Buying your first home is one of the most important and daunting tasks that anyone can undertake. At Strawberry Star we realise that our clients want to be well informed and assisted in making the best decisions they possibly can, so let’s break down a few of the pros and cons of buying a new versus pre-owned home.
When deciding to buy a new or pre-owned home, personal preference is almost always the deciding factor. However, it is important to have some fundamental knowledge about what exactly you are buying into with each type of property. The rules here don’t apply to every property but knowing what to look for will help you eliminate any unwanted stress and get you on track to finding the perfect home for you and your family.
There are pros and cons to both new and pre-owned property, and it is important for your decision, and personal preference, that the pros far outweigh the cons. For an example of what a new development looks like and the features one can expect, take a look at our new development in Luton – LU2ON.
New Development – Pros
- Blank Canvas: What most first-time buyers look for in a new home is the option to make it your own. A new home is a blank canvas and many development companies give buyers the option to choose from a wide range of fixtures, finishes, and flooring. This gives the buyer the opportunity to create a home that suits their needs and taste and takes away the expense and hassle of having to renovate or redecorate an existing property.
- Energy Efficiency: Compared to existing older properties, new-built homes will likely feature more modern and energy-efficient building techniques. These properties are often well-insulated and have double-glazing as a standard feature, making them much cheaper to heat than older properties.
- Safe and Secure: Over time, standards of safety have become higher and new-built properties are built to conform. They will feature alarms and fire doors, be built with fire-retardant materials, and often have burglar alarms and security lighting as a standard. For an example of a new development with top-spec security and safety features, take a look at Strawberry Star’s Wandsworth development.
- Modern Living: When buying a newly developed top-spec property, it is likely to come featuring some of the newest ‘smart home’ technology too. These can include sensors linked to most of your appliances and lights that can be remotely monitored and controlled. Most will also feature spacious open-plan layouts, and some even have shared services such as a gym or concierge like the Strawberry Star development at Greenview Court in Southall.
- Warranty: All new-built properties are designed and built to the latest industry specifications and many developers offer warranties or insurance on the developments they build. All new properties come with a 10-year warranty from the National House Building Council regardless, which gives new homeowners the much-needed peace of mind in case anything should go wrong. Most owners of new-built homes also find that maintenance costs are low due to the quality of the building and the specifications, as well as the added layers of protection.
- Incentives: Many property developers will add incentives to secure faster and more reliable sales. These are great to look out for and can include covering payment of your stamp duty, costs of some of the fittings and fixtures you’ve selected, or even paying for the carpeting.
- Chain-free: As you will be the first-ever owner of the property, there won’t be a chain of buyers above you. This can be very appealing to many buyers and once the loan is approved on a new-built property the owner can simply move in. With pre-owned properties, a long chain of buyers may be involved.
Pros to purchasing a new development from Strawberry Star
There are many pros to purchasing a property in a new Strawberry Star development, with our highly specialised estate agency services making the entire process a breeze. We have many years of experience in real estate and are able to recommend buyers to a panel of efficient solicitors and conveyancing attorneys. Should the buyer of the new development property wish to rent out the home, Strawberry Star will help find a suitable tenant and will manage the entire process of the tenancy – including helping with solicitors, tenancy management, and rent collection. Should the buyer wish to re-sell the property at a later stage, we will help you with that every step of the way, too.
New Development – Cons
- Untested: One of the things to consider when purchasing a new-built home is that nobody has lived there before, making them susceptible to some inconveniences such as being less soundproof than you would like.
- Fittings and Furnishings: There are several costs that need immediate attention when you move into a new-built property – such as curtains, coat hooks, towel rails, and a phone connection. These are all typically left behind by owners of pre-owned homes.
- Garden: While there might well be a garden, or rooftop garden, at your new-built home, it will lack the years of attention and nurturing that a garden in a pre-owned home has. Trees and other plants will probably not be fully matured, so they may be more vulnerable than plants that have had more time to settle and grow.
- Decorating: This may be a minor con, and one that won’t bother most buyers, but you might not be able to start painting and properly decorating until the property has settled and dried out fully.
- Expensive: New-built homes have the obvious bonus of actually being brand new, but with the clean and shiny walls and fittings comes a premium price tag. While there might be a one-year-old property for cheaper across the road from your new development, our advice is that the investment in a new property will maintain more of its value if you plan to live there long-term.
Pre-Owned – Pros
- Tried and Tested: There can sometimes be some minor issues in new-built houses that won’t be obvious to the buyer until you’ve moved in. These will have most likely been identified and fixed in older homes.
- Character and History: Older properties can have a lot of character and the history of the property could be what attracts certain buyers. An older property could have an old fireplace, sloping ceilings, big wooden beams and intricate brickwork that is not often found in more modern buildings.
- Larger Garden: Older homes were built in a time when the property market was less competitive, so they may have had the opportunity to add in a large garden. These gardens will be well settled and maintained, as the plants will likely have been around for years.
- Lower Price: Generally speaking, the price of an older property tends to be cheaper than that of a newly built one, but this is not always the case. Because older houses have been standing for much longer, and there is often pressure to sell, you can typically haggle the price down. There are several factors that play into this such as the condition of the home, the location, and the recent selling prices of other properties in the area.
- What You See: Unlike buying a new build off-plan, with existing properties, what you see is what you get. You can also see as much as you like by getting the property surveyed, valuated, and by making regular trips to viewings to get a good feel for what it would be like to live there.
Pre-Owned – Cons
- Unknowns: When purchasing an older property there is always the challenge of potential “unknowns” – for example, a pre-existing mold condition that has simply been painted over by the previous owner.
- Fittings and Furnishings: While it can be a bonus that older properties tend to come with fittings and fixtures left behind by the previous owners, these may not always be in good condition or suit your vision for your new home. This is something to consider when viewing homes, as they can become quite costly to replace.
- Costly Energy Bills: Older properties might have an abundance of character and history built into them, but what they typically don’t have built-in are a lot of the energy-saving features that come with a new-built property – such as insulated walls and double-glazed windows. While this isn’t an issue of aesthetics, it is still important to look out for as this can become expensive for homeowners by running up the energy bills, particularly in the colder winter months when more heating and more electricity is required.
- More Maintenance: In addition to the increased energy bills and potentially having to replace the fixtures and fittings, older properties tend to require more maintenance and renovation, due to their ageing features and utilities, to get them to start feeling like your own home.
- Stressful Property Chains: When buying an existing property, there will likely be property ‘chains’ involved. These chains can cause buyers a lot of stress if they are unexpectedly broken or stretch out for a long period of time. It is important to remember, before you put in an offer for your dream home, that these processes can often take a very long time to complete.
- Renovations: You may want to replace or renovate a tired kitchen or bathroom in your pre-owned home, so factor that into your budget when you are viewing the property and planning your vision. Some older properties exist in conservation areas and have a listed status that will determine, and limit, the kind of modifications and repairs you can make.
Making your decision
We realise that there is a lot to think about after going through the pros and cons of a new-built versus an existing home, but as a first-time buyer, it is important to have as much information as possible to help guide you toward making the best decision you possibly can. This is, after all, one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life and you only get to make it once.
If you feel you’re ready to take this exciting first step toward becoming a homeowner for the first time and want more information on property sales and how to search for homes, then contact our offices and we can get you started on the path to your new home.