There’s nothing like moving into a traditional period property and putting your mark on it to give your new home a feeling of timeless character and stability.
On the other hand, who wants the headache of a ‘project’ when you can buy a newbuild in turnkey condition that only leaves you to move your stuff to make you feel immediately at home?
New v traditional – it’s an enduring conundrum for many homebuyers and unless you are wedded to the idea of one rather than the other, then there is a lot to consider before you start house-hunting.
Many people begin their property ladder journey with a fixed idea of where they want to live and, while some second or third-time buyers might move from an older property into a newbuild or vice versa, others are likely to stick to the same style with every subsequent move.
Of course, there are huge benefits to both and most people who take their time in making an informed and well thought-through decision can have the unbeatable pleasure of settling into their dream home.
But there are also disadvantages to both and it’s worth taking time at the outset to decide what kind of property is likely to suit your needs, at whatever stage you are in your life, and your personality.
There is no point, for example, in moving to a rambling old Georgian or Victorian folly that needs major upgrading if you don’t have the budget to see it through and you’ve never so much as changed a lightbulb.
Similarly, if you want something with bags of character and a large, mature garden, then you might have to accept that a newbuild isn’t for you.
The pros and cons of a period property
One of the appeals of older houses is that they tend to offer more space. Rooms are generally bigger, often with higher ceilings and gardens are also usually much bigger, which often makes older homes better for families with young children.
Many modern homes have thinner, lighter walls made from plasterboard, while in older properties they are likely to be thicker and made of brick or stone.
On the other hand, some period properties have dated heating systems and lack insulation which means they will take longer to warm up.
Unless the home has been upgraded and well maintained, there may be issues with damp, leaks and tired or worn-out features.
When you move into an older house, you may feel that the old-fashioned décor you thought you could live with when viewing is beginning to get on your nerves and a refurbishment is needed sooner rather than later.
It may be more expensive to fix some items in older properties, particularly if it contains an item or part that is no longer manufactured and can’t be replaced.
The pros and cons of a newbuild
Similar to driving a new car out of the showroom, there’s nothing quite like walking into a brand-new home, knowing you’re the first owners and that everything is untouched and in pristine condition.
The walls are smooth and even, the exterior has a shiny front door, and there’s the opportunity to decorate your home exactly how you want to.
Newbuilds are generally well-insulated and have cavity wall insulation and double-glazing. Consequently, they are cosy and cheaper to run.
With a newbuild you should be able to choose all the fixtures and fittings, from the colour of your new carpets to kitchen and bathroom styles, meaning it suits your taste and personality from the outset.
A newbuild is likely to come with a 10-year warranty, so if anything covered breaks or fails, the developer is obliged to repair or replace it. Warranties can, however, can be limited in scope and difficult to enforce.
On the downside, newbuilds can lack the unique and quirky features of period properties. They tend to be part of a homogeneous design and will not have the character and individuality of some older properties.
Also, while newbuilds are generally more energy-efficient than older homes, they usually cost more than comparable properties.
There is a greater trend for buyers to buy a newbuild plot before construction has begun and, if that’s the case, you may face delays and over-run your completion date.
For more information on buying or selling a property call Purdie & Co on 0131 346 7240 or visit www.purdiesolicitors.co.uk