AdviceMoving house tipsPhil Spencer

Buying a New Build Vs an Old House

When buying a home there are an infinite number of things to consider: from the location, to the type of property and its age. Like every other variable in the house buying process, there are pros and cons to buying a new build or a re-sale one.

Buying an older home – the pros

One of the biggest advantages of buying a second-hand home (or a resale, as estate agents call them) is price; new properties are generally more expensive.

Buyers shouldn’t be put off by a home that needs a bit of work. As long as the structure is sound and the work needed is cosmetic it won’t take long to make the alterations. It could also save you money by doing it yourself, rather than paying for someone else’s décor Plus it’s likely that you’ll be able to turn a bit of profit when you come to sell.

Taking on a house that needs to be refurbished needn’t be a turn off either. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do and with some time and money it could prove to be a good financial and lifestyle investment.

By conducting the work in stages, starting with the kitchen and bathrooms for instance, means that if you’re prepared to live with a style that isn’t to your taste for the short-term, you will be able to afford to buy more house for your money and get your dream house in the long-term.

buying a new build

Buying an older home – the cons

If you’re considering buying a resale, look out for any maintenance which has been neglected. A lot of small problems, if ignored, can cause structural damage and cost a lot to put right.

Guttering and roofing isn’t always visible – out-of-sight and out-of-mind. If there are leaks, missing roof tiles or rusty metal gutters, water may have penetrated the house and can be affecting structural timbers. Missing slates or tiles that have slipped out of place can be a sign that the roof isn’t in a good condition and may need to be replaced, which would be very costly. Maintenance like this should be at the top of the list to fix, before you consider cosmetic changes.

Dry rot is another thing to be aware of and it’s easy to spot, simply by its smell. A musty scent and cracked woodwork is an indication that there could be dry rot present. Caused by fungus, it’s costly to replace all the wood in the structure if it’s been infested. If you’re prepared to take the risk you could negotiate on the price, however!


Buying a new build – the pros

The benefit of a new home is that you’re not waiting for someone to move out. All you’ll need to worry about is selling your property and not the upward chain delaying your move in date. There also tend to be better finance options avaliable for new builds, as opposed to older ones, thanks to both government and developer incentive schemes.

There are some clear advantages to a new build: there’s no work that needs to be done and it’s likely that the property will be fitted with all the latest designs and technologies, so you won’t need to update décor or fixtures for some time. In many cases you can even specify what carpets and paint colours you’d like used.

New homes are generally more eco-friendly than older properties, as a result your energy bills will be reduced as well as your impact on the environment. Security is also better, this has the obvious benefits of your house being more secure and it could reduce your insurance premium significantly. Probably the biggest is pro is the reassurance a new build supplies; most new homes come with a 10-year warranty.

buying an older home

Buying a new build – the cons

They cost more. You’re paying more for the luxury of a new home that’s never been lived in. It is worth bearing in mind that even the highest quality new homes will have a few snags. A snagging list is common practice for new builds, this means the builder will come round and fix any glitches, but this can become time consuming.

Depending on when you move in, you’ll have to put up with a lot of noise and dust while the rest of the scheme is being completed – this can take 2-3 years. If you move in at an early stage of the build you will not have a community around you and many of local facilities, such as shops and cafes, might not be open yet.

A big concern nowadays is the house building company running out of money. This can result in the schemes not being finished as shown in the brochure or not finished at all! This is the risk of buying a house off-plan: you’re buying a house that hasn’t been built yet and there is the risk that it might not turn out exactly how you expected it to. You also can’t move in until it’s ready!

A major downside for people who are looking to add value, is that with a new build you’ll be paying top wack for a brand new product. It’s difficult to improve new properties and make a quick buck.





Phil Spencer

Phil Spencer doesn’t need much of an introduction, he’s TV’s most well-known property presenter, having co-presented Location, Location, Location and Relocation, Relocation for over 10 years. Phil'ls blog posts focus on adding value and advice/ tips for when you're buying or selling your house.

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