the house when it was pretty much done though not 100% finished because the contractor hadn’t completed the house on time and yet was pussyfooting about forking out the penalty charge for this delay.

I also remember that the house never felt entirely finished for most of the first year that we lived in it as all the small issues that are normal for a never-before-lived-in home kept cropping up and had to be dealt with one after the other.

Buying a House

In sharp contrast is the experience I’ve seen when my parents have bought homes.

In the two experiences that stick out most in my mind, although my parents had to look at many different houses each time before deciding on which one to buy, eventually they settled on houses with wonderful features (many of which they would not have thought of themselves), and once bought, the houses were immediately, perfectly habitable.

My Preference

Needless to say, if ever I own a home of my own one day, then my hope is that I will be able to buy a house not build one.

Finances allowing, I plan to let someone else go through the hassle of putting together my dream home—in order to avoid all the hassles that come with building your own house—which I will buy only after it’s been completed and I’ve fallen thoroughly in love with it.

But I wonder, is my plan heavily influenced by the realities of life outside of East Africa? Is this plan a good one in our region? Are affordable, beautiful homes readily available in your country?

How about financing tools useful when buying a home? If buying a home is such a viable option in East Africa, then why are so many of us going through the trouble of acquiring land, getting plans drawn up, and building our houses from scratch?

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What Do You Think?

I don’t have the answers, but maybe you do.

I’d like to hear from you, my readers living in East Africa, some of whom probably own real estate of your own within the region.

What do you think about building your own house vs. buying a home in our countries?

If you’ve ever had to make a choice, which choice did you make? Why?

Is this a choice you’d recommend to others?

Please feel free to expound on any of the reasons that you recommend choosing one option over the other.

I am keen to hear what you have to say.

Until the next time,

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2 thoughts on “Building Your Own House vs. Buying One”

I’ve always thought I would buy a house too, and seeing some of my relatives (including my parents) going through the hustle of building (and having worked on building sites in a past life), my resolve has hardened even more over the years. Unfortunately, given the way our cities are growing (Kampala being the case in point), I find that it is just as difficult to find a house to love as it is to find a location to love! Which is why I finally had to buy land in a location that I love, and will have to be building after all!! Ah well, I think the the location will totally be worth the trouble! 🙂

Hi Vive,

Thanks for your feedback. I agree with you: the location will totally be worth the trouble! I can’t wait to see your new home once it’s completed! 🙂


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