A new-build home

What is the definition of a 'new-build'? A new-build property is one that's brand new and has never been lived in. The government has said that 300,000 homes will be built each year by the mid-2020s, but the numbers currently fall far lower than that.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying a brand new home straight from the developer.

Pros of buying a new-build

  • A new home is a blank canvas with fresh tiling, paintwork, kitchens and bathrooms. This means there should be very little, if anything, you need to do to it. You can simply unpack your belongings and start enjoying your new home.
  • For many first-time buyers a new build home is the only way they can get onto the property ladder. That’s because schemes such as Help-to-Buy and Shared Ownership are only available on the purchase of a new home.
  • Some developers will throw in extras in order to get a sale. This could mean paying your stamp duty or covering the cost of carpets.
  • Top-spec new builds have all the latest technology. Many offer ‘smart home’ features and open-plan layouts.
  • You may be able have a say in the design. The builder may let you choose fittings and perhaps even the layout.
  • As you’ll be the first owner you won’t have a chain of buyers above you. This can take away one of the main stresses of buying a home.

Cons of buying a new-build

  • Some developers pack a lot of properties onto a site in order to maximise their profits. This can mean a new-build home is less spacious than an older property.
  • A lot of the benefits of buying a new-build disappear on the day you buy it and it is no longer “brand new”. This means a one-year-old property may fall in value as buyers look at the new-builds popping up in the development across the road instead. Our advice is, if you are buying a new-build, plan to live in it for the longer term.
  • Leasehold – Many new build properties are sold as leasehold rather than freehold. Make sure your conveyancer explains costs, charges and restrictions set out in the lease.
  • Delays – New builds don’t always run to plan and it isn’t unusual for the move-in date on a new build property to be delayed. This could just be an inconvenience, but if it goes on it can cause added stress and add to your costs. We hear from people daily struggling with unexpected rent and storage costs, having moved in to alternative accommodation awaiting their new builds completion.

An existing home

The UK has a long history of building beautiful homes, so, there are plenty of older properties that could turn your head during the hunt for a new home.

Pros of buying an existing home

  • From a fireplace in every room of a Victorian home, or the stained glass panels of 1930s suburban homes, there are so many different designs to choose from in our existing housing stock. It’s these period features many of us fall in love with when looking to buy.
  • An existing property is more likely to be surrounded by a community with neighbours who’ve lived there for years. There may also be more nearby amenities such as established restaurants and pubs.
  • Older homes tend to be larger with more spacious rooms and gardens.
  • An existing home may not be perfect, and could need a bit of work. That gives you the opportunity to put your own stamp on it, and potentially increase the value.

Cons of buying an existing home

  • Buy an existing property and you will have to deal with any onward property chain that the current owners are in, this can make the buying process more stressful.
  • Unlike a new-build, you can expect maintenance to start needing to be done on day one of moving into an existing property.
  • You may want to redecorate or replace a tired kitchen or bathroom. You need to factor those costs in to your budget.

When choosing between a new-build and existing home, it all comes down to your personal preference and what you want to get out of your new home. Just make sure you have all the information about your preferred property before exchanging contracts.