Since I left the place I grew up at the little crossroads of Hoagland in 1980, I have had seven different addresses that I called home. Though it never happened, building a new home has always been one of those bucket list items for me. If you talk with those that have built, you get a mixture of responses. Many say they would never do it again, while a few say it was the best way to get the exact home they wanted. Just a few short years ago homes were being built everywhere. In recent years not so much.
Is it better to build your dream home, or find a home currently on the market? To get an idea I talked with two men that cover both sides of that debate.
While working at Auger Bit in Wilmington in 1968, Carl Boone was also building his first home. He said he had no idea what he was doing. There weren’t any You-Tube videos at the time to watch. It was all trial and error. He spent time with Roy Allen, who was well under way in building homes. Roy helped him to learn the trade and become a successful builder. He told me he wished he had an exact number, but he guessed he has built around 60 homes. His first crew consisted of his three small sons. When asked his thoughts on “to build or buy” he never hesitated. With today’s lumber prices and the fact his sons are grown now, he feels it is much better to buy.
On the flip side, a little later in 1972, Wesley Fender got his real estate license. He started working for Kelley Ferguson at Ferguson Realty. It was a second job for him. The first was a full-time farmer, and he needed the extra money to support his young family. The internet was years away so you had to be creative. As a Realtor, he would come knocking on the door and asking if the property was for sale. There was little paperwork involved and most of the time the deal was made and sealed with only a handshake. Interest rates were at an all-time high of close to 19 percent. All in all, it was a good time and properties sold as they always have.
For those of that grew up in the ’70s, as I did, the two partners also branched out into retail and started F&F Sporting Goods. When I asked Wes the same question, he said it depends on the times. For right now, he also felt it was better to buy than to build.
These are the opinions of two guys that have many years’ experience in selling and building homes. Both are men that you value and listen to what is said. How many homes have you seen recently built, or at least under construction? Not many, especially compared to a few years ago when homes were selling long before construction was completed.
Is this true just for our area? It does not appear to be. In about any larger city, new homes are going up in droves. New subdivisions with higher-end homes are springing up everywhere. Our local history proves that what happens in the city sooner or later will happen here.
Being in real estate I knew what these two veterans in the housing market were going to tell me. I must admit that if the timing was right and the right parcel of land became available, I would again consider building. I know where my strengths lie, and construction is not on that list. I would have to hire a local contractor. Wouldn’t it be very exhilarating to see your home go up right before your eyes? To plan, to design, and maybe even help build in some way? I, for one, think that would be a blast.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.