Period property vs. new build is one of many decisions you’ll make when home-buying. To make your decision making easier, we’ve put together a list of the benefits of both.
Not much divides opinion among homeowners like the period property vs. new build debate. It’s one of the many decisions you’ll make when home-buying, and comes down entirely to personal preference. Period properties are full of character; they embody British architecture at its finest, be that the grandeur of a Georgian home or the charm of a thatched-roof cottage. Many people are immediately drawn to this, along with the stability of a period property. Others would prefer the blank canvas of a newly-built modern home. With crisp newness and modern fixtures, new builds represent 21st-century living at its best. Of course, there are many pros for both. We’ve compiled a list of the things to weigh up to help make your decision easier.
From Victorian terraced houses to more modern mock Tudor homes, Britain has a rich architectural history. If you tend to favour period property, you’ll find plenty on the market to turn your head. Most older homes are charming and weathered, yet strong and reliable. Many hold qualities that seem to have been lost in modern home-building, such as high ceilings and spacious reception areas. The things that your older home will benefit from are:
Many modern properties are now built with breezeblocks and plasterboard which aren’t nearly as thick as bricks and stone. Thicker walls will benefit the building by improving insulation and acting as great sound barriers. Aesthetically, they also create deep window sills which are handy for plants, books or coffee mugs.
In most cases it’s easier to add an extension to a period property, either upwards or at the rear. As well as adding more space, this also adds value to the property if you’re looking to sell in the future.
From the sash windows of a Georgian home to the fireplaces of a Victorian property and the low timber framing of a 19th century build, the characterful features found in period properties retain the charm of eras gone by. It’s these that most people fall in love with when house-hunting and are what make a home unique.
Older properties were typically built with larger, more spacious rooms and reception areas.
You’ll often find that most period properties have better parking and longer driveways than newbuilds.Location
Period buildings typically benefit from the most desirable locations, having been built when space was ubiquitous. By virtue of being older, they’ve secured some of the most sought-after spots in towns, often conveniently around communal squares or well-located for major transport links and amenities.
Like the parking, you’re more likely to have a larger garden with an older property since they tended to be built on larger plots of land.
Things to consider...
- Having a chartered surveyor carry out a house survey is a good idea. They’ll be able to alert you to any defects or damage that typically fall under the wear-and-tear of older buildings. Some may need to be fixed before you move in.
- It’s a good idea to add an extra 20% to your repair/refurbish budget for any unexpected faults.
New build houses
The antithesis of period properties, new builds are satisfyingly-blank canvases ready to be made homely. With 165,160 new houses built in 2018 according to the Ministry of Housing, there are certainly rich pickings on the property market. There’s something extremely blissful about buying straight from the developer and knowing that you are the first person to use the kitchen or sleep in the bedroom. Even if you are not the very first owner, you’ll still enjoy a certain amount of newness that doesn’t come with a period property. With a new build you can pretty much guarantee smooth walls, even flooring and the chance to decorate exactly as you see fit. Other benefits include:
A house that comes with new tiling, paintwork and fittings will need minimal - if any - adjustments. You can unpack your belongings and start enjoying your new home straight away.
Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of a new build is its energy efficiency. New build homes have to comply with the latest building regulations and are typically well insulated with cavity wall foam, loft insulation and double-glazing. Data from Energy Performance Certificates shows over 80% of new homes have the highest A or B ratings, compared to just 2.2% of existing properties, meaning that they are far more energy efficient and will save you money on utility bills.
You can expect new build properties to have fittings and fixtures of the highest quality, new materials. This means they’ll be less susceptible to wear and tear and potentially more cost efficient since you shouldn’t need to replace things any time soon.
Easy to personalise
Buying early in the construction phase affords the opportunity to choose everything from the carpet colours to the kitchen fittings. As the first owner of a property, you can decorate your place the way you wish from day one. You won’t need to live with the design choices from previous owners.
If a property is registered with the National House Building Council, it will have a 10 year warranty and protection scheme. This means that if anything was to break, the developer is obliged to have it fixed ASAP for you.
New builds are generally laid out in such a way to reflect modern day living at its best and most convenient. You can expect light, airy rooms, modern gadgets and energy-saving gizmos. Some new developments even come with fitness suites, communal spaces and shops.
You won’t need to wait for someone to move out when buying a brand new property, ridding yourself of the stress of being in a chain. Getting in and out should, in theory, be quick and hassle free.
Help to buy
Initiatives such as the government’s Help to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes make it much easier to get funding for new builds. This makes a new home particularly appealing to first-time buyers who may be struggling to get onto the property ladder and saving for large deposits.
Things to consider...
- There’s often wiggle room to negotiate the price when buying off plan, especially if you show interest early on in the development.
- When buying off plan, be sure you know exactly what is included in the price.
- Most new builds are presented in a way that doesn’t reflect actual living. Remember, the show home isn’t necessarily what your house will look like; try to see past the staging.
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