Agents are often asked whether it’s better to buy an existing home or a new property off plan from a developer, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer as both options have their benefits. So, it ultimately depends on your personal requirements at the time.
'A little research goes a long way'
As with most things in life, the only way to make the right decision is to make an informed one, so a little research will go a long way to help you understand which option is the right one for you right now.
The biggest advantages of buying an existing home are that the neighbourhood is usually established so there is little risk of having the disruption of ongoing construction and these areas will also have a developed infrastructure and an array of amenities like shopping centres, schools and sports facilities in close proximity.
Gardens are also most likely well established, so you won’t have to spend valuable time and additional money on creating a garden from scratch.
'Explore suburb in which you are looking to buy'
The best way to determine these factors and help you decide is to explore the suburbs in which you are looking to buy, taking note of the infrastructure and choice of amenities as well as the sale prices the area commands.
Once you have this information, it will be easier to choose between buying an existing or a new home and to evaluate the pros and cons.”
'Dated properties need modernisation, can be costly'
The two main disadvantages of an existing home are that the property may be dated and in need of modernisation or some renovation and also that it’s likely to require maintenance sooner which can prove costly over time.
It’s important to inspect the property thoroughly before buying, because although small maintenance issues are to be expected, you don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised by major defects which only become evident at a later stage, resulting in additional expenditure.
The main advantage of buying a brand-new home is that everything will be fresh and new with none of the wear-and-tear of a property which has previously been lived in, where no major maintenance, refurbishments, or repairs will be necessary for the next three to five years.
'Buying off-plan lets you choose'
And, if buying off-plan, you can choose the layout you prefer, the size of the unit, and usually there is a list of finishes from which to choose.
The initial layout can also be less as with new developments there is also no transfer duty (you do pay VAT) and some developers add extras such as appliances or a levy holiday.
Its also possible to build a much more energy efficient house using all the new materials and products which will ultimately save you money on running costs in the long-term. Although it is possible to make energy friendly changes to an existing property, it would never be at the same level as a new build.
'New homes have NHBRC guarantee'
Another compelling benefit of buying new from a developer is that these homes come with a National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) five-year guarantee, with the roof guaranteed for one year.
Buyers also have a stipulated period after moving into the property during which time any snags will be made good by the developer.
And if you buy from a developer the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) will safeguard you, whereas if you buy from a private seller the CPA doesn’t apply.