"Unless you are buying a larger, purpose built new home, the new build house will most likely have less floor area than an older property with the same number of bedrooms."
A cash buyer recently visited property agents Berrys to discuss buying a house in Shropshire. His first question was: “Should I buy a new build house or an older property?”
He was trying to establish whether one had a distinct advantage over the other and wanted Berrys to disregard his personal circumstances and requirements.
Of course, to disregard a buyer’s circumstances and requirement does not make any sense as these factors are the key to choosing what is right.
Philip Robinson, residential agency manager at the Shrewsbury office of Berrys, takes a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of buying a New Build Home in Shropshire.
If you are looking for a property with multiple reception rooms, high ceilings, traditional fireplaces and other unique and character features, you are unlikely to find these in the modern new build home. Nevertheless, property developers can no longer be accused of building ‘identical rabbit hutches’ as they have been criticised of doing in the past. Reputable developers take great care in providing a variety of house types and sizes on a new development, with thought given to outdoor space too in the provision of parking and green spaces.
Here the new build has a clear advantage over the older property. Strict building regulations mean the new build is constructed to a high specification with a 10-year structural warranty. With everything brand new and fit for purpose there is no need to make an allowance for the cost of repairs and ongoing maintenance that you will most likely have to allow for when buying an older property.
Even an extensively refurbished older property will struggle to compete with the energy efficiency of a new build. Modern construction prevents damp whilst cavity walls, double glazing and improved insulation provide long term energy savings. Modern heating systems are constantly improving, further reducing monthly outgoings. If you are buying a buy to let property, bear in mind that you have a responsibility for the property to be safe and fit for purpose. From April 2018, it will be unlawful to let a house with an EPC rating of F or G (the lowest two grades of energy efficiency).
Unless you are buying a larger, purpose built new home, the new build house will most likely have less floor area than an older property with the same number of bedrooms. Consequently, all rooms will be smaller and this is a consideration if you are downsizing from an older property and you feel that you could not possibly part with some larger pieces of furniture. However, the property developer would argue that the new house has been designed with modern living in mind and that an older property has lots of wasted space.
Just like buying a sparkling clean, brand new car, there is an attraction to buying a new house that has never been lived in by anybody else. Furthermore, if you buy a new build off-plan, you will discover that many developers have a variety of internal fitting packages to choose from. You may be able to select floor tiling, carpets, kitchens and even white goods from a number of options that the developer can offer at competitive rates. However, the range will not be unlimited and you may find that owners of an older property have carried out high quality improvements to an older property that you absolutely love and would not even have contemplated.
Price and Ease of Purchase
There is a premium attached to a new build home, so you will notice that it will cost more than an older property with a comparable number of bedrooms. On the plus side for first time buyers, most developers will offer the Government Help to Buy to Scheme that requires only an initial five per cent deposit, whereas you will need to pay a higher deposit for an older property and often need extra funds to carry out improvements/alterations. Buying off-plan also gives you confidence to prepare for your move at a certain time. Compare this with the uncertainty of buying an older property, with potential hiccoughs with chains, surveys and people changing their minds right up until exchange of contracts.
Even if you are not thinking of selling, perhaps now could be a good time for you to review the value of your own home and consider whether or not it will still continue to serve your needs in five years’ time.