House-hunting can be complicated, with lots of decisions to take and one of these is whether to opt for a new house or an old one.
There are benefits to both and often it comes down to personal choice. Some people love the idea of a new build. For others, they want the character and charm that can come with a house that has a bit of history.
But aside from personal preference, there are some practical advantages that a new house has over an old one that are worth looking into.
A major cause of property purchases failing is the collapse of the house-buying chain. However, with a new property, there is no chain beyond this purchase. Indeed, if you are a first-time buyer, then there will be no chain at all. The shorter the chain, the lower the chances of something going wrong, and therefore you should have a smoother, less stressful experience.
With a new house, what you see is what you get. Everything is new, from the footings to the roof. Unlike an old house, where issues can emerge after purchase, you shouldn’t have any nasty surprises, and you won’t be paying for repairs and renovations. The majority of new properties are covered by the National Housing Building Council’s ten-year Buildmark Warranty, so should anything go wrong you have a form of redress within the first decade.
If you are buying an old house, our strong advice is to have a full survey carried out, so you are aware of any problems in advance.
New properties will be constructed to modern safety standards using fire-resistant materials, and include devices such as alarms, window locks, and smoke detectors. These can also be retrofitted to older properties, but this comes at the home-owner’s expense.
As well as being more secure, new homes are usually more energy efficient, with modern double glazing and insulation as standard. The majority of new properties fall into Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) bands A or B. By contrast, many older properties – again, unless retrofitted – are less efficient. In the face of high energy prices and climate change, being energy efficient is a big plus for new homes.
When buying a new house, you often have the opportunity to customise certain aspects of the home according to your preferences. You might be able to choose the flooring, finishes, fixtures, and sometimes even select upgrades or add-ons.
There are other opportunities for owning a home through new builds. For example, shared ownership may be available, where the buyer purchases a percentage of the property from the developer, with a lower deposit needed. This can make the purchase more affordable and is a way of getting people on to the housing ladder, although shared ownership isn’t exclusive to first-time buyers. Again, this isn’t a route available with old properties.
Of course, whether you buy a new or an old house, you need to engage lawyers to help you with the conveyancing process. If you are considering shared ownership, you will certainly need legal advice.
To talk to our expert conveyancing team, please get in touch. We are property law experts, helping house buyers and sellers across Swindon, Wiltshire, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, and the surrounding area.