New vs Old

Making the decision to buy a new home over an older property is usually simply a matter of personal taste, but either way there’s plenty to think about. Here are a few pros and cons that should help make the decision process a little more easier.

Why buy a new home?

 Start afresh – You’ll have the chance to start with a blank canvas and a great specification from which you can choose colours and finishes, floor coverings and tiles, kitchen and bathrooms and really put your mark on your new home. Quite often it’s the look and feel of an older property and the work involved to put it right that will put buyers off.

  • Energy efficiency – New properties are much more eco-friendly and energy-efficient than older homes, reducing CO2 emissions by as much as 60% and saving considerable costs on energy bills.
  • Sustainability – Most forward-thinking developers today focus on using sustainable materials when building new homes. From sustainable timber, like bamboo and corkwood for flooring to wool and wood fibre that can be used for insulation, green buildings can reduce waste output by 70% – and that’s good for everyone as well as the environment.
  • 10-year warranty – Most new homes are covered by an NHBC 10-year warranty that insures homebuyers against problems arising from the building. It brings peace of mind for buyers and ensures developers build to the highest possible standards of construction.
  • Help to Buy – The Government’s new Help to Buy equity loan initiative has made it easy for people to buy their own home by lending up to 20% of the cost of a new home, which means buyers only need to raise a 5% deposit. It can only be used to buy a newly built property worth up to £600,000, which puts older properties out of range.
  • First-time buyers – Apart from the Help to Buy incentives available for first-time buyers, buying a new home is often the only option. Having saved hard to get a foot on the property ladder, getting the keys to a brand new home that comes with new appliances, fixtures and fittings can mean big cost savings and no stress.
  • Buying off plan – If you’ve found a property you love, looked at the plans and are ready to make an offer – and the earlier you start the ball rolling, the better the deal you’ll be likely to secure.
  • Long leases – New apartments and some new leasehold homes are usually sold with far longer leases than years ago, which removes the legal costs and inconvenience associated with renewing a lease.
  • No chain – This is usually top of the list of benefits for new-home buyers who have ever experienced the stress that can come with a chain of vendors and purchasers. Although building works can sometimes be subject to delays, the uncertainty of people further along the chain pulling out can make the prospect of buying an existing property very daunting.
  • New community living – Moving to a newly built community brings many advantages, from the chance for families to make new friends close by, safer places for children to play to the convenience of new local amenities.
  • Easy maintenance – Older properties often bring problems that can be more complicated and costly to correct, while today’s new build homes are designed with easy living and low-cost maintenance in mind.

Why buy an old home?

 Character – The draw of period features, unique layouts and established gardens can be irresistible to buyers who just don’t want to start from scratch. Established properties often boast an array of historical or quirky features that you simply wouldn’t see in a new property.

  • Refurbishment project – For many househunters, the chance to find a property that’s in exactly the right location and offers the potential to refurbish or rebuild is worth the work and expense required to create the home that dreams are made of. This is often the route for investors looking to make a good profit from a property transaction.
  • Location – If you’re got your heart set on a specific location, whether it’s a picturesque riverfront setting or a school catchment area, your only choice might be to go for an existing property because developers aren’t or can’t build in that area.
  • Doing a deal – The power to negotiate a purchase price can be far greater when buying an older home. If the condition of the property is sub-standard, improvements need to be made or there isn’t a demand for a home of a certain type or setting, the opportunity for an offer to be accepted can bring vast savings.

Make an offer with confidence – For buildings over 10 years old, there’ll be no NHBC warranty, but, by reading a building’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and carrying out surveys and research, you should have the confidence to make a worthwhile offer to the vendor knowing that it’s ticked all your boxes.

On balance

 The choice on whether to buy and old or new home is usually down to personal preference, but judging by the number of pros and cons we’ve researched, the confidence, security and ease that comes with a new-build property purchase might well, on balance, tip the scales in favour of a brand new home.

 With estate agent Savills’ October research showing that the volume of new homes is up by almost 50% on figures three years ago, it seems this is an opinion shared by an increasing number of today’s homebuyers.