Many of our clients struggle with the buy or build a homequestion when looking for a second home. For some it isthe opportunity to build their dream home and for others it is the chance to try and save some money. Most of the time the reality of building is much different from what the buyer originally imagined. Having been the general contractor on 5 personal residences, I have experienced the challenges and have enjoyed the rewards. Before you start down the path to build a home, ideally your dream home make sure that you have thoroughly examined the existing inventory market.Currently in the Winter Park area there are 24 single family homespriced from $750,000 to $1,000,000, there are19 homes priced from $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 and 14 homes priced over $1,500,000. Many of these homes are priced below replacement cost and have motivated sellers so if you find one that you like you will not regret your decision. Although purchasing an existing home is the most expedient way of accomplishing your goal of owning a second home, the lure of building may be too strong to resist. With construction prices being 25% less than they were in 2007, now is an excellent time to build. When weighing the decision to build or not make sure that you understand that the price per square foot quoted by builder is based on total square footage of the project so it usually includes garages and decks. This is a very different number than what realtor will quote which is based only on heated finished space and does not include garages or decks but does include the lot. Dont make the mistake of assuming that building for $200 per square foot is a better deal than purchasing a home for $350 per square foot because this is not an apple to apple comparison. Understanding the financial commitment involved in construction should be the first step before you start lot shopping.