How to Decide if a New Build Home is Right For You

When looking for your next home, one key decision you’ll face is whether to buy new.

Figures from the National House Building Council show the number of new home registrations increased 7% in the last year, but many buyers still aren’t aware of the benefits.

To help you decide what’s right for you, here’s our explanation of some of the differences between buying a new home, compared to buying an existing property.

The purchase

When it comes to the all important purchase, buying new has two obvious advantages - prices are fixed and there’s no chain. Negotiations can be difficult on existing properties and the process is often more complicated when it involves a large number of interdependent sales.

For many people, removing these issues is enough convince them to buy new. There are also incentives available such as the government’s Help to Buy Equity Loan scheme, which is only available to those buying new homes.

Running costs

With the purchase taken care of, it’s time to think about the comparative costs of living in a new or existing property.

All new homes are built to specific environmental standards and according the New Home Builders Federation, this makes them approximately 65% more energy efficient. Existing properties may have been upgraded but insulation, quality windows and efficient appliances are all fitted as standard in new homes.

Regardless of whether you’re buying a new or existing home, you will receive an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). It’s valid for 10 years and rates different aspects of the property on a scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient. The EPC will also give you information about potential energy use within the property and typical year-to-year running costs. This allows you to make a like-for-like comparison between a new and existing property.

Peace of mind

Property is easily the biggest purchase most of us will ever make and every buyer wants to avoid surprises. Unforeseen repairs and maintenance can cost a small fortune and compared to existing properties, new homes do have one huge advantage. The National House Building Council’s (NHBC) Buildmark scheme provides a warranty and insurance cover in the event you experience any problems with your new property. It covers around 80% of new homes built across the UK – that’s around 1.6 million homes.

“Under NHBC’s 10-year Buildmark warranty, the builder is responsible for putting right any damage caused by their failure to build to NHBC Standards in the first two years,” says Geoff Egginton, NHBC Regional Director for the North East. “Years three to ten are covered by the NHBC should any issues arise, giving the homeowner protection during this period.”

Many buyers really appreciate the peace of mind they get from a warranty and enjoy the confidence it gives them about possible future expenditure.

The homebuilding industry has also introduced other initiatives to take the guess work out of buying a home. Every year the NHBC and HBF conduct a customer satisfaction survey of new homeowners, helping would-be buyers understand the quality of the homes provided by different builders. Strata received the highest accolade of 5-star status in the latest survey. This saw 95% of customers say they are happy with the quality of their new home and would recommend Strata to a friend.

The home’s history

Many people love the history and quirks of older properties. And while some buyers might be put off by potential problems, some homeowners relish the challenge of taking on and upgrading an older home.

Although a new build might not be able to provide the rich history of an Edwardian terrace or the mature garden of a 1930s semi, many buyers like new things and are excited by the idea that no-one has lived in their home before. Innovative new home designs are being created all the time and many people might not realise the variety of new homes available and the many different styles.

Make it yours

Regardless of buying a new or existing property, most buyers would agree the joys of buying a new home is to put your own personal stamp on it. Depending on the stage of your new home, if you buy new there can be a surprising number of elements that you can customise. This could be anything from carpets to kitchen units and tiles. 

With the rest of the house a blank canvas, there’s nothing you need to undo before you can make your mark on your new home.