Guest Post | Home hunters usually come in two groups – those who want a new build property that no one’s ever lived in before and those who want a period property complete with sash windows, bay windows and fireplaces in every room.
However, with the current property boom meaning period properties are being snapped up, sometimes even before they’ve gone on the market, perhaps new builds should be given more consideration?
With that in mind, here are some pros and cons of a new build property.
Pros of a new build property
Everything in a new build property is new
A period property could have had dozens of people living in it over the years. Hundreds, even. That’s a lot of feet traipsing over the floorboards and getting mucky fingerprints over the kitchen walls.
With a new build property, you’ll be the first person ever to live in it. Everything will be brand spanking new – the kitchen will have brand new cabinets and worktops, the bathroom will have a brand new suite in it and the walls will be clean, smooth and freshly plastered.
Smooth, freshly plastered walls are gold dust in period properties unless they’ve been recently renovated. You’re far more likely to get woodchip or Anaglypta. Ew.
You can get government help to buy a new build
First-time buyers who need a helping hand to get on the property ladder can take advantage of government-backed Help to Buy schemes, which are usually only available on new build properties.
With a Help to Buy scheme in London, first time buyers can get an equity loan of up to 40%, only paying interest on this loan for the first five years. A Help to Buy mortgage will make up the rest after the 40% equity loan.
New build property is chain-free
When you’re buying or selling a property, being in a chain is undoubtedly a huge cause of stress. Until exchange of contracts, you can’t be certain the property you’re in the process of buying will actually be yours. No matter how far along the process of buying a new home you’ve got, if your vendor decides to pull out, that’s that. Bye bye new home.
But buying a new build property means there is no upward chain, therefore removing that extra level of stress all homebuyers can do without at this already stressful time.
Be warned though, just because there’s no upward chain, the developer might impose a deadline for completion, so look out for that.
Cons of a new build property
New builds can be smaller
Although the television programme Grand Designs would imply otherwise, new build properties are in general smaller than older properties. Of course, we’re not talking about new homes on a Grand Designs scale here though, we’re talking about houses and flats on new housing developments.
These types of new build are generally smaller than period properties as developers like to cram in as many properties on the development as they can. This can mean smaller rooms, lower ceilings and smaller gardens. And because you may be crammed into a development with hundreds of other properties, there’s a good chance that small garden will be hemmed in by and overlooked by lots of neighbouring properties.
New builds can be of dubious quality
Although a new build will be built to the latest specifications and building regulations as well as being more energy efficient than an older property, your builder may have used cheaper materials.
I’m sure you’ve heard about paper-thin walls in new builds where you can hear everything your neighbours are up to (which means they can also hear everything you’re up to, including your taste in Christmas music) but apart from the thin walls, there may be minor defects, such as doors getting stuck on carpets or loose tiles. This isn’t a huge problem though as long as you get a snagging survey that will pick up anything that needs to be done before you move in.
New build property can be more expensive
Because you’re buying a brand new home with a brand new kitchen and a brand new bathroom, etc., you may end up paying more for a new build than you would pay for an existing property of a similar size in a similar location.
If you’re planning to stay in your new home for a long while, this may not affect you but if you were planning to move in a year or so, you may find yourself with negative equity.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to buying a new build or an older property, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of both and decide which is right for you. Some people love the newness that only a new build can have, while others love the fact that their home is over a hundred years old and has been home to dozens of families before them.