New build or existing property?

Posted on Friday, 17 May 2019 | Written by Hayward Moon

Deciding between a new build or an existing property comes with both its advantages and disadvantages. It's for you to decide what's important and which home will tick the most boxes. We have rounded up the pros and cons of each. 

Pros to a new builds

Personal input
When purchasing a new build, you have the added bonus of choosing your own finishes. This might include fixtures and fittings, colour schemes and flooring.

Low maintenance
From the start, you can enjoy a low maintenance home without the need to spend time decorating. It's a blank canvas with new tiling, paintwork, kitchens and bathrooms. There is very little, if anything, you need to do to it. You can simply unpack and move straight in.

A step on the ladder
Many new builds are available to purchase with the government's Help to Buy scheme, which has enabled thousands of first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

Chain free
As you are the first owner, you won’t have to wait for the chain of buyers above you to complete on their sale. A hassle-free alternative when buying a home.

Low bills
Due to the latest building regulations that builders have to adhere to, newly built homes are far more energy efficient than older homes.

Cons to a new builds

Room sizes
Although the above are all great factors for buying a new build, they do come with some compromises. Space is a key talking point in newly built homes, as developers like to squeeze a lot of properties on one site to maximise profits.

Property value
Just like a car, as soon as you drive it off the forecourt it’s no longer brand new. This is the same with property unless you are planning to stay long-term, property value may drop within the first year.

Leasehold rather than freehold
Many new properties are sold as leasehold rather than freehold. This isn’t usually too much of an issue, depending on the length of the lease. This could become a problem much later down the line when you go to sell if the lease isn’t long enough.

Quality in the build
Although the property is brand new, it can still suffer some annoying faults. May it be a loose tile, cracked plaster or an ill-fitting kitchen, all of these can be the reality of a new build. If you are planning to buy a new property make sure you plan a snagging survey as soon as the developer allows you on the site.

Unlike an existing property, the obvious here is that your new home is being built. Even though it’s an exciting thought knowing your new home is brand new, it also allows room for complications and delays in the build. Make sure you are aware so you don’t have any unexpected storage and rent fees.

Pros to existing builds

England is known for beautiful period properties, one thing you can ensure when considering an older property is the character that comes with the house. From Georgian sash windows to Victorian fireplaces, there will be plenty of period features to choose from.

With an older property comes long-standing neighbours. They may have not been there for years and years but long enough for you to be surrounded by a friendly community as soon as you move in.

An existing home may not be your dream home from the start. But you have the opportunity to put your own stamp on it, and potentially increase its value.

Older homes are known for having bigger rooms and more spacious surroundings. If you are looking for space, an existing property is your best bet.

Similar to spacious rooms, older properties were mainly provided with off-road parking. If you have multiple cars in your family, parking can be tight around new builds.

Cons to existing builds

With existing properties, you will be in a chain of people when selling your home. This can cause delays and stress to the process if someone was to pull out for whatever reason.

Unlike a new build, you don’t have the option to pick a colour scheme and the fixtures and fittings you’d like. With an older property, you will have to set aside the money to renovate to your taste.

Energy bills
Old houses are known for poor heating systems, letting most of it out of the roof and windows. Make sure you the home is well insulated, which will, in turn, reduce your energy bills and heat the house quicker.

Wear and tear
Another common downside is the general wear and tear that comes with any property that has seen a lot of life. There could be potential damp issues, poor electrics or even subsidence to the property.

Due to the age of many appliances in an older property, maintenance charges tend to be slightly higher as the item you require might not be available today.


When it comes to moving home, we’d love to help you with the legal side of things. With offices based in Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Colchester, Clacton, Diss and Ipswich we’re well situated to accommodate. Get in touch here.

Ipswich 01473 234730
Bury St Edmunds 01284 727290
Diss 01379 646040
Cambridge 01223 236555
Colchester 01206 710717

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