Finding The Right Property: New Build or Traditional

When it comes to the type of property, you’ve got two choices - new build or second-hand. Some people love the idea of the charm and character that an older house offers, while others are drawn to the pristine, untouched ‘blank canvas’ of a new build. Many have no idea where to start - but with pros and cons for each, let’s dive in and see if we can bring some clarity to your decision before you start viewing.  

 The blank canvas - a new build

When it comes to buying your first home, the blank canvas that a new property offers those who like to make their mark is not to be scoffed at. There’s something special about moving into a home in which YOU will be its first resident. No beige carpets to uplift, no flock wallpaper behind the paint, and no windows to replace. Take this option, and you’ll be able to style it the way you want it - and far quicker than you would in an old home. But there’s lots more to like - and a few things that you might not find so agreeable …  

New build - the pros:

  • First things first - with a new build, you’ll get a 10-year warranty from house developers registered with the National House Building Council (NHBC). This means that if there are any issues with the property, the builder, or the NHBC, should address them - although this will depend on what the issue is, as well as what stage it became an issue. You can find out more here.

  • New builds tend to be more energy efficient, meaning you’ll spend less on fuel bills.

  • When buying a new build flat, expect to be paying ‘communal costs’ -  such as the cleaning of common entrance halls and stairs, insurance and repairs. These will typically be shared by all of the property owners in the block and paid for by way of a monthly factoring charge. A management company is usually appointed to ensure these activities are carried out, and you can expect to pay from £50 per month upwards.

  • Probably the nicest ‘pro’ - when it comes to new builds, you know you’re the first to live in the property. This can be a huge plus point if you’re determined to put your stamp on it before anyone else does!

And the cons?

  • New builds tend to be more expensive per square metre than a second-hand property.

  • They can be smaller per square metre than a similar second-hand property.

  • The time between reserving a new build and getting the keys can be fairly lengthy - sometimes months. If you’re looking to move quickly, sometimes this can pose problems.

  • You’ll have to pay for extras such as fixtures, fittings, soft furnishings etc -  and if the property has a garden, more often than not you’ll be looking at additional costs to have the garden turfed or the fence painted.

 Traditional  property - bags of character, but a good idea?


Prefer the character and history that an older property offers? If you’re sold on the idea of a second-hand home, there’s lots out there that’ll deliver. One of the big draws of the older property is the often more generous space than new builds which they deliver - both inside and out. What’s more, an older house very often comes with its own unique character … something that you’ll be missing in a newer property. But there’s lots more to an old building beyond space and character. Here’s what you can expect if you opt for a property with history:


Buying an older house - the pros:

  • Older properties are generally cheaper per square metre than a similar sized new build.

  • You get peace of mind knowing that the property has been lived in - and that any problems with the property should have been disclosed in the Home Report.

  • If you’re the confident type, you can find out about the neighbours - and get a feel for the neighbourhood - by knocking on doors.  Don’t be shy!

  • The previous owners might be prepared to throw in extras, such as white goods, to make the sale.

  • Typically, you’ll be moved in within around 8 weeks of your offer being accepted.


And the cons of a second-hand house?

  • When buying a second-hand flat, you’ll tend to find maintenance costs are higher - and though shared with others, they may not have money to contribute to repairs when they’re needed.

  • Communal areas in flats usually end up becoming neglected.

  • The previous owner may be selling because of a potentially expensive repair issue, which may not come to light until after you move in - so do your homework. Your solicitor should deal with this in their standard offer, but it is best to ask them to confirm that.

  • Energy costs will usually be higher due to the lower energy ratings common with older builds.

  • There’s a likelihood you may need to redecorate.

  • You won’t have the opportunity to pick certain features in advance, like you can when buying a new build.


 And that’s it! Of course, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to deciding whether a new build or older property is best for you - this part is almost always down to personal choice and you’ll often be very certain of which direction you’re heading. That said, new builds in the UK are in good shape, with the overall standard of these properties never having been better while buying an older property usually means you’ll get more bang for your buck.

 But whether you decide to buy existing or new, make sure you get a survey before moving in!

 For further helpful hints and tips for your journey through the property minefield, access our Useful Buying Guides Here