Buying an Old Home vs. a New Build: What’s Best for You?

Buying an Old Home vs. a New Build: What’s Best for You?

When it comes to investing in a new home, many people put the age of a house pretty high up the priority list. There’s quite a number of differences between a house built a hundred years ago and one finished off yesterday, so potential buyers should take them into consideration before they decide to make a purchase. But what exactly are those differences? They may be more subtle than you think, especially when it comes to the hidden financial costs that you might not spot on your first visit. The Case for New Builds At first glance, new builds are generally easier to pitch for than old houses because they tend to be standardised whereas old builds are slightly less predictable. As a rule, people who are wondering how to sell a house quickly will generally find that a newer property is easier to shift.

  • Energy costs: Thanks to regulated heat retention measures, double glazing and loft insulation are fitted as standard in most new builds. It’s also worth noting that homes with a fitted kitchen are often furnished with appliances with efficiency ratings of A or A+, making them far cheaper to run.
  • No property chain: One of the major benefits of new homes for first time buyers is that since no one is living there already, you won’t get caught out if someone in the chain of buyers backs out of the deal. This also gives you a little more leverage to negotiate a better mortgage deal; you have as much time as you need.
  • Better safety measures: Since new builds are built under the housing legislation of the 21st century, they are generally a lot safer than older homes. Things like fire retardant building materials, fire doors and Yale locks improve safety and wellbeing for residents, as well as the fact that in the UK it’s guaranteed you won’t find asbestos, which has only been banned since 1999.
  • Warranties: Most new homes will come with a ten-year warranty with providers such as Zurich Municipal, the Premier Guarantee and the NHBC giving you a security blanket in the face of any major problems with the property.

The Case for Old Homes A lot of buyers tend to cite interest in old homes to be the product of “a sense of character”. After all, old houses carry an air of history with them thanks to a series of previous owners. However, that’s not their only advantage.

  • Spacious: A lot of old houses are surprisingly capacious, making them ideal for families. That means you have enough space for all of your quirky furniture, with enough loft storage to cater for the rest. New builds on the other hand are notorious for a lack of storage space and small rooms.
  • Previous residents: This might sound like a disadvantage for some, but previous residents actually ensure that the house has had the “snags” – disorders in a home that tend to be found in new builds – worked on, as well as the installation of handy fixtures including coat racks and shelves.
  • Better foundations: Let’s face it; if you’re moving into a house that has stood tall for the best part of a century, it’s probably been built on solid ground. New builds don’t have that guarantee, especially since a lot of them are built on second-hand land. A recent report from home insurer LV= revealed that more than 1 in 10 homes built on brownfield sites have suffered from problems such as flooding, contamination from sewage and drainage issues. Old homes, on the other hand, have already stood the test of time.

Ultimately, buyers need to decide for themselves what they’re going to prioritise in a property to know whether or not they’re getting the best deal for their needs.

1 Comment

  • Ruth October 28, 2014 - Reply

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