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Buying a modern home – the pros and cons

When you are house hunting, there are so many decisions to make that choosing a home can quickly seem daunting. So to help, we list some comparisons between older and new build properties to give you some direction for your property search.

Buying a modern home – the pros and cons

What is a new build home?

A new build home is one that has been built or heavily renovated usually within the last two years, and has had no owner or tenants in that time.

Energy efficiency

Newer properties are likely to have a better energy efficiency rating, meaning that they will have a smaller environmental impact and cost less to run.  This is important to consider, because you need to make sure that you will be able to afford the ongoing running costs of your new home.

A blank canvas

This especially applies if you buy a new-build home.  New builds are usually decorated in plain, neutral colour schemes that you can begin to personalise as soon as you move in.  If you move into a home that someone has lived in, you might need to spend some time adjusting the property to suit your tastes – this may be more difficult as there could be old wallpaper to remove, kitchen cabinets, bathroom tiles, etc, to be able to truly make it your own.

Modern building materials

Newer houses will be built with the most up-to-date building materials, and may be easier, cheaper and more readily available to replace than their old-fashioned counterparts. 

All the materials will be recently installed so there will be less maintenance jobs on your to do list when you move in.  You can also feel safe in the knowledge that a new home will be built to the latest exacting standards relating to environmental impact, energy efficiency, safety and security.

NHBC for new-build homes

Around 4 out of 5 newly built homes are now covered by an NHBC warranty.  This offers an extra layer of protection for the homebuyer and covers you against various building faults that will be outlined in the insurance policy. Your conveyancing solicitor will be able to confirm details of the policy and transfer it to your name during the process of your property transaction so be sure to double check what the policy includes.


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Unforeseen structural issues may still crop up

Occurrences like subsidence can unfortunately happen at any time. All homes naturally shift a bit, and new houses can take a period of time to ‘settle’, so the odd hairline crack is usually nothing to worry about.  However, if it appears to be getting worse, a Chartered Surveyor will be able to confirm whether or not the movement you have seen is truly a cause for concern and will advise on ways to rectify the problem.

Some contracts may also contain clauses which allow the developer to change the design or construction of the property from the specifications given. Make your requirements clear before the contracts are exchanged and keep an eye out for these kinds of clauses. 

Difficult to add value

This is fine if you are not planning on moving house again in the near future, but if you want to move up the property ladder there will be little that you can do to improve a brand new home, short of adding an extra bedroom, if you hope to get more money when you resell it.

A brand new community 

This may or may not appeal to you, but you may find it rewarding to be part of a community from the beginning, and to watch it grow and develop.  Buying a home in a brand new estate, you might like to play an active role in getting people together, by arranging events and social gatherings with your new neighbours and helping to build a sense of friendship and belonging with all the people around you.

Brief your estate agent

Whichever kind of home you are looking for, it is very important to tell your estate agent exactly what it is that you want.  They will then be able to recommend relevant properties so that you don’t waste your time going to unsuccessful viewings and can help you to find the home of your dreams much more quickly.

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J&P on 28/11/2023

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