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I'd say always create a family, that way you have it saved somewhere for future projects, instead of trying desperately to remember which project you used your now much need family in, then having to spend hours looking for it.
I never model in place, honestly, if your doing that, just model the family, it doesn't take that much longer.
Model in place if the object wont be used many times because it's too especific, it's easier. Model a family if the object will be used many times in other projects, but it's not so easy to model a good parametric family
Thanks, you have pointed out some excellent points.
This is actually the kind of information i have been trying to find.