Whether you’re moving to a new area or your brood is growing and you simply need a bigger building to house you all, when relocation time comes round it’s not just a matter of where and when but also what kind of house to choose. From flats and houses through to bungalows, one of the factors that can be a big sway for buyers is the age of the property. Older homes and new builds have distinct style differences and come with their own pros and cons. On which side of the timeline should you reside?
Nice and new
According to figures from the National House Building Council (NHBC), the number of new homes registered last year was the highest number since 2007. Though the 156,140 fell short of the target of 200,000 new homes the government wants to be built in the UK every year, we do now have a bit more choice when it comes to buying in many areas across the UK.
So, what are the advantages of buying new? Aside from that ‘just built’ smell and show home shine there are a few financial incentives to tempt potential buyers into a new property purchase.
First up is the Help to Buy scheme (explained here by Barratt), which allows homeowners to buy new properties with just a five per cent deposit. This can be in combination with either an equity loan or mortgage guarantee that can also help to lower your monthly mortgage payments. In theory this is a deal not to be sniffed at if you want to stretch your monthly budget a little further. You don’t need to be a first time buyer to qualify for the scheme either. However, if you are a first time buyer, you may be able to secure a new home with as little as four per cent deposit.
While it’s not strictly a financial incentive, buying new may mean you’re eligible to part exchange your old home towards your new purchase. This could save you time and fees selling your old home and has obvious benefit if you need to move fast and don’t want to hang around waiting for a buyer to arrive. The price should be set by independent valuers though there’s a chance you may get a higher price if you sold your home yourself on the open market. However, you should be aware that houses aren’t always released for part exchange straight away and may only become eligible once they reach a certain stage of building.
What wins many people over to a fresh-off-the-shelf home is the fact you can move into something that needs very little work to make it your own. Purchase early enough and you can put your own stamp on the property by choosing fixtures, fittings and finishes, though you may be surprised to find the cost of little extras that aren’t included or selecting high end furnishing options. That said, sought after features like en suites, bi-fold doors and induction hobs in kitchens fitted with appliances are generally fitted as standard.
On the down side, this customisation often comes at the cost of actual square metres as newer homes tend to be more compact. This along with new building techniques generally means lower energy costs but you’ll have to spend a fair bit to bag yourself a lot of space and gardens can often amount to a small plot of land only.
Speaking of land, by their nature many new build estates are on the outskirts of the action. New developments are spread outside the suburbs or sprout up as completely new settlements where space can be found. In the past this has led to some criticism that new homes and estates can feel fairly sterile particularly in combination with the fact the estates themselves tend to feature homes in a handful of designs. Taking this on board developers are now working more closely with local councils to factor in amenities to use in order to encourage more of a community feel, so it’s common to find things like shops, community centres and leisure facilities factored into the site build.
A house with history
The idea of renovating an older project back to its former glory can be very romantic and once completed you should feel rewarded on a personal level even if there’s not a huge financial payoff. That said, many people often over estimate their enthusiasm versus the effort involved in such schemes. Not all older houses need work when you move into them but many of the character features that have property owners cooing when they view potential homes can translate into extra tasks to tackle.
Woodworm, damp, rewiring, plumbing and external guttering and drainage are common problems purchasers of period style homes could find themselves needing to factor into their up front budget and regular maintenance. If none of this frightens you, you could be rewarded with a home in the heart of the city or a rural setting with plenty of personality and the opportunity to update by adding a little of your own.
Depending on the style of home you plump for you may find you have more space per room and outdoors and you can still update should you choose. A new bathroom and kitchen could raise the value of your home substantially and there’s no need to avoid more modern features like bi-fold doors providing they are handled in the right way. Vufold offers oak bi-fold doors that are far more sympathetic additions to older style homes than their UPVC counterparts.
Areas where older homes are located are more likely to have established communities, which should mean having more activities and entertainment on your doorstep. There’s no more guarantee of nice neighbours though. And if you become the proud owner of a beautiful Victorian terraced home that doesn’t come complete with an allocated parking spot you could find you’re involved in more arguments about whose car goes where than you receive invites to street parties.
Sensible ways to weigh up your next step
If you’ve always felt more of a new or old house person, is it worth investigating your options? You may find that the financial incentives of a new home combined with a quick move could be a saviour in your current situation or that an older home really is a must for your family to b in the location you crave.