Thursday, July 6, 2017

Time To Buy: New Build vs. Lived In

Choosing a new home is never simple, but perhaps the trickiest part of the decision is a question that has troubled buyers since the beginning of time: do you want your home to be newly built, or already lived in?

While you may instinctively think you already know the answer to that question - most people have a preference off the bat - there’s always a chance you’re overlooking something. Before you throw yourself into a search that only covers one base, why not consider the pros and cons of both options?

PROS: New Build 

  • You’re going to spend a lot less time doing maintenance if you buy a new build house. When you get the keys, that should pretty much be it - the build is complete, and you won’t need to do anything drastic to the appearance unless you choose to do it. 
  • Somewhat inevitably, this is going to save you a lot of money. The cost of renovating or remodeling a house is incredibly expensive, especially if you have a lot to do. From the exterior siding repair to the interior complete bathroom overhaul, there’s going to be a lot of problems you have to fix. Issues on the exterior of the house are particularly problematic, as you’re going to see them every single time you arrive home - a constant reminder that your house isn’t quite up to scratch. While these things can be repaired, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to want to do it immediately. It’s nice to be able to give yourself a few months after moving to be able to just settle in, rather than having to launch yourself straight into a repair job.
  • A new build is a blank canvas. You’re going to be able to choose all the decor right from the off, especially if you buy off-plan and can then be involved in choosing the flooring, countertops, etc. 
  • With brand new properties, you have the chance to fit them how you like, as opposed to retrofitting new elements in an old design. The latter can sometimes be difficult, especially in older properties that may be listed or have aged character you don’t wish to change. In a new build, you can add renewable panels with the best solar company, design custom flood defense systems, and more from the ground up.

CONS: New Build 

  • You are not settling into an established community. There’s going to be a sense of a lack of the familiar, as the neighborhood has been thrown together rather than evolving organically. If you tend to rely heavily on having friendly faces close to you and a sense of community spirit, then you might find this difficult to cope with. 
  • Some people find that new build houses have a tendency to be rather sterile. Obviously, your mileage may vary on this one - it entirely depends on your preferences, but it’s worth keeping in mind. Knowing that your house has no history might be something you struggle with.
  • The fact that a house is newly built is not a guarantee that is has been built well. There’s every chance there have been mistakes made in the construction process, some of which you might not discover until years later - when the house is well and truly out of warranty. It can be dangerous to assume that just because something is new it is perfect, so don’t fall into that trap. 

PROS: Lived In

  • You get a house with history, with a story, in a neighborhood that is already well established. If you want to quickly foster a sense of belonging in your area, you will be surprised to discover just how much quicker this can be obtained in a lived in house.
  • Lived in houses tend to be cheaper when you compare them on a room-by-room basis, which is important if you’re trying to get the most for your money. If you’re willing to opt for a house that is in need of a little bit of TLC, then you can lower this purchase price all the further. 
  • There are going to be no surprises with lived in houses. The house is already established, the address is on all the databases, the routines and routes of the local services have already got your house included. New builds can sometimes take awhile to officially appear on maps and such services, which can be incredibly frustrating for the first few months of living in your new home. 

CONS: Lived In

  • The problem with houses that have already been owned is you might find yourself dealing with the mistakes of other people. If, for example, the former owners knocked a wall down where they shouldn’t, then it’s going to be you dealing with the consequences of that. This is one of the fundamental reasons you should always have a survey completed before you make an offer on any house.
  • You might be faced with a lot of renovation. While it’s not impossible that you will find a house on the market that is exactly to your taste, in which you don’t want to touch a thing… it’s not exactly likely. When viewing lived in houses, you have to train yourself to see past the decor to the underlying structure. Only when you remove the previous decor efforts are you going to be able to put your stamp on things. 
  • There may be hidden problems that you have no way of knowing before you move in, but which the owners were well aware of. For example, you might discover that you have moved into a house where the outdoor space frequently floods during bad weather. Technically, the owners are meant to tell you about these risks, but a lot of people just don’t - after all, they’re trying to sell their house! It would definitely put a dampener on their sale efforts to tell you this, so they just won’t mention it. However, you might find out when you try to insure the house and are told your policy is going to be hundreds of dollars more than you budgeted for. 
With a better idea of the pros and cons of the situation, which idea stands out to you? Do you like your houses to be new, fresh and waiting for a history to be created within them, or to buy somewhere with an established character? The choice, ultimately, is yours - but hopefully this will have provided some insight that can help you along the way! 


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