What Are the Pros and Cons of Buying a Brand New Home?




Spring is in the air, and it’s going to be a busy time in the property market. The number of new listings coming onto the market is historically at its highest in March, April and May, and usually in that order. Maybe you’re ready to buy your own place, having been renting for a while and saving up for a deposit. Or perhaps you’ve decided to invest in a rental property and become a landlord.


But regardless of whether you’re a first-time buyer or you already own property, there’s one key decision you need to make before you go house hunting: Will you be looking for a new-build development or a resale property? There are pros and cons for both, and the right choice for you will depend on your individual requirements and personal preferences. So, let’s take a look at some important questions that will help you determine which way to go.

Are you looking for a blank canvas property?

One of the main advantages of buying a brand-new house or flat is that everything is, well, new. The place will have been freshly decorated in a neutral scheme, with brand new fixtures, fittings and appliances. The housebuilder may even have given you a choice of options and upgrades for kitchens and bathrooms, flooring and built-in storage. Whether you’re a busy person with no time or interest in decorating your new home, or you are looking for a blank canvas buy-to-let, a new-build may be the right solution.


A resale property, on the other hand, will have had at least one previous owner, and the older the property, the more historical baggage there will be. From decor choices that you’re not keen on to tired kitchens and bathrooms that could do with a refresh, some work will be required. If the opportunity to put your own stamp on your new home appeals, or you relish the idea of taking on a ‘doer upper’, an older property could be right for you.

What if there’s something wrong with the building?

Another clear advantage of new-build flats and houses is that they come with a building warranty from providers such as NHBC, LABC and Premier Guarantee. These are designed to protect you against faults resulting from poor workmanship or materials. Should there be any snagging issues after the purchase has been completed, your housebuilder should put them right. While it is always worthwhile to commission an independent home survey for your own peace of mind, many homebuyers skip this step with a new-build.


With a resale property, it is even more important to get your own property survey done. For modern, conventional homes built after WWII that appear to be in reasonable condition, a RICS HomeBuyer Report should give you all the information you need. “A Home Buyer Report gives an overview of the property’s condition, and is designed to flag urgent, visible issues that may affect its value.” explains one expert in the field. If the survey flags up any serious defects or potential issues, the findings can be used as a renegotiating tool with the seller.

Are you getting good value for money?

New-build developments and off-plan sales often come with incentives and special offers to tempt prospective buyers into committing to the purchase. If you’re a savvy negotiator, you may be able to secure cash back, a free holiday, some white goods or even getting your stamp duty paid. It’s a competitive market out there. What’s more, high-end properties may feature luxury amenities included in the price, such as in-house gyms, underground car parking, cutting-edge security features and 24/7 concierge services.


It’s a different story when you buy a resale property. The asking price will be based on the property value in terms of its size, location, condition and type of ownership. If you’re looking for best value, our advice is to find a run-down property in a good location and make home improvements that increase the appeal of the asset.

How quickly do you want to move into the new property?

If you are buying with a mortgage, the timing of your property purchase is important. That’s because lenders typically issue mortgage offers in principle for 60-90 days – if you haven’t completed the purchase by then, your mortgage offer may well have expired. Assuming you are taking the usual route of buying through an estate agent, and especially if you are part of a property chain, your legal representative will agree exchange and completion dates that are unlikely to change very much.


With a new-build, you are buying directly from a housebuilder. In fact, the property may still be under construction when you commit to buying it. Completion deadlines for the build may well shift, sometimes for several months, and there will be nothing you can do about it. If you are buying with a mortgage, this could cause problems.

Is energy efficiency a key concern for your purchase?

While it would be entirely reasonable to assume that residential new-builds must surely have the highest EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) ratings, this is sadly not always the case. The minimum energy efficiency requirement for new-builds is a rating of C or above and many only just manage it, though many brand new homes with A ratings do exist.


As a landlord, you need to be aware that minimum energy efficiency standards apply to nearly all rented property. You can currently only let a flat or a house if it has an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of E or above, and this is due to be raised to C or above by 2025. Whether you are buying a new or resale property, your best policy is to take nothing for granted and research each property on its own terms before you make an offer to buy.

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