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New Build Houses vs Old Build

12th May 2022

By Ben Walker

Types of Mortgages

New Build Houses vs Old Build

New Build houses can be a fantastic opportunity to get a high quality, up to date property. But they are not without some major disadvantages. This short guide will quickly run through new build and older houses, so you can decide which one would be best for you.

When looking to buy a new house, there are so many different decisions to make. One of the most important is whether to buy a new build or old build house. There are many benefits to both types of houses, but both also come with cons, so making an informed decision is all the more important.

What’s the difference

Simply put, a new build is brand new, never having been lived in. An old build will have had at least one previous owner. Sometimes, modern homes will be referred to as new build homes, but make sure you check that there have been no previous owners.

Which is better?

It’s very hard to say whether a new build is better than an old build property. It completely depends on what you are looking for.

New Build Houses

Pros

Energy efficient – having been built with all the latest technology, often new builds have far superior insulation and energy efficient appliances, saving money in the long run. Also may qualify for some of the discounts being offered by mortgage lenders for energy efficient homes

Builders warranty – many new homes come with a warranty supplied by the developer. These warranties usually last for around 10 years, allowing peace of mind in case issues arise. But make sure you check what is covered as you can lose cover on items over time.

No chain – This means that there is no one moving out of the house that you’re buying. Often, the sale of a house cannot go through until the current owners have somewhere to move to, which can cause delays. As you are the first person moving into this house, the chain ends with you.

Home buying schemes – Fortunately there are a few schemes to help people buy new build properties, such as the government’s Help to Buy scheme. Always make sure you’re checking to see if you can take advantage of any schemes.

Extra incentives – More often than not, developers will add bonuses to make buying a new build more enticing. This could be by covering your stamp duty, offering better fixtures and fittings or various other offers.

More personalisation – Sometimes, when buying a new build home, you can have some say in the final style of the property. This could be with regards to carpets, flooring, bathrooms and kitchens, which could save you money on remodelling. 

Everything is brand new – Everything in the house will have been unused, and so less likely to need replacing. This means new build homes in general should need less maintenance. 

Cons

Smaller rooms – Generally when compared with older homes, new build homes have smaller rooms. Make sure you think carefully about whether you can fit all your belongings in.

Space – In order to make a bigger profit, new build homes end up being squeezed onto plots, and so have less space between them. This means smaller gardens, overlooking and maybe parking problems too.

Space – In order to make a bigger profit, new build homes end up being squeezed onto plots, and so have less space between them. This means smaller gardens, overlooking and maybe parking problems too.

Build quality – New builds are made with more modern building practices, but can still have flaws. It could be as simple as a door not fitting correctly, to a leaking roof. Make sure you get a snagging survey to check the property with the developer.

Build delays – If you buy the property before it has actually been built, there is a chance of delay. This could have further effects, and you could even lose your mortgage offer, or mean you aren’t able to sell your old property.

Old Build Houses

Pros

Size – Older properties tend to have more space, both inside and outside. If space is important, it’s worth shopping around for the right place.

Character – Older properties come with a history. If you’re looking for a place that tells a story, an older Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian home can fulfil that need.

Easier to check – When buying an older property, it’s much easier to see what’s actually wrong with it. Getting a survey done will give you peace of mind knowing exactly what issues there may be.

Can add value – It’s easier to add value to an older property, as new builds have less space to expand into. With older properties, you can extend the kitchen areas or convert attic space to add room and value. Or just decorate and update to add value instantly

Cons

Chains – A chain is when you are buying a property from someone, but they can’t move out until they buy a property, and the chain could be never ending. With older properties, the chances are you could be stuck in a long chain waiting to be able to buy the property.

Poorer energy efficiency – Older homes are generally worse insulated and have older, less efficient appliances and heating systems. This can lead to higher bills.

Higher maintenance – As older properties have been around longer, they often need more maintenance to keep them looking good and safe.

Renovation – An older home may not be as up to date as you would like, so you may have to invest to bring it up to date.

Wear and tear – After having plenty of owners, older properties can end up seeming a bit beaten up. This can increase the cost, especially if there are some recurring issues.

Whether or not you decide to go for a new build home is completely up to you. Ultimately, while new build homes may offer many advantages such as new appliances, being more energy efficient and the lack of chain, the extra costs involved and lack of space could put many people off them. Older homes may present a very attractive alternative, or if you’re not sure then renting may be the best course of action for you.


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