Buying a North London house isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but logistics and money aside, you have a key decision to make before you even start viewing potential properties: do you want a new or old home?
New build homes today are often 20% smaller than homes built in the 1970s. Forty years ago there was room for a garage and two cars on the drive of most semis, commonly built 12 to the acre. Today, buyers are lucky to get one parking space outside a terrace, built up to 24 to the acre.
We wanted to look at the pros and cons of purchasing a new build home, and what the advantages and disadvantages are of buying an old house.
The main benefit of a new build home is the fact that it will be perfectly finished, clean and safe to move straight into. You’ll know that everything is up to building regulations and won’t need replacing for a long time. Also, you might be able to dictate the wall colours inside, so you don’t need to paint!
When you are buying a new home straight from the housebuilder, there are no onward chains to worry about. Some housebuilders even have Part Exchange offers, so you don’t have to worry about problems with selling your current home.
All new homes in the UK are covered by a 10-year home warranty and insurance guarantee. The warranty protection provides a very comprehensive cover against a range of potential problems, including any issues with the construction of the home itself. The warranty is free to the homebuyer – the housebuilder takes out the warranty.
New builds aren’t for everybody, aesthetically. One man’s perfect home is another’s unappealing prospect and for some people, new build properties don’t hold any aesthetic joy. This is because they tend to be found on large estates, where every house has a similar look, leading to a lack of individuality. Even the gardens tend to be the same!
Mortgage offers tend to be valid for six months, but if there is a hold up or a problem with the construction of your home then your offer could expire. Lenders will still lend if you are looking to purchase off plan, but if there is a delay then there will generally need to be a reassessment, and if your circumstances have changed then the lender may not extend the mortgage offer.
Older properties have had the time to develop an identity, but you can still put your own stamp on the home. Great floor space and higher ceilings are just two of the bonuses that older properties tend to offer, not to mention a host of period features, or the right vibe for installing some original features, if they have been removed. It’s a lot easier to modernise an old house than it is to make a new build look as though it has some heritage!
Older houses are built to last. All you need to do is look at when they were built to see that! With Victorian and Georgian homes still being amongst the most popular in the UK, the timeless aesthetic and sturdy construction of older houses makes them perpetually sought after!
You will often find yourself in a chain when buying an older property, which can cause delays if there are problems with other homes or buyers further down the chain. Putting an offer in on an older property also means you run the risk of being gazumped, which can be both emotionally and financially draining.
Naturally, older houses need a lot more up-keep than their newer counterparts. This can be a costly endeavour, as can sorting out the heating! You’ll normally find single-glazed windows, ineffective insulation and unreliable central heating in older homes, all of which need tackling as soon as possible.
Renovating an older home tends to be more expensive and extensive than say, adding an extension to a new build. This is because there are more complicated structures to take into account and don’t get us started on listed buildings!
Whether you decide to buy in North London existing or new, make sure you get a survey before moving in, to ensure everything is as it should be.