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New build vs pre-owned property

22 October 2021 / New Homes

There are lots of reasons to think about buying a new build home. For example, the property won’t be part of an upwards chain, which means the process is usually simpler. You’ll might also be able to pick-out your brand new fixtures and fittings, so your new home fits your taste from day one. 

If you’re searching for a place to buy, you might be looking at new build property for the first-time. So, what are the benefits of buying new build vs an existing property? Our sales team weigh-up the pros and cons. 

Interior design 

New build properties tend to be designed for modern living. They usually include open-plan rooms which maximise the space available and place the kitchen at the heart of a home. Housebuilders will also think about the demands of modern buyers, allowing for the latest integrated technology.

However, new build properties will naturally come with some initial ‘snags’. Although many buyers love the fact they’re first people to live in a new home and your housebuilder will quickly fix any teething problems, a pre-owned property is tried and tested. An older property may also have more individual quirks that give it some added character, such as period features. 

Putting your stamp on it

One of the big benefits of a new build property is being able to buy off-plan and pick your location. Your housebuilder will be able to show you the layout of the whole development site which will include all the plots where your chosen home will be built. If your property isn’t built yet, you’ll also be able to pick work surfaces, carpets and bathroom/ kitchen suites. 

In general, new build properties are tastefully designed with neutral décor, which means you can easily put your own stamp on your home.

Outside space

New build properties can come with smaller gardens which may need some work. In London, you’re probably looking at an apartment or flat. If you’re lucky enough to have an outside space, you’ll need to add in plants and maybe even a lawn, unless agreed with your housebuilder. Pre-owned properties will have a more mature garden, communal space or balcony.  

If you’re looking to extend your home, it’s worth looking to see whether existing properties are within a conservation area which might limit your options, or whether a new build plot provides the space for expansion. If you have a car, new build developments tend to be more concentrated so may offer less parking space than an existing property.  

Community living 

If you’re buying a brand new house, you’ll also be part of a new community. Buyers will usually move into their new properties in phases, so everyone is new to the immediate area and keen to establish contact. If your development is on the larger side, builders often need to include new amenities such as playgrounds, shops, nurseries and schools.

However, existing properties are well-established with all local amenities up and running, including local initiatives such as creative groups or community cafes. It can take some time for a whole development to mature and new connections to be made.  

A chain reaction 

It’s very normal to find yourself in a chain when buying a home. If you’re buying an existing property, it’s likely there will be an occupant, who will also need to move to another property, which may be pre-owned, and so on. A new build home doesn’t have an ongoing chain, so if you’re a first-time buyer, you don’t need to worry about anyone else’s situation. 

However, if you need to sell an existing property before moving, some developers also offer a Part Exchange solution where they will purchase your home (usually at a slightly reduced price) and then sell it on. 

Energy efficiency 

Running a new property tends to be cheaper as it’s built using modern materials and building methods. Research from the NHBC found that families living in new build homes could save up to £1,400 a year on all their energy bills vs a typical four-bedroom Victorian property. 

Before buying any home, it’s worth checking its Energy Performance Rating (EPC). This certificate rates a property’s energy efficiency from A-G and shows you more about its typical running costs. If you do fall in love with a pre-owned property, the EPC will also show you how to improve its long-term energy efficiency, such as adding new insulation or double glazing.   

Guarantees and perks 

New build homes will usually come with a ten year warranty and insurance cover, such as NHBC Buildmark. This will give you a two year warranty from the builder and a further eight years insurance against structural damage to your property. Some housebuilders may offer additional perks such as better quality fixtures or fittings, or payment of stamp duty, so it’s worth asking whether they can offer any extra incentives.

However, if you buy a pre-owned property, new upgrades such as boilers or windows should come with a guarantee which will last for a number of years. Before you buy the property, ask your solicitor to find out whether any work has been completed. Find out when items were installed and ask for the guarantee documents.

Affordable schemes

If you’re a first-time buyer or an existing home owner looking to move up the property ladder, check to see if you’re eligible for Help to Buy. With this scheme, the Government will lend you up to 20% of the cost of a new home (40% in London) which is interest free for five years. This means you’ll only need to raise a 5% cash deposit and find a mortgage for the rest.   

If you’d like to hear more about Help to Buy, speak to our mortgage experts at dot financial services to see if you’re eligible and to learn more about the latest deals.  

Speak to your local experts

Whether you buy a new-build property or a pre-owned home, it’s important to find one that you love. If you’d like to know more about the new build developments or existing properties in your area, contact Stirling Ackroyd by clicking here.

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