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Should I Buy A New Build Property?

19 December 2019

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When looking to purchase a new home, prospective buyers will often consider buying a new build or old build property. There are pros and cons to both, and what is important to one homeowner may not be a priority to others. We investigate the advantages and disadvantages below.

Advantages of buying a new build home

Purchasing a new build home direct from a housing developer can have many advantages including:

1. Chain Free – One of the biggest advantages of buying a new build home is that you will be free from having a chain of buyers above you – which may delay the process.

2. Blank Canvas – a brand new home provides a completely blank canvas for you to play with. Meaning that you can decorate your home to suit your style and taste. If buying ‘off-plan’ many developers will give you the option to choose your preferred fixtures and fittings.

3. Energy Efficiency – The latest building regulations mean that new build properties must be energy efficient. 80% of new homes typically have an energy efficiency rating of A or B, whereas only 2.2% of older properties have this rating.

4. Warranties – You will benefit from a new build warranty, which means that the developer is required to fix any faults or defects with the home. The warranty typically covers you for 10 years and is split into two periods. The first period is known as the defects insurance period which covers the first two years, the second period is the structural insurance period which covers years 3 to 10. It is however important to note that not all defects will be covered by the warranty, making it essential for you to carefully read the terms and conditions of the policy.

Disadvantages of buying a new build home

1. Lack of space – It is common for new builds to be smaller in size and lacking in storage space than older properties. This is usually because developers will try and fit as many properties as they can onto a site to maximise their profits.

2. Leasehold – A lot of new builds are being sold as leasehold rather than freehold. Leasehold properties carry more restrictions to what alterations you can make to the building than freehold. The length of the lease should be at least 90 to 120 years to consider buying. You are also required to pay an annual service charge to the freeholder. The government is however planning on banning the sale of stand-alone homes to be sold as leasehold.

3. Poor Quality – New housing developments tend to be built in record speed, which can in many instances mean that the quality of the property is compromised. It is recommended to have a snagging survey done to identify any issues with the home that need to be rectified prior to you moving in. This will highlight any issues such as loose tiles, chipped paint or broken door hinges etc.

4. Can be tied to a specific conveyancer – A lot of developers will try to tie in buyers to using their conveyancer of choice. You are however entitled to choose the best conveyancing solicitor for you. A solicitor independent from the developer will ensure that all of the contract is in your favour, that your deposit is protected and that there is a date in place for you to complete the sale.

5. Delays – There can sometimes be delays in the progress of the build which may mean that you could have to fork out for further rent and storage costs. If the delays are a significant amount of time this could also affect your mortgage offer.

Advantages of buying an older property

Older properties can be favoured by many due to their charming features and generally being more spacious and better built.

1. More spacious – Older homes tend to have larger rooms and gardens.

2. Amenities – Properties in long established areas tend to have better local amenities, such as a local convenience store, post office, cafés, bars and restaurants. Along with public transport to and from nearby towns and cities.

3. Character – Period features such as sash windows, fireplaces and ceiling roses etc. add plenty of charm and character to older properties. Many home buyers prefer this to the ‘cookie-cutter’ look of new build houses.

4. Potential – Some older homes may have fallen into disrepair, giving you the chance to purchase a bargain, restore the period features and potentially make a decent profit when you come to sell.

Disadvantages of buying an older property

1. Chain – Purchasing an older property is likely to mean that you will find yourself involved in a property chain. In which you will be reliant upon the current homeowner completing on the purchase of their new home and so on.

2. Poor energy efficiency – Older properties were not built to the same stringent building regulations as today, therefore energy bills are likely to be higher.

3. Maintenance – It is likely that you will need to carry out some form of maintenance on an older property from the moment you move in. This could include everything from redecorating rooms to replacing windows and doors.

4. Renovations – Whilst some people love the thought of buying a property that they can do a full scale renovation on, for others it will be considered too much of a hassle and an extra strain on their budget.

There is no right or wrong answer as to whether buying a new build or older property is better. It largely comes down to personal taste and budget. It is however always recommended to do a snagging list on a new build and a Homebuyers Survey on an older property, to highlight any issues that may influence the price you pay.

Hiring a good property solicitors will also help to streamline the moving process and ensure the correct legal transfer of ownership from one party to another.

Contact True Solicitors for a free, no obligation conveyancing quote. No completion, no fee.

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