Buying your first home is an exciting process, but choosing exactly which home to buy is an incredibly difficult undertaking.
Once you have safely navigated your way through finance options, down payments and lawyers’ fees, you then need to tackle the question of whether you should purchase a new or used home. New buildings offer a number of benefits such as a modern look and state-of-the-art appliances but lack the charm and history that comes with an older house.
The right option for you will depend on your lifestyle and how much effort you are willing to devote to the care and maintenance of your home.
Most of us dream of taking on a ‘fixer upper‘ and transforming an old, neglected house into a luxury home. However, the reality is lots of noise, disturbance and mess whilst the refurbishment work is being carried out as well as an incredible amount of money.
If you decide to purchase a new building that is still in the construction stages, you may be able to choose the design and layout of the property as well as certain features such as flooring, kitchen cabinets and wall colours. Some developers offer upgrades such as solar panels, USB outlets or smart appliances.
One of the downsides of buying a new building on a residential development is that all of the homes tend to have a uniform style making it difficult to distinguish one from the other. Old houses come in millions of shapes and sizes, and you are free to make changes to the exterior and interior of your home.
New buildings tend to cost more than a used home of a similar size and location, but you may find that the developers are less flexible on price. However, developers do occasionally throw in added incentives such as appliances, furniture or even cash bonuses upon signing.
If you are lucky enough to come across an ex-show home, you could even get all the furnishings thrown in including tables, chairs, beds, carpets and curtains. Private sellers that are selling a used home are usually willing to negotiate on price, and you might be able to grab a bargain if the house has been on the market for many years.
The UK government currently offer the Help to Buy scheme that allows those purchasing new-build homes to borrow up to 20% of the value of the property from the government.
Although it may seem that new residential developments are popping up all over the place, new buildings are still harder to come by than pre-owned houses. New houses in desirable locations often sell out while they are still in the development stages, so it is advisable to seek the help of an estate agent such as Geering & Colyer who can inform you of any upcoming housing developments near you.
Old houses are readily available in all but the most desirable areas, and potential buyers are usually spoiled for choice when it comes to house hunting.
One of the biggest advantages of a new building is that the maintenance costs will be much lower than with an older house. New developments often have energy saving appliances, insulation, and double glazed windows making them more energy efficient and cheaper to run. You may also be offered extended warranties on all new appliances including the heating, ventilation and cooling system.
A brand new house also eliminates the danger of buying a house with an existing problem such as a leaky basement or a crack in the foundation. Older homes will have inevitably suffered some wear and tear, and you need to be prepared for any problems such as a boiler breakdown that leaves you without heat or hot water.
One of the most important considerations when buying a home is what the resale value will be ten years down the line. Even if you do not plan on moving in the near future, an expanding family or declining neighbourhood could soon make you change your mind. As new developments are rarely built in city centres, they may not increase their value as much as an older house in a prime location.
If you like the idea of a brand spanking new house in an up and coming area, then a new development will definitely fit the bill. However, if you prefer an established neighbourhood and a unique house with plenty of character, then you will feel much more at home in a pre-loved building that you can customise to your own taste.