New Build Vs Renovation: Which Is Right For You?

Deciding which house to move into is hard enough without spending time fretting between whether to buy a new build or a renovated old property.

This guide explores the pros and cons of new builds and renovations. After reading you'll be equipped with the knowledge you need to make the right decision about where you’d like to live.

Are new build houses better than renovated old ones?

Each has its advantages.

New builds are often more expensive initially, which can be off-putting when looking at two properties with similar sizes, locations, and features. But if all goes well with the building, they will come with fewer repair requirements, meaning you stand to save in the long run.

It's also likely that you'll pay cheaper energy bills than you would at an equivalently sized older property. This is because new builds take advantage of developments in eco-friendly design: some by choice, others by law.

In practice this means things like double glazing, insulated walls and loft, and energy-efficient heating will come as standard. As will other nice features to make things a little bit more environmentally friendly.

You may also be able to input on some aspects of the property's design, depending how far into the building process you commit to buy. This could save you having to redecorate rooms after moving in, although be sure you understand whether there are extra costs associated with this, and if so how much they are.

There are some things new builds can’t always capture. Many people feel that new builds lack character or feel a bit generic, but this ultimately comes down to personal preference. New builds do often have smaller gardens and outdoor spaces than equivalently sized older homes, though.

Buying a new build

One factor which makes new builds more appealing is that you become eligible for the Help to Buy equity loan scheme if you're buying one in England, Scotland, or Wales. With this scheme you only need a 5% deposit, and you are entitled to a government loan between 15-40% of the property value.

If you’re buying straight from the developer there won’t be an upward chain to worry about, either. This can make moving quicker and more smooth than buying a renovation that’s part of a chain.

Although the construction of a new build can sometimes be delayed, which is a frustrating and unavoidable way of extending the moving process. In the worst cases this delay can long-eclipse the extra time it would’ve taken for a chain to resolve.

Other things to think about

A new build is often less likely to have a well established community around it. Developers often choose to build on land which might be a few miles outside a town and with not much else going on nearby. If you want to be able to walk to a pub or a high street, check this is a possibility before committing to buy.

It seems unintuitive, but the fact that an older house may not be perfect can work in your favour. Whereas a new build is shiny and fresh, an older house may lend itself particularly well to renovation: a perfect way for you to put your own stamp on the property and make it feel like home.

There are many factors in determining whether a new build or a renovation are right for you. Combine the pros and cons here with how much you like the houses you view, and hopefully the answer will become apparent.