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Should I Buy a New Build or an Old Home?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

There are advantages to both new builds and older properties – let us point out some of each to help you make your choice.

Choosing between a new build or an existing property is important when you are looking to buy a home. There are reasons for and against both, and ultimately it comes down to what kind of home is right for your needs and preferences.

We’ve compiled a list of the main things you should consider when looking at each.

Older homes

Period features

Older houses in the UK often have unique features from the period when they were built. Whether you’re looking for period facades or beautiful fireplaces, it’s hard to find new builds with the same kind of character as houses that have been standing for decades.

Established neighbourhood

While new-build homes go hand in hand with new neighbourhoods, older homes will be part of an existing community, so you’ll have an opportunity to meet your neighbours before moving in. You may also find that there are already established community initiatives, such as a neighbourhood watch scheme.

Price

According to On The Market, new-build homes can cost 20% more, like for like, than second-hand homes in the same area – and are often 20% smaller than homes built in the 1970s. Therefore, if space is a major consideration, older homes will give you more for your money.

Negotiating

Buyers have significantly more negotiating power when purchasing an existing property. You may be able to get a lower price depending on the condition of the property, especially once you have the report from your surveyor. Getting a Level 2 or Level 3 report will often pay for itself – and then some – when going into the negotiations.

Furniture

Another factor that can play into negotiations is the seller’s furniture. As a buyer, you can always enquire what items the seller plans to take with them, from white goods to couches and bookshelves. People often prefer to sell off their heavier items, especially if this means they can leave them exactly where they are.

Gardens

With the cost of land increasing, many new builds have small gardens – or none at all. Older homes typically come with larger gardens, offering not only outdoor space but also the potential to extend the property itself in the future.

New builds

No chain

Being part of a moving chain can be very frustrating, especially if your offer is accepted before the sellers themselves have found their next property. It can add significant delays to the moving process and often entails unexpected costs.

However, with new-build homes, you will be the first to live in the property, which means you won’t have to wait for the sellers to vacate.

Personal style

There are other benefits in being the first to live in a property, and decorating is a big one. You’ll have a clean slate for your own tastes and preferences.

No repairs

New builds are constructed to high specifications, so you know that everything should work properly as soon as you move in. Generally, you won’t need more than a Level 2 survey and you can be confident that all the fixtures, wiring and appliances are brand new and under warranty.

Less maintenance

New-build homes are likely to require less maintenance than their older counterparts, especially in the first few years. This is once again because they have been built to higher specifications: for instance, UPVC windows and doors require less upkeep than classic wooden frames.

Luxury features

New-build homes are much more likely to come with an added bit of luxury, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Large tubs, open-plan kitchens or breakfast areas are just a few of the features you’re more likely to find in a new build.

Energy efficient

According to Reallymoving.com, new builds can be up to six times more efficient than older homes and are usually built to be more environmentally friendly. This can save you lots of money on energy bills over time. New builds are often constructed to let in more natural light as well, which in turn will save you electricity.

Help-to-buy schemes

First-time buyers purchasing a new-build property are eligible for government-supported loans through Help-to-Buy schemes. While these are not available for every new-build home – and may not be right for every first-time buyer – they do offer a 20% discount in the form of an interest-free loan, with only a 5% deposit required.