Buying a new-build home - the pros and cons


In with the new

Not everybody finds old properties charming. After all, they are by definition more well-worn than new builds.


That wonky floor that one person finds characterful is simply a hazard to another. And the original sash windows that some people find 'oh-so-charming' are just draughty and inefficient in the eyes of others. Houses, like everything in life, are horses for courses.


However, one indisputable fact of homebuying is that it's expensive and many people look to minimise ongoing expenses by avoiding properties that will require a lot of maintenance. And as a rule of thumb the older the home, the more maintenance it will require.


On the other hand new homes give the buyer a certain level of reassurance. For a start they usually come with a 10-year National House Building Council's Buildmark warranty, which covers a wide range of defects, from problems with a property's foundations to the double glazing.


They are also less likely to suffer from problems by virtue of the fact that everything is so new. The windows shouldn't be draughty and the boiler shouldn't be faulty – and even if it is, it will be under guarantee. While it is common to hear people say 'they don't build houses like they used to', it's also a fact that building regulations have been strengthened over the years and that means new build homes should be less likely to suffer problems that period properties.


Pick your own

Even better, everything is brand spanking new in a newly built home, and if you buy it 'off-plan' before it's completed you often get to choose your preferred colour schemes and some fixtures and fittings.


They also tend to be built specifically to be energy efficient and are therefore cheaper to run than older homes, which can make a huge ongoing difference to your gas and electric costs.


Finally, remember that new build homes are chain free, which may not be a deciding factor in your choice of a home but is a huge benefit for many. It means the purchase has far less chance of falling through and should go through quickly.

Giles Hannah, managing director of VanHan, an expert in new development London sales, says: 'Off-plan new-build sales are becoming popular once more. Many buyers prefer new-build properties because they are well designed for today's living and benefit from air conditioning and good insulation."


He continues: "Ultra-modern interiors are attractive to buyers, while they can often have a say on the detail and colour schemes, avoiding the need to redecorate as soon as they move in."


These modern, easy to manage homes are good for lots of different buyers, but particularly first-time buyers who don't want and can't afford to renovate their first home, families without time for heavy maintenance, landlords who want to let the property quickly, and older buyers who are looking for a home that is easy to clean and look after.


But no matter how practical they might be, for some buyers new builds are a total turn-off.