Thinking of buying a new build? Here’s a run down of some of the key pros and cons.
Pro – Chain-free
Since you’re the first to live in the property and you’re not buying off another homeowner, this means you won’t have a huge chain of buyers above you. This should make the buying process a little easier and slightly less stressful.
Pro – There’s likely to be an element of customisation
Most developers will allow buyers to select what type of flooring, kitchen cabinets and bathroom tiles they want.
You may be given a list of free options along with another list of premium choices that will cost you extra. To save money, I stuck to the free list but in hindsight, I wish I’d haggled for a discount on the premium list. I’ve even heard of buyers managing to get premium choices installed for no extra cost.
To learn more about buying your first home, take a look at Can’t Swing a Cat’s first time buyer blog section.
Pro – Everything will be brand new
There’s something really satisfying about knowing that everything in your home was installed just for you and you’re the first to use it all.
Not only does it make you feel special, it’s also reassuring to know that in theory, all your kitchen appliances should have a long lifespan.
Most new builds come with warranties which mean that if something breaks before the warranty is up, it’s the developer’s responsibility to fix it.
Pro – Low maintenance
One of the best things about moving into a new build is that you shouldn’t have much work to do yourself. You’ll probably still find yourself making several trips to Ikea and you may even choose to do a bit of decorating, but since everything’s brand new, your new home should be relatively low maintenance.
Con – It may be smaller than an older home
To maximise profits, developers will often pack as many properties as possible into the land that they have. This means you may have less space in your home than if you bought an older property with the same number of bedrooms.
Con – You may have to wait a long time before you can move in
Since you’re buying a house that perhaps hasn’t been built yet, you may have to wait a long time before you can move in. Some developers can throw up a block of flats in just a few short months but other development companies will take a year or more to complete the job.
This is something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of buying a new build. If you’re desperate to move out of the place you’re currently living or your financial circumstances are likely to change in the coming months, you may be better off buying a property that’s already built.
If your completion date is pushed back, you may have to reapply for your mortgage in principle. If your financial circumstances have changed since you got your original mortgage offer, this could see the lender offering you a different amount of rejecting you completely. For this reason, it’s wise to avoid making any drastic changes to your finances while you’re waiting for your home to be built. If you’d like to get a new job at a different company, it may be worth holding off until after you’ve moved into your new home.
Waiting for my apartment to be ready was a really frustrating process. When I first showed an interest in the property, I think I was initially quoted a six month wait, but the deadline kept getting pushed back again and again. I’ve written about how a mortgage broker helped me get a new mortgage in principle when my original one expired.
In the end, I waited almost a full year for my flat to be built. When I eventually picked up my keys, there were still loads of things that were unfinished or done to a poor standard. Thankfully, the developers fixed most of these things over the months that followed, so I didn’t have to make any changes myself.
Con – There may be issues with the quality of the property
When a buyer moves into a new build and notices issues that need to be corrected, these are usually known as ‘snags’.
Often, you’ll be given a snagging sheet to fill in and this is where you list all the issues you encounter. Personally, I find it frustrating that such a thing needs to exist because it goes to show just how common problems are in new build properties. When one of the developers showed me around on the day I collected my keys, there were so many glaring issues I couldn’t believe I even have to ask for such things to be fixed. There was a missing floor tile in the kitchen, for example. There were also patches on the walls that hadn’t been painted and you could still see the plaster.
If you experience issues with the quality of your new home, don’t be too shy to ask the developers to fix them. It’s awkward handing over a list as long as your arm of problems, but you’ve paid for the property and shouldn’t have to make these corrections yourself. I think some developers cling onto the idea that you won’t bother kicking up a fuss.
Con – You may face costs that you wouldn’t have to pay if you bought an existing home
When you buy a new build, you may encounter extra costs that you wouldn’t have to pay if you bought an older property.
From leasehold costs to maintenance fees, these can soon add up.
If you’re buying a new build flat, these costs aren’t too outrageous because it’s common for flats old and new to have such charges.
If you’re buying a new build house, these costs are unlikely to be necessary – but developers will charge you them anyway.