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Old properties vs. new builds: which is right for you?

 

Buying a home is probably one of the biggest financial transactions you will make in your entire life and while there are many choices to make over criteria like location, size and budget, one of the key factors that you will need to consider is whether to buy an old property or a new one.

The experience of buying a modern new build property will be very different to buying, say a house that is 100 years old, and while there are many pros and cons of each type of house, the choice will really come down to what you are looking for in a home.

In this article we will make the case for both types of houses looking at cost, time, maintenance, location and other important factors in an effort to help you come to a final decision over which kind of house would be best for you and your needs.

The case for new builds
There is no shortage of modern, newly built houses on the market and many people looking to purchase a home realise that new builds have plenty to offer them.

First of all, one of the biggest selling points of buying a new house is that there is no housing chain involved. This means that you don’t have to wait for the owners to purchase their new property and move out before they can sell you theirs. The housing chain can cause lots of stress so buying a new build can make for plainer sailing.

Another consideration when buying a new build is the environmental effect. Generally speaking older houses are likely to be less efficient which means more energy is used to heat them and your bills will be more expensive. In fact, research from the Zero Carbon Hub predicts that buying a new build could result in annual savings of around 55% on gas and electric bills when compared with an older property.


One of the common criticisms aimed at new builds is that they all look the same. While it’s true that many housing estates of new properties are built to similar standards and specifications, those specifications are very high which means you can be safe in the knowledge that there will be no nasty surprises waiting for you. When new homes are built they have high requirements to meet for fire safety, energy efficiency, sound proofing, building materials and ventilation, which should provide some peace of mind.

Many new build properties will be incentivised with generous deals, such as a discounted selling price, an offer of paid stamp duty or free landscaping. Additionally, if your new build home is built in conjunction with the National House Building Council (NHBC) then it will be protected with a 10-year warranty.

Another important thing to remember is that new build houses are ready to move into straight away, which means that once you are ready to move in, you can. Whereas with an older property you might need to keep a certain proportion of your budget for re-tiling a bathroom, installing double glazing or insulating a draughty attic, moving into a new build is much more a case of customization rather than renovation and therefore will likely cost you less money.

The case for older properties

Although some people will prefer to purchase a newly finished property, there is a lot to be said for older properties which often have their own unique style.

Warm, charming and charismatic are all terms that are most likely to be attributed to an older home, which may have been built decades before, with many different generations leaving their unique touch on the house over the years. This can lead to lots of interesting and unique features that might not be commonly found elsewhere, such as unusual structures, period flooring, doors, staircases, chimneys and fireplaces and also basements and attics which are less common in new builds.

Another important point to consider when moving into an older home is cost. Although the house may need some renovation, as long as the property is structurally sound then you might end up having to pay less money than you would for a new build. This could allow you to find a property for a low value, fix it up and then place it back on the market either to sell for a profit or as a buy-to-let property.

While it’s true that older properties can be harder to heat, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a new build property is the answer to reducing your carbon footprint. In fact the work that goes in to building a house can produce as much as 80 tonnes of C02 which is the equivalent of 24 flights from Hong Kong to London!

A better alternative can be to work on improving the energy efficiency of an old home by insulating draughts and attic space, installing double glazing and using carbon saving appliances.

Finally, one of the biggest selling points by far of an older home can be location. Whereas modern homes tend to be built on the outskirts of a town on newly developed land, older homes are often in the thick of the city nearby to important amenities like shops and schools. If you have a young family and you are trying to get them placed in a particular school, or you want to cut down on your daily commute to work then this can be an important selling point.

The choice is yours

Ultimately, when it comes to choosing between these two types of houses your motivations behind your initial move will usually be the decisive factor. If you are looking for a property that is full of character, is close to local amenities and has potential for profit then an older property could be the one for you. However if practicality, high standards of workmanship and fewer repairs are more important, then you might be more suited to a new-build. It is important to remember that every house is different and there are always exceptions to the rule.

Here at Hudson Moody we have plenty of experience helping people to find their dream homes in the York area. For advice and more information please call our office on 01904 650650 or alternatively click here to view our available properties online.

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