The U.S. Housing Starts Data (2023 historical report) shows that there were 1.601 million new build starts in 2021, which reflects the need for additional housing. However, new build homes miss that classic charm that old homes have (wood-burning fireplaces, solid construction, rustic touches, and ornate moldings). That being said, taking on an old home typically involves putting in more work on repairs and maintenance.
Old Build Pros
The most obvious appeal of an old home is its character, which is a great feature if you love history. For example, Georgian properties have sash windows and decorative cornices. Naturally, new builds can’t match up to this because these features have been watered down into blank canvases.
If you’re looking for larger rooms, bigger gardens, and taller ceilings, you’re best off searching for an old property. These days, new properties are designed to fit as many as possible into one space, meaning size is sacrificed.
Old homes have been through a lot, meaning they’re more likely to have existing issues. Fortunately, you can have a survey carried out and it will bring up any issues. When you’re buying an old home, remember to ask questions about its structural integrity, plumbing, and electrical works – you can read more about asking the right questions here.
Despite the benefits of buying an older property, you’ll be tasked with high levels of ongoing maintenance, which won’t suit everyone’s budget. Additionally, it often takes a long time for the sale to process, and this may leave you waiting longer than you anticipated. Not only is this stressful, but it also means there’s more chance of the sale collapsing.
New builds are designed with today’s infrastructure in mind, meaning they’re typically more energy efficient. As well as this, the construction company can still be held accountable, meaning you’re covered under the builder’s warranty.
Even though new builds skip out on classic features, having a blank canvas means you can customize the home without having to account for previous changes. Additionally, if you buy a new build before it’s completed, you can have a say in how the kitchen, bathroom, flooring, and carpets are finished.
Depending on the state, there will likely be several incentives and schemes for new-build buyers. Typically, this means a reduction in price or part exchange for an old home.
The most obvious flaw when buying a new home is the lack of space. Builders want to maximize their return on investment, so they pack as many homes as they can into one area. As well as this, because they’ve never been lived in, new builds tend to be more expensive. Further, if you purchase before the build is finished, you may face delays with construction.
Whether you buy a new build or an old home, it needs to suit your needs and budget. The best way to be prepared is to ask questions to your estate agent, expect delays, and be ready to carry out maintenance tasks.