Buying a New Home – New Build vs. Older Homes

Choosing your house is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Whether it is your first home or your fifth, you will need to carefully consider many factors in choosing your home. Location will usually be a significant determiner (including school catchment area if you have kids or are planning to), as well as budget, the amount of space, local amenities, parking, access to green space and public transport links.

One decision that you may be weighing up is whether to buy a brand new home or an older home. There are pros and cons for choosing both options, such as:

New build

Cons – You pay a premium for having a house that nobody else has lived in before. This often means that the value of your home drops the minute that you open the door with your new set of keys. The value of your home will also be affected by other factors like demand in your area, the overall market rates etc. but if you did for some reason need to sell the property within the next few years you may well make a significant loss. It is worth finding a similar, slightly older property for sale nearby and comparing to see how much extra you may be paying.

Often with developers working on building new housing estates, dates will move. You might originally be told that you can move in within around 5 months but this could increase if the work isn’t completed on time. If you are renting a property or trying to sell your own home, this can add complications in terms of where you are living and you may need to find temporary accommodation to fit in with new timescales.

Pros – Having a new home should mean that there are no hidden problems lurking beneath the surface and you wouldn’t expect to pay for many repairs for the first few years at least. You also will usually get to choose your own fixtures and fittings, so you will not need to spend money customising it to your own taste. Most new builds also come with a warranty, so any issues should be covered under this. Also, new build homes are usually developed with energy efficiency in mind, so your energy bills should work out lower than in older homes.

Older homes

Cons – There is much more chance of having some hidden problems such as leaky roofs, plumbing problems, damp problems, structural problems etc. Most of these kinds of issues will be highlighted through a survey but surveys cost money and you will have to decide the type of survey that you want to go with depending on your budget and the age of the property. Of course any of these issues that are highlighted can be taken into account before a sales fee is agreed. So for example, if damp is discovered at an estimated repair cost of £1000, the buyer could negotiate this off the house price. Or the seller could instruct a company of their choice such as Garratt’s Damp to complete the work and stick to the original offer before the survey brought up any problems.

You are also probably going to need to redecorate at some point, as it may not be to your taste.

Pros – You will not be paying the premium of a new home and there is less chance of a sudden fall in value (although this will be affected by the market). You also generally get more for your money, so you may get larger land and/or more rooms for the same price as a smaller new build. Also, you do not have to worry about building work being completed on the development site for another year or so that new build buyers may have to put up with.