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Pre-owned or new: which home is right for you?

Mon 30 October 2017

As we approach the run up to Christmas, sellers are starting to save any fresh instructions for the New Year market spike. That said, the property market still boasts a wide variety of houses to choose from on the major property websites. A large proportion of these are brand new homes marketed either by the large national house builders or by more bespoke regional firms that are solely building quality houses in the West Country.

Brand new homes appeal to a proportion of the buying public for a variety of reasons. Together with the obvious novelty of being your home’s first ever residents, another advantage of buying new is that you can often decide the final finish and specification  when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, safe in the knowledge that you have a 10-year guarantee. As energy efficiency in construction has improved over the years, the annual running costs are significantly less than second-hand homes. 

The downside of buying a new home, however, is that any “teething problems” caused in construction manifest in the first few years. Also, many new homes have been built at a higher density than older housing developments and as a result the gardens tend to be smaller than home built in the previous decades.

Frequently, buyers want the best of both worlds; an older property that they can refresh and modernise to their own style and taste, often inspired by television programmes and magazines. Another advantage of this type of property over a new development is that it comes with the cosy promise of a ready-made, tried and tested community. 

By the very nature of new homes, being built on the edge of existing settlements often means that further developments will continue to take place in surrounding areas over the years to come. This might change both the character of the location and its desirability.

Much older properties often boast period features, which become real selling points. Indeed, those of a particular historic nature could be listed of architectural and/or historic interest and will therefore require consent for significant alterations. That said, the honour of living in a house that will never be built again often outweighs these restrictions. 

For the majority of buyers, a house hunt is all about location, location, location. While the estate agent dealing with the sale will be happy to discuss the pros and cons of the property, particularly if you are not aware of the area itself, it is certainly worth doing your own homework before committing to this all important purchase.

In conclusion, the best advice would be to look at and consider a wide variety of house styles and locations before making any offers to secure a property; the many associated costs of solicitors and SDLT are expenses that can never be recovered!  

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