It’s ‘New Homes Week’ – are you thinking ‘new’ for your retirement property?

Blog posted

15th May 2017

Charters Village


For those who are retired or about retire and want to move or downsize, there are various options available but the benefits to be gained through buying a brand new property are enormous.

With today marking the beginning of ‘New Homes Week 2017’, an annual initiative set up to educate and inform potential buyers by the Home Builders Federation (HBF), whose members deliver around 80 per cent of the new homes each year, we thought it timely to explore some of these.

Benefits of buying new

  1. A blank canvas: Buying new means that everything is untouched by the previous owner and you can customise the property’s interior design and building features from the ground up (although there may be costs involved). No dodgy décor to paint over!
  2. Cheaper and greener: Modern homes are highly energy efficient, using technologies such as double-glazing and LED lighting to minimise carbon emissions, as well as reduce your utility bills. This means new homes can cost far less to run than pre-owned.

For example the HBF says that a three bedroom semi-detached Victorian house with some modern improvements has annual energy costs of £1,670. This compares with the equivalent new build bill of £780 – a saving of more than 53 per cent!

  1. Safe and secure: New homes conform to stringent safety standards and some have features such as fire doors and entry call systems as standard. Also, you benefit from a New Homes Building Guarantee (NHBC), which means if you find anything wrong with the property within a specified time period the developer rectifies it free of charge.
  2. No property chain: This is very appealing to many people in later life as they have the freedom to choose their moving in day. We all know the potential risks associated with lengthy chains!
  3. Low maintenance costs: The older a home the more maintenance it needs. You might need to replace the boiler or kitchen appliances, fix a leaky roof or mend the garage door – the list goes on and on. If you buy new you generally say goodbye to all those repair jobs and have the backing of your NHBC certificate for anything more major.

These benefits offer buyers unrivalled peace of mind, which is critical for many people in later life who do not intend to move again. If you get it wrong mistakes are almost always expensive and extremely stressful to rectify.

Investigate pre-owned homes too

With all the above said, the decision to buy a new or pre-owned home is not always simple or obvious. That’s because it is more than a pennies and pounds debate, it is often a lifestyle choice.

For example, some people love the clean lines of a modern building while others prefer the architectural appearance and features of older properties, or even their history. Perhaps someone famous once lived in the home, or it had an interesting former use.

There are lots of reasons to buy new, but for many people, owning a pre-owned property will always be the preferred way forward. That’s what makes the housing market so fascinating – it’s all about individual choice, personal preferences and circumstances.

It’s fair to say, pre-owned properties bring plenty of benefits too:

  1. Character: Older properties often ooze charm and history. This could mean building features, such as vaulted ceilings, or interesting stories about people who have lived there. You may find this very appealing.
  1. Price: Pre-owned homes are typically less expensive than new ones. For example recently published research that revealed pre-owned homes in London cost an average of £542,715, while similar new builds cost on average £679,671. That’s 22 per cent more.

Pre-owned homes are often more traditional in design and build, which might be similar to a purchasers’ existing home. If the move is a big step then you may find a little familiarity appealing.

Plus when it comes to viewing, in pre-owned properties you can instantly see already furnished rooms and understand how your own furniture and fittings might work in the same space.

However, you may find older properties within a conservation area or with listed building status are subject to restrictions on changes you hope to carry out.

Other considerations when deciding to purchase a new or pre owned home

Whether you choose to buy new or pre owned, remember that you are future proofing your life so making the right choice is essential. Take your time and don’t rush into it!

Do your research online and take advantage of any forthcoming events in the community you are considering. Some developers even offer free ‘Try Before You Buy’ schemes, which allow you to actually stay the night and experience the community first hand. Listen to what the HBF is promoting and decide whether new is right for you.

Whatever your final decision, there is a growing amount of choice out there including our own widening portfolio of retirement properties (both new and pre-owned). Happy house hunting!