is building a house cheaper than buying

Is building a house cheaper than buying?

Is building a house cheaper than buying? Most agree it is. A lot argue that it is better to buy a house as it saves time and worries. Most people don’t have the initial capital to pay for a house hands down but can conveniently start from buying land to perfecting the land documents to obtaining building permit to preparing the soil and building foundation. The rest can occur as salary comes and it would be a gradual process until after about five year we can have a house standing.

Governmental processes makes this even more difficult

I have a lot of people caught in this crossroad and we don’t have the government to thank for making this decision a tough one. We are not supposed to decide this for ourselves.

In developed nations the government takes care of the housing needs of her citizens and there are various mortgages to key into that would not take much from you and in 10-30 years the house is truly yours. In our country we have to fight and struggle for everything and this is why we have a high mortality rate today.

Leaving that aside, the process for getting approvals for building today is cumbersome in most states especially Lagos state, Nigeria. Every stage (from surveying approval; to perfecting your documents, to getting building approval) at the lands bureau requires some sorting and it takes a while before you get your documents back.

This makes you spend a lot of time and money checking and returning before you get your documents for the next stage. Encouraging corruption and bureaucracy, these steps can be reduced and it should be done electronically, so even without going to the land bureau at Alausa, you can do most of these steps without human intervention and actual paper movement from table to table.

After Approvals then what?

Now with the land itself, let me endeavor to answer this frequently asked question: How long does it take for a builder to build a home? it takes between six months to nine months to build a 3 bedroom bungalow through. This is if you have all the resources needed and this I have crosschecked with actual builders and with several real estate websites. This covers the period after approval; the actual preparation of the land for the foundation, block setting, the flooring and the casting of the frames to the decking and the roofing. Something else you must keep in mind is the weather. During the rainy season it takes longer and if you can build in the dry season it would make the building process a lot faster and easier.

Stages in building a house:

  1. Soil testing
  2. Block setting
  3. Foundation
  4. Flooring
  5. Building and casting of frames
  6. Decking
  7. Roofing

Now, I will not go into the details of boring you with the details of each stage but will explain enough to let you know what each entails. The essence of this website is to make building simplified and easy to understand and not through about technical jargons and make it difficult to understand nor emulate.

  • The 3 stages of Soil testing and Block setting and Foundation must be carefully and properly done. This entails testing the soil to know exactly what kind of soil it is so as to know the kind of foundation you would need to erect.
  • Checking the landscape to ensure your building would stand properly on it and that it can withstand the forces of nature.
  • If the floor is below the sea level or low it would be sand filled at this stage.
  • Clearing the ground of all roots and obstacles.
  • Mark the points on the ground where you want the walls located and digging.
  • Wetting the ground and getting it ready for building.
  • Setting the wood and iron rods and beginning the foundation.
  • Working on the floor level to apply of plastic, gravel and iron rods.

Though the video is that of building a garage it shows the steps listed above.

This is before the applying of liquid concrete to the floor.

Smoothing and curing of the concrete.

All these when properly done would take about 3 months.

Anyway these days, people don’t get to build their home by themselves. They employ the use of a builder and the builder is trained in this business. They know all the steps needed to build a house but you have to closely monitor and ensure that he or she does what they claimed they would do.

The time duration like I stated most times takes up to 7 months for your builder to hand you your finished house. A 3 bedroom bungalow would cost about 7-16 Million Naira depending on the location to build but that same house can cost you from 18-25 Million Naira to buy.

Buying a house

Though you may have to spend a lot to refurbish and reconstruct to meet your heart desire. Buying a house presents a great solution to the above and the time spent to develop and fix the above.

You most likely will get to spend more but it takes you off going through the process of perfecting the land documents that can get crazy and the building approval stage that can get even crazier to the point where you either buy a carcass on a land that has been perfected to buying a house and just fixing the plumbing…this seems to have problems every time you move into a bought house and maybe changing some few things in the rooms and kitchen instead.

There are many developers today known to build good quality houses and they can be taken advantage of instead of building from scratch.

The cost is cheaper for building a house than buying a house but what is saved is lost in man hours and energy to achieve the same output.

Tony Usoro
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