Pre-owned vs New homes – What’s the Difference?

There’s a lot of decision-making that goes into buying a new home and so many things to take into consideration before you even think about arranging viewings. One of the main decisions is whether you are looking for a new build or pre-owned home. But is there really much difference? And how do you know which option is right for you? Here are some of the pros and cons to help you weigh up your options.


Pro: Sense of Character

Pre-owned properties, depending on age and care, can have that charm and character factor that makes it easy to fall in love with them. There is a sense of history to the property, which gives it a personal, lived-in feel. Their features are often unique and are less mass-produced.

Pro: More Hardwearing

Older properties tend to be made from more traditional and sturdy materials, like brick or stone, instead of the more common materials used these days, such as breezeblock, timber frames and plasterboard.

Pro: More Space

Many older properties provide much more space overall, especially in terms of garden size. This usually means pre-owned properties are likely to come with more parking space, with driveways and off-road parking.

Con: More Need for Repairs

Pre-owned properties, particularly older ones, are typically much more susceptible to wear and tear and the need for repairs. Sometimes major upgrades and renovations are needed just to bring it up to a modern, or even liveable, standard. A building/property survey is highly recommended for pre-owned properties to ensure you know exactly how much work is required for the property, and just how much you’ll have to fork out to cover it.

Con: Less Energy Efficient

Pre-owned properties usually have older boilers and heating systems that tend to be less efficient than new models. After years of use, some deterioration is unavoidable and this puts a strain on the boiler or heating system, which means they will take longer to heat and could even lose heat due to less effective insulation.

Con: Locked in a Chain

When buying a pre-owned property, it’s more than likely the previous owner is dealing with their own move and are waiting for that owner to move, creating a chain effect outside of your control. Each owner’s move schedule will need to be considered and it can be tricky to come to an agreed timescale that works for everyone. This can add considerably to your own wait and can make the process more stressful.

New Build

Pro: Energy and Cost Efficient

When compared to older homes, new builds are tremendously energy efficient and are generally just cheaper to run. As they have been built so recently, everything is up to a modern standard with contemporary systems and are well-insulated with features, like cavity walls and double glazing. Most new build properties also come with a 10-year warranty, meaning if anything does need to be repaired, it might get covered for you.

Pro: Easy to Make it Your Own

New builds are like a blank slate. No one has ever lived there before you, and it is entirely up to you how to make it feel like home. There aren’t any quirky features you need to work around, or anyone’s previous style you need to redo. If you sign up to a new build early on, some developers will let you have a say in certain elements as they are implemented, such as the colour of the carpets, the layout of the bathroom, or the design of the kitchen.

Pro: Schemes to Help you Buy

Government schemes such as Shared Ownership are great incentives to get you looking at new builds as they aren’t always available on pre-owned properties. For first-time buyers, this kind of leg up might be the best way of getting your foot on the property ladder.

Con: Delays

For many new builds, you’re not buying a ready-to-move-into house but the promise of one on an estimated time of completion, and these assessments aren’t always met. This can be frustrating and stressful, especially when you need to be moved out of your current residence at a certain date and was expecting to be able to move into your new home.

Con: Risk of Snags

With older properties, you expect some deterioration and faults as it’s had the years to collect them, but when your brand-new build begins to show early signs of issues, it can be very frustrating. The warranty of the property don’t always cover minor signs of wear and tear, so it might not apply to some of these issues. To avoid this, consider completing a snagging survey as soon as the developer allows you on site, to have a professional who knows what they are looking for reassure you everything is as it should be.

Con: Less Space

Newer homes are generally built on plots with far more properties and less space between them. This can affect storage space within the property, and externally it can come with less garden space than a standard pre-owned home.

This choice is entirely down to personal preference and what suits your current and long-term needs. If you needed further insight and guidance on what’s right for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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