Tired of viewing fixer-uppers? Feeling pressured to make an offer in case another buyer swoops in? There’s no doubt that the secondhand home market can be tough to navigate – as if moving home wasn’t stressful enough!
New build houses are becoming a much more popular choice, especially for those buying their first-ever home, thanks to a range of benefits that you just won’t find with an older property.
Here, we’ve listed some of the biggest advantages when it comes to buying new build houses, from energy efficiency to structural warranties. Take a look to find out whether a new build home is the right choice for you.
The earlier you reserve a new build home, the more choice you’ll have in its location and final design. Buying off-plan increases your chances of securing the best plot in the development, and the developers may give you the opportunity to select the finishes you want.
Most new builds come with fixtures and fittings as standard, but what’s included can vary. The developer might offer a selection of white goods, floorings, kitchen cabinets, bathroom fittings, colour schemes, etc – allowing you to choose your favourite for your new home.
You might have to pay more to upgrade to premium finishes, but you may not mind this if you prefer getting to customise your house rather than letting the developers choose for you. A new build offers you a blank canvas, without the leftover baggage or renovation expenses associated with buying a secondhand home that’s already been decorated to someone else’s tastes.
New build homes are typically built as part of larger residential developments, which have been carefully planned. These developments tend to have good amenities, such as local shops and green spaces, and access to transport links. They often have young families in mind, so the developments are usually located close to schools and healthcare facilities.
Rather than being crammed into town centres, where there is less space and heavy traffic, residential developments allow each plot to have more outdoor space. If you want a house with a driveway and a private garden, you’re more likely to find it in a new build development.
When lots of people are moving into the area around the same time, it also provides more opportunities to make friends with your neighbours. A new neighbourhood with local services within walking distance fosters a welcoming sense of community.
Newer buildings are built to higher standards, so they’re very well insulated and are fitted with the latest appliances with better energy efficiency ratings. With double or triple glazing, central heating, and insulation in the walls and roof, it’s easier and faster to heat the home, preventing the draughts and dampness that can plague older properties.
Across all types of dwellings in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that new properties had higher median energy efficiency scores, up to 20% higher than existing ones. This correlates to an average Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of Band B, where properties are rated A–G for high or low energy efficiency.
Using less energy to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer reduces both your carbon footprint and your energy bills. When you buy a new build, you’ll benefit from cheaper running costs over time and the peace of mind that your home is environmentally friendly.
As the buildings are completely new, these homes have never been lived in before, and everything is freshly fitted and finished. You won’t have to deal with any wear and tear or leftover clutter before you can live there comfortably – being a clean slate, it will be ready for you to move right in.
Parts that may have deteriorated in an older property will be brand new in a new build house, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and boiler – not to mention the paintwork and flooring – so you shouldn’t need to do any touch-ups or renovations. For the first few years, at least, you’ll only have to worry about minor maintenance, like regular cleaning and gardening.
Since newer houses are built with better quality materials and to higher specifications, you can also trust that your home should last for a long time without needing any major repairs. You should also have the chance to carry out a snagging survey before moving in, so if there is anything that needs to be fixed, the developers can sort this out right away.
When you buy a newly finished house, or purchase off-plan before it’s even been built, you don’t have to worry about property chains. When buying a secondhand house, you may have to wait for the seller to buy their own new home before moving out and making the place ready for you to move in, but the seller has to wait for the person they’re buying from to move out, and so on.
Buying directly from a developer simplifies the multi-step process, even if you have to sell a property yourself. In fact, some developers offer part exchange schemes, where they will buy your old house from you and deduct its value from the sale price of your new build house – so you won’t have to stress about selling it in order to afford your new house.
Once you’ve put in an offer for a new build and the developer accepts it, you don’t have to worry about them backing out of the deal, either – whereas there’s always the risk of a seller pulling out of a secondhand home deal due to a more favourable competing offer.
For first-time buyers, it’s also much easier to buy a home if it’s a new build, because it’s likely to be eligible for one of several government-backed affordable home ownership schemes.
Though there are already many appealing factors that would attract a buyer to a new build house, some developers offer extra incentives to sweeten the deal. This is typically done to help the developers hit their sales targets by securing buyers and completing sales faster.
These incentives might include cashback on your deposit, or contributions towards your legal fees for the sale. This could include partial or full payment of your Stamp Duty Land Tax, which starts at 5% for residential properties valued at £250,000 or more. However, this may not apply if you’re a first-time buyer, as your purchase will be exempt if it’s worth less than £425,000.
As mentioned earlier, some developers may offer assisted sales or part exchange deals, helping those who need to sell their previous property before they can complete their new build purchase.
The most common type of incentive is extra features or upgrades to the fixtures and fittings in your new build house. This could include white goods, landscaping, or soft furnishings – but be aware, they may not always be free, as premium interior design options may simply be discounted.
Safety standards are frequently revised over time to reflect updated knowledge and technology, so modern homes are always built to the latest and strictest standards. Your new build house should have the required fire-resistant materials, smoke alarm technology, and practical layout, and all electrical wiring and plumbing should follow regulations to the letter.
There are several consumer codes that enforce honest and reliable practices, so if you purchase a new property from a developer who is registered to one of these schemes, then you’ll have extra reassurance that you’re investing in a high-quality home.
Your doors and windows will also be securely fitted with reliable locking systems, and many developers also install burglar alarms in their properties. Even if they don’t, new builds typically have suitable wiring for future installations of smart technology, such as video doorbells, digital locks, and appliances that can be remotely controlled.
The higher level of safety and security promised by a well-finished new build can also reduce your home insurance premiums, as these measures can reduce the risks of accidents and break-ins.
New build homes typically come with a structural warranty, which covers the owner against the cost of repairing latent structural defects within at least a decade of the property being completed. The earlier the developer sets up the new house warranty, the sooner the cover begins – so, depending on the terms, your purchase may be protected even if the builders go bust.
You won’t get this peace of mind with older properties, but the Building Safety Act (2022) has made it mandatory for developers and sellers of new builds to provide a minimum 15-year warranty with each property they sell. Typically, the builder is held responsible for fixing defects in the first couple of years, while the warranty provider covers claims for the remainder of the policy term.
Since the cover applies to the specific property, it stays with the building, so the owner can pass it on to the buyer if they decide to sell the house during the warranty term. These transferable structural warranties can be helpful in making the property more attractive to new buyers, too, as it will give them the same reassurance as it did the original buyer.
Of course, there are possible downsides to buying a new build house, too. There’s still potential for delays, as construction projects don’t always run on schedule, and there may be snags that need to be fixed before you’re satisfied with the build quality. You could also face the disruption of building work if you move in too early, before the rest of the development is finished.
New build homes also tend to have a higher price tag, but you get what you pay for, so it’s usually worth it for the higher standards of construction and finishings. The larger upfront investment can also be offset by what you’ll save in running costs and minimal decorating and repair requirements.
If you’re looking for a new build house so you can experience all these benefits for yourself, be sure to read our guide on questions to ask before buying a new build so you can go in prepared. If your developer hasn’t set up a new house warranty, or you’re a new build seller looking for a warranty provider, you can always get in touch with us to request a quote for our ABC+ Warranty.
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