Buying a new build home versus buying an existing home

When the time comes to start searching for your first home you will have to decide whether to buy a brand newly built property or an existing older home

Buying a new build home versus buying an existing home

Everyone has their reasons for choosing new or older buildings when purchasing their first home. If you are faced with this conundrum why not read on for our top list of considerations before taking your first visit to the estate agents.

Reasons to buy an older home

  • Neighbourhood – Most existing properties are situated within established neighbourhoods. It is quite possible for you to get to know your neighbours well before your moving date. The area may also have an established Neighbourhood Watch action group in order to maintain the safety and wellbeing of occupants.

  • Character – Older properties have had time to ‘bed in’ and develop a sense of character and unique history that you may like to become a part of. Perhaps you are a fan of the previous owner’s handiwork in the garden or you simply prefer the idea of living in a house with classic features into which you can add your own mod-cons.

  • Making an offer – With an existing property what you see is what you get. If you have done your homework with a home survey and read the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), and you are happy with their findings, you can bid on a property with confidence. This is not the necessarily the case when you buy off-plan. However, new build homes are supplied by law with an EPC and many carry a NHBC Warranty.

  • Negotiating power – With existing properties the purchase price is negotiable between the buyer and the seller. The mutually-agreed fee may be influenced by consumer demand, the general condition of the property as reflected by the survey, and the desire of the owners to sell up and move on.

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Reasons to buy a brand new home

  • Personal taste – Moving into a brand new build gives you a truly clean slate to fit your first property with the tiling, flooring, decorating and appliances suited to your personal tastes. This is not quite as easy with an existing property as the home has been decorated to suit the taste of the current occupants. Consequently it may prove harder to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.

  • No moving chain – Purchasing a brand new property ensures, as a first time buyer, you are not part of a moving chain which could threaten the completion of your move. This significantly reduces the stress and uncertainty that can come with purchasing an existing property. However, if there are any delays in completing the building work that will affect when you can move in.

  • High-specifications – Most new builds come fitted with high-specification appliances and materials, usually more so than older properties. New homes must comply with up-to-the-minute building regulations maintained by the Government, ensuring the most up-to-date heating systems and loft insulation. This is particularly attractive to first time buyers who simply want to adjust to life in their first home rather than worrying about potentially expensive DIY and maintenance charges.

  • A new community – Moving into an established neighbourhood may not prove an attraction to some first time buyers. You may be more excited about a new home on a new estate, with the opportunity to make new friends as part of an emerging community – you might just find other first time buyers in the same boat you can share experiences with.

  • Energy-efficient – It is said new build properties are six times more energy-efficient than existing, older homes, generating around 60 per cent less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per household. Living in an energy efficient home can therefore save you hundreds of pounds a year on energy bills.

  • 80% of new build homes carry the NHBC 10 year warranty, so the quality of your new home is automatically insured against problems associated with new builds. The National House Building Council is the standard setting body and leading home construction warranty and insurance provider for new and newly-converted homes. New Build Homes tend to be sold for long leaseholds, meaning you do not need to spend money renewing a lease. This does not affect freehold properties, which are usually houses.

The standard of new properties in the UK has never been better, while the market for buying existing properties currently offers first time buyers the chance to get on the property ladder with significantly lower house values.

Weigh up the pros and cons and make your own decision.


  • Mary Miller says...

    posted on 03/09/2012 22:04:21

    An intelligently written and yet easy to understand article offering both pros and cons effectively. Helpful comments giving much food for thoughts.

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