When it comes to buying a new home, you have a choice between selecting a newly built property or an existing one. There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing either, and you should be aware of these before making your selection.

Knowing what is important to you from your new home, and the things that your new dwelling must have will help you make your decision.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both these property types, to help get you started making your choice.

Newly Built Properties

Let’s start by considering the advantages and disadvantages of newly built properties. These can often be purchased off-plan, directly from the developers

Advantages 

Blank Canvas

Choosing a newly built home allows you to put your mark on it before it has been completed. You could have the opportunity to have it completed in the colour scheme of your choice. Also, some developers will allow you to choose from a range of kitchen and bathroom furniture. Even if these options are not available, you still have a fresh, blank canvas to make your mark.

Help With Buying

There are many incentives available to buy newly-built properties, particularly for first-time buyers. Schemes such as Shared Ownership and Help-to-Buy, are available only to purchase newly-built homes.

Buying Incentives

Many developers offer incentives to secure a sale, such as paying for carpets or covering the stamp duty on the purchase.

Modern Living

Newly-built properties generally come with the latest appliances and smart features installed. More often, they are designed with an open-plan layout, and many new builds benefit from communal features such as gymnasiums and concierge services.

Design Your Home

Buying a new build-off plan often means that you can have a say in the property’s design. You may be allowed to select color schemes, appliances, fixtures, and fittings, from x range of options.

Lower Utility Bills

Newly-built homes have to comply with the latest building regulations and energy efficiency standards. Your new home is likely to be rated either A or B for its energy efficiency. Eighty percent of new builds enjoy this Energy Performance Certificate rating compared to a mere 2.2% of existing properties. This energy efficiency means that you will benefit from lower utility bills. 

Free From Property Chains

As the property has just been built, there is no previous owner, so no property chain to worry about. The absence of a chain removes one of the most stressful aspects of buying a home.

Warranties

Your newly-built property will come with some warranties that existing properties don’t have. Check what warranties you have before choosing your newly-built home.

new build house

Disadvantages

Developers want to maximise their return on investment, do they pack as many properties as they can into one site. This overcrowding often means that your home is not as spacious as an existing property, and a lack of storage space is one particular area of concern. Check that you will have space for all your furniture and belongings before buying.

Loss of New Home Premium

The price you pay for a newly-built property comes with the premium of it being brand new. As soon as you’ve bought it, that premium no longer exists. So, selling your property a few years down the line, you might find that it has not appreciated as much as you thought it might have.

Also, there might be other new developments nearby at the time you want to sell, putting further pressure on your asking price. If you are going to opt for a newly-built property, our advice would be to plan on living there for the long term.

Leasehold Ownership

Many new properties are developed with leasehold ownership terms, as opposed to freehold. You should be careful about the terms of these properties and get your conveyancer to explain everything in plain English fully.

The leasehold should be a minimum of 90 – 120 years, but preferably a term of 999 years. Make sure you are clear on the ground rent and any communal charges you need to pay. 

There are government plans to ban the sale of leasehold houses, so you should avoid buying one with leasehold ownership. Flats and apartments are suitable purchases under leasehold conditions, but there is no reason why a house should not have a freehold tenure.

Restricted Choice of Conveyancer

Quite often, a developer will insist that you have to use their recommended conveyancer for the purchase to proceed. You should avoid this practice at all costs, as the conveyancer will likely be acting on behalf of the developer and not in your interest.

An effective legal advisor with experience in conveyancing working on your behalf, rather than the developer’s, will ensure that your best interests get looked after, that your deposit is secure, and that the development has a ‘long stop’ date for its completion.

If you use the developer’s conveyance, they are likely to pressure you to complete the purchase. Having a neutral conveyancer is unlikely to buckle under pressure from the developer to complete.

Build Quality and Snags

The quality of new builds often comes in for criticism, with shoddy workmanship and inferior materials often cited as the cause of many problems.

Even if your developer uses the most skilled workers and the best quality materials, you will still encounter snags with all new builds. Snagging, or dealing with snags, is part of the development process, and you need to conduct a snagging survey as soon as possible after completing the purchase. Snags might include doors not closing correctly, widows jamming, or even structural issues.

When you do your survey, make sure it is done by a professional who will know if the developer is trying to pull a fast one. A snagging professional will liaise directly with the developer and remove the stress and hassle from you.

Delays

Building projects seldom run as planned, and delays can often result. You may have planned the dale of your existing property or cancelled the lease of your rental property around a predicted completion date for your new build. So, a delay could leave you needing to find alternative accommodation until the development is finished. 

Not only will accommodation be an issue, but what will you do with all your stuff? You’ll likely have to find somewhere to store it temporarily, and that will cost you. A significant delay might affect your mortgage offer, mainly if there has been a substantial shift in interest rates.

existing property

Existing Properties

The United Kingdom is blessed with beautiful homes and buildings, ranging from Victorian terraced townhouses to modern mock-Tudor detached dwellings, and a whole load of beautiful homes in between. There are so many existing properties that are stunning to look at and charming to live in. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of buying existing properties:

Advantages

Homes With Character

Older properties tend to have maintained an element of the period when they were built. From classic Georgian sash windows to the ubiquitous fireplaces of Victorian terraced houses, or panels of stained glass typical in 1930’s semi-detached suburban dwellings. There are so many different features from throughout the ages that add so much character to so many homes. These are the features that people fall in love with and make these must-have homes for some people.

Existing Community

Existing properties are more likely to have an existing community of neighbours who’ve already lived in the area for many years. There are also likely to be more facilities and amenities nearby, such as cafes, restaurants, and bars.

More Space

Families used to be a lot larger for previous generations and in past centuries. Therefore, older homes tend to have larger rooms and more outdoor space.

You Can See What You Are Getting

When you buy an existing home, you can see exactly what you will be getting when you buy it. Purchasing a new build-off plan takes a certain amount of imagination to envisage what life will be like when you move in there.

Potential To Improve

If you buy a new home, you should get a home that is pretty much presented in perfect condition. An older property will give you something to work on, potentially increasing its value.

Disadvantages

Property Chains

One of the main disadvantages of buying an existing property is that you may get involved in a property chain. Property chains can be stressful when you are buying and selling properties because you rely on several property transactions to be completed for your purchase to go through.

Maintenance

Existing homes are likely to need more maintenance than new builds. Unlike maintaining a new-build, you are likely to need to start a maintenance programme from the first day.

Lower Energy Efficiency

When older properties were built there were fewer energy regulations, so existing homes are likely to be less energy efficient, unless previous owners have already addressed it.

Renovations

When you move into an existing property, you may well need to redecorate and freshen the place up. The costs of doing this should be something that you should factor into your budget.

Conclusion

Choosing a new build or an existing property is a matter of personal choice, but some people fail to consider each one’s advantages and disadvantages before they buy. Hopefully, this article will help you make a more informed decision.