Whether you’re looking to expand your property portfolio, or get on the ladder for the first time, the age of the property you’re considering will need to be taken into account. Older properties have certain strengths and weaknesses which newer ones lack. The same is true in reverse. Let’s compare the two kinds of property.
Why a New Build
New builds tend to provide the appeal of modern living. You’ll get newer materials, which means that you won’t have to worry about maintenance quite so early in the lifespan of the property. Moreover, more modern building techniques and materials will tend to mean lower energy bills, and thus lower running costs over time.
If you’re having a say in the design and construction of the property, then you’ll be able to tailor it to your liking, and there’s no chain to worry about when you’re buying new.
The first drawback with new builds is that there tends to be less space available, relative to older properties of the same price. At the lower end of the market, this can be a significant drawback. If you’re buying a property that isn’t yet built (or you’re taking care of the building yourself) then you might run into delays – and you might find that your snagging survey comes back on the long side. Make sure that your surveyor is competent and reputable; they’ll identify all of the small structural issues that might compromise your enjoyment of your new place.
Finally, new builds tend to command a premium, and depreciate rapidly during the first year that you own them. You should factor in this cost as you consider your building.
Why an Old Build?
If you’re buying something that’s truly dilapidated, then you might find that there’s considerable scope for improvement – and therefore profit when you come to sell up again. As we’ve mentioned, you’ll also tend to get a little more space for your money. Finally, older builds tend to have a kind of character and history that’s a world away from the sterile chrome and fresh-plastered walls you’ll get in a new build. If that’s what appeals to you, and you’re going to be living in the property, then this is something worth considering.
When you’re buying an old build, then you’re leaving yourself open to the possibility of problems. These might include damp or asbestos. Get the property surveyed before committing to a purchase, and make sure that you appoint a specialised solicitor to deal with any asbestos claims. Older properties also tend to be less energy-efficient, particularly if they’re listed buildings which can’t accommodate double-glazing and other upgrades. Finally, you may have to contend with a chain – which leaves open the possibility that your purchase will be delayed or interrupted.