Ask Paul: Is now the best time for us to build a new house?


Dear Paul,

My partner and I find ourselves in a financially secure position, with each of us owning our own homes.

We live in mine, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse (now getting too small), and my partner rents his out, as it's not somewhere that would be suitable for me to live.

ask paul clitheroe is now the best time for us to build a new house

Our goal is to do a knockdown and rebuild on his property so we can make our forever home purpose-built to cover my slightly impaired mobility.

But with everything going on, is now the best time to commit to a build?

I'm champing at the bit to move on from here, but we can't be oblivious to the obvious! - Lauren

Good question, Lauren. You know, there is always a reason to stand still.

Over many decades, I have had people asking me "when is the best time to buy shares, property or other assets?"

My answer has been the same for 40 years. The best time to buy shares or property is when you have some money. The best time to sell is when you need the money. Some people I know have been so paralysed by inaction due to fear of the future they have never made a decision and financially, of course, are huge losers.

Life is highly uncertain. In fact, the only certainty, apart from paying taxes, is death. I can guarantee you one thing. You and your partner, like all of us, will die. Every day needs to be well used.

You are "champing at the bit" and with two properties are well-placed to build your dream home. The only reason to not get moving is if a build would place you under undue financial stress.

My advice is simple. Stop worrying and get on with the build! We could be struck by a new variant of COVID, run over by a bus, develop cancer, be overtaken by aliens or hit by an asteroid. Or we could just drop dead.

I have absolutely no idea what will happen next. But as I look at some 9000 documented years of human history, it seems to me that we blunder along from one crisis to the other and I reckon that is what we will keep doing.

The build will go by quickly and I hope you and your partner have much joy and happiness in your new home.

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.
Filomena Gilbert
January 12, 2022 11.51pm

Paul you made a mistake here. You negkected to mention there is a severe timber shortage right now and it could tske 3 years before the home is complete. Take it from me whom had personal experience. Sell the home and buy another established one. Save yourself the headache especially as you have the financial ability and have a disability. Dont trust Builders as they are rogue cowboys!!

Matt L
January 19, 2022 1.57pm

You are right.

Buy what you need if you can rather than go through the hassle of plans, planning, construction and potential rogue operators.