It’s slightly wonky. It needs constant maintenance. The layout is a bit weird for modern living. We’re talking about older homes here, and in their way they’re lovely. But modern new build homes? New builds couldn’t be more different, and the differences are all good ones.
You don’t just get a wonderful place to call home with new build houses. You can actually live the contemporary lifestyle that takes into account everything modern living means. Comfort. The right kind of spaces, arranged in a contemporary way. The right number of sockets and lights. The right sort of windows, proper insulation, energy efficient heating. Plus, in the best places, air cooling, which is going to become ever-more important thanks to climate change.
Read on to find out the many advantages of clean, efficient, comfortable living. We’ll cover the ins and outs of help to buy a new build. We’ll also answer key questions like are new builds overpriced, is buying a new build a good investment, and are new builds worth it. By the end of this article you’ll be your own buying a new build expert.
New Build Help to Buy
First, let’s look at help to buy schemes for new build homes. The new government help to buy new build scheme is called the Help to Buy: Equity Loan Scheme. It’s only open to new build buyers. The scheme was launched on 1st April 2021, designed specifically for first-time buyers. It comes with regional property price limits and runs to March 2023.
Like previous versions the government will lend you up to 20% of the cost of a newly built home, as much as 40% in London where prices are higher than anywhere else. New build experts Barratt and Linden Homes are both involved in the buying a new build scheme, and both have new homes on sale at new build development sites around the UK.
For insight about new build mortgages, click here
Brand New Homes
There’s something special about moving into a new build, a home nobody else has ever lived in. It smells fresh in the same way a new car does. No ancient cooking smells, no nasty niffs from pets or damp spots, rotting wood or condensation-filled bathrooms. No rings around baths or grotty kitchen sinks. With the best will in the world, some older properties take a lot of work to get up to scratch and even more to maintain.
Plenty of flats in older buildings are beautiful. Others have been carved out of the original structure without much thought for anything except profit. Have you seen flats crammed into a building right next to one another, sharing half of a huge front window each? We have, and it was awful. It isn’t unusual to have the kitchen too close to the loo, solved by a past owner by adding an ‘airlock’ in between to meet health and safety regulations. The floors and ceilings may not be properly soundproofed.
Choose the Finish
Imagine being able to choose and specify how your modern new build home is finished? It’s a lot of fun and it means you move into a place that already has the stamp of your personality on it. And you know for sure your existing furniture and other decor will suit your new home well. No scary clashing! Instead you can choose from a menu of exciting and stylish fixtures, kitchen storage, wardrobes, tiling, carpets, decor and more.
Sharp energy price rises set against a landscape of steady increases over many years makes energy efficiency one of people’s biggest concerns. Older homes have variable energy efficiency ratings, including the worst possible scenario – an old place that can’t be made any more efficient than it already is, given an energy-intensive E rating. With a brand new home energy efficiency is built in from the start. There’s no costly retro-fitting, no draughts or leaks or vulnerabilities. You’ll see the energy performance certificate before making a decision. There’s more – new builds can be a lot more suitable for solar panels than old properties. And some have energy efficient ground source heat pumps fitted instead of regular boilers.
Peace of Mind Warranty Protection
There’s nothing quite like a guarantee for peace of mind. The new build warranty, generally the NHBC Buildmark warranty, lasts for a decade and means any fixes your new home needs are covered, a bit like an insurance policy. It covers:
- Buildmark is designed to provide insurance for your home when it hasn’t been built to NHBC Technical Requirements by the builder
- If you make a valid claim, they’ll either pay for repairs or arrange for the work to be done
- There isn’t an excess like there is with insurance, so you don’t pay the first part of a claim. They go by minimum claim value instead. This means they calculate the cost of the work and if it’s more than their minimum claim value, you don’t pay a thing. If your claim is less than the minimum they won’t pay out.
What isn’t covered under the NHBC Buildmark Warranty?
- Ordinary wear and tear, the kind of thing that happens naturally over time
- Neglect or damage from fire or smoke
- Items and incidents covered by your home buildings or contents policy or other warranties, for example on domestic appliances and boilers
Once you’ve been part of one, you can understand how stressful it is to be part of a property chain. A two-link chain is bad enough. Three or more sellers and buyers means the whole thing can easily fall apart. One person’s transaction goes wrong and everyone else suffers, and buying and selling at the same time doubles the risk. When you buy a new build home you sidestep the lot. You and the construction company are the only two parties involved. It almost always goes very smoothly. And that means you can move fast. The buying processes couldn’t be more different.
Your new build doesn’t require redecorating, unless of course you want to. If not, you have already saved yourself money, important for most first time buyers. You might move into somewhere already decorated to your taste. If not, moving into a place that’s 100% magnolia gives you the chance to take your creativity to the max. Paint doesn’t cost a lot. It’s one of the fastest and most dramatic ways to change the atmosphere of your new home. Whether you’re a maximalist, minimalist or something in between, the world inside your four walls is yours to create. It’s quick, clean, simple, and the contemporary materials and finishes are tailor-made for modern decorating products.
Better Safety & Security
Modern building standards demand fire resistant materials, smoke alarms, possibly carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detection systems. They must comply with strict electrical installation standards, which means your wiring is safe. Another important advantage is the locks. New build homes feature the latest, standards-compliant locks on all the windows and doors. Some will come with alarm systems – or have the wiring for an alarm pre-installed. All this can help reduce your insurance premiums as well as making your home more secure than an older place.
You could fight to plug in your gadgets and fail to connect with others in an older building. A new build comes with all the right tech taken into account from the offset: smart home technologies, pre-installed wiring, underfloor heating, Wi-Fi via fibre to the premises or to a box close by, and more. It makes it so much easier to move in, plug in and go when you buy a home with these technologies already in place, and you avoid potentially expensive retro-fitting.
One of the most important aspects of buying a new build is the maintenance side of things. Buying an older place comes with inevitable responsibilities. There’s a constant round of things to fix, from rattling windows and rotting window sills to loose bannister rails, old soffits, broken roof tiles, and re-pointing. In a brand new home your maintenance requirements are minimised, along with the cost. It’s also good to know new build homes are more maintenance friendly than many older properties.
Potential disadvantages of buying a new build home
For balance, we’ll quickly jot down some of the down-sides to a new build. Look out for these and you should be good to go.
- Climate change means it isn’t always wise to buy a new build on a flood plain, or on low lying land where sea level rises in the next few years alone could mean it floods in bad weather
- Quality matters. If people are already living on the new development, ask them about the quality of their homes. If they’re already seeing problems, it might be best to back off
- Always make sure there is an NHBC warranty available. Never buy without a guarantee
Your questions – answered
Are new builds overpriced? No, they’re usually set at a fair rate designed to attract buyers.
Is buying a new build a good investment? Yes, as long as you invest in a quality property with an NHBC or comparable warranty, and as long as you avoid buying in a place that might flood or otherwise suffer from climate change in the near future.
Are new builds worth it? Bearing in mind all the costs and hassle you avoid when buying brand new, buying a new home is a wise move. Special offers from builders plus government support schemes for first time buyers make it an even more attractive proposition.
New build or old?
New and older buildings each come with their own upsides and downsides. Now you know the benefits of buying new builds, London and elsewhere, you can search for the perfect new build houses for sale with confidence. If you’re researching modern new build homes, we’re here to help. Here’s to buying a new build.