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New vs old – should I buy a modern mansion or a period palace?

When buying a home, a key factor for many is whether to purchase a modern new build or a character filled conversion. It’s a decision that often comes down to personal taste however there are some big pro’s and con’s for both that could help to inform your decision and which you should certainly consider:

1. Energy efficiency: The Government has set targets for all new build homes to be zero-carbon by 2016, which effectively means that all new homes constructed after this date will be built to save you money. Advances in home building mean that features such as insulation, double glazed windows and efficient boilers are now all specified as standard, and developers are required to specify energy savings which allow for 25% better energy savings than a standard property.

What this effectively means is that any new home you buy now will be at least 25% more energy efficient than a second hand home which has not been specified with energy efficient measures. That said, many period homes these days have undergone modern transformations and are now retro fitted to include a host of sustainable features also included in new homes. The key is to ask your agent what features your home includes and what the current occupants pay in energy bills.

2. Incentive schemes: In a bid to encourage buyers, many developers offer incentives to buyers such as cash back vouchers, smaller deposit requirements, having your legal fees or stamp duty paid for and even furniture packages to help kit out a new property. Stamp duty payments in particular are a huge draw to many buyers, especially first time buyers who often find the added cost just a step too far. Incentive schemes on traditional homes are not nearly as common and nearly never found on desirable homes for which there is competition among buyers.

3. Specification: Buying a new build home can often offer the option of customising your home during the build process – especially if you are buying off-plan. Buyers are often offered a choice of fittings and options for key rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, which can be a huge money saver as it avoids the hassle of having to re-decorate a few months down the line. Older homes meanwhile often provide owners with a wealth of beautiful period features, high ceilings and unique layouts which for many owners are the perfect backdrop against which to decorate.

4. Rental values: Achieving a good rent often depends on various factors including location, size, specification and demand. Many tenants like the hassle free nature which new build developments are perceived to offer and very often new homes are built for the investment market. Compromises which many come to expect in older period properties such as differing room sizes, mis-matched décor, creaky floors etc are often not found in new build properties, ensuring a slight premium for the convenience.

5. Maintenance: Many buyers appreciate the convenience and maintenance free lifestyle which new build homes offer and with the majority coming with a 10 year NHBC or equivalent guarantee many feel happy that should there be an issue, it will be cost free to resolve. Despite this, many new build owners do suffer ‘snagging’ issues once they take occupation and these can sometimes be annoying and inconvenient. Period homes meanwhile have been established for many years, and can suffer from a variety of issues that need constant attention from leaky faucets to rising damp.

So while both options come with many benefits and a few cons, it does really depend on personal preference and what your priorities as a buyer are. London luckily is able to offer a wide variety of properties for buyers of all requirements and at a range of budgets to suit.

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In house team London Property Market

As the marketing and communications team at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward's head office, our aim is to keep you updated and informed where the London property market is concerned. In addition, we'll bring you tips on navigating current issues and trends in the market when buying, selling, letting and renting to ensure that whatever field you're interested in, you'll be completely informed.

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