My Dream Home
If you are looking to buy a property with the dilemma of not knowing what type to choose then join in this week's Little One’s Chat. Having bought a new build property myself and lived in a Victorian house growing up, I am weighing up my experience of both! I apologise this is a day late but I actually had a meeting with my neighbours in my new build estate yesterday which ended up lasting two hours unexpectedly!
So to give you a brief introduction, I lived in a Victorian property growing up in Liverpool. I absolutely loved my parents' house and still do; it has so much character and history to it and I always wanted to live in a something similar when it came to the point where I was able to have my own place. I either wanted a Victorian house or a cool loft style apartment like one of those New York style ones converted from an old warehouse - in fact I would still say my dream home would be a loft apartment with exposed brick, a rooftop garden and underground secure parking (however... there is nothing like this really in Liverpool that ticks all three AND is within my price range!).
I did actually come close to buying a warehouse style loft apartment in Liverpool city centre at a steal of a price but some sneaky fella put an offer in as a cash buyer and got the sale. I was gutted at the time but I think it was a blessing in disguise as...
1. It had no parking
2. It had no balcony or garden
3. It had electric heaters and was completely open plan with exposed brick which would only mean one thing - a hefty bill each month!
Don't Let Your Heart Take Over Your Head
I think you can fall into the trap of letting your heart take over your head by falling in love with something without taking all practicalities into account and only look at things on the surface. You do need to think of all aspects from bills, energy efficiency, maintenance, layout as well as the pretty things on the surface too.
Strangely I ended up buying a new build property, something I NEVER thought I would EVER do.
I wrongly preconceived all new build houses to be rubbish quality, with lack of character and tiny boxy rooms but how wrong was I! I think many people still think this with a new build house but things have changed dramatically with many of the designs taking influences from traditional housing yet incorporating layouts that meet modern lifestyles.
My parents suggested visiting the local new build estate that had just started being built and I decided it would do no harm to have a look around even though I thought they were completely out of my price range. I was blown away by the show home! Everything about it was perfect; the layout, the design, the style of the exterior, the size of the garden, the size of the rooms. Up until that point I had always found faults with other older style properties and there was always at least one thing that I didn't like but with this one I loved everything... so we put a deposit down the next day after finding out that we could actually afford it! 16 months later we are still loving the house and have come a long way with the decoration and garden. It has been a long process but I don't regret buying a new build one bit.
New Build Pros and Cons
I thought I'd do a property review and pros and cons list for both a new build house and old house due to having experience of living in both. Hopefully it can help you consider things you may not have even thought about when making your final decision. This first post will focus on the pros and cons of a new build. Next weeks Little One's Chat will focus on the pros and cons of an older property!
- The layouts are great with many having open plan kitchen/diners (this was high up on my priority list). Also the wardrobe space is ample in the bedrooms with cubby holes made specially for a wardrobe. Many older properties have nooks and crannies either side of chimney breasts that don't allow for a decent sized wardrobe.
- You get a blank canvas to do whatever you want with. It's brand new so being the first person to live in it makes it a bit more special!
- New build estates have a real community feel with everyone moving in within a similar time period. Many younger couples live in our estate so it is nice to know we have neighbours at a similar point in their lives. However, there is a mixture of families and retired couples too so it has a great variety.
- You often get a 10 year guarantee that covers you for any building problems. This means if you have a leak then you are covered within the guarantee and won't need to pay for damage.
- Everything is brand new meaning you have the latest technology in heating systems/ windows/ low maintenance panelling on your house and lighting.
- The energy efficiency of new build homes are brilliant - our bill each month is so cheap compared to people who live in older properties.
- With your house being brand new, you only have to worry about the chain on your end so if you are a first time buyer it makes it even more straightforward!
- The government funded Help To Buy scheme helps first time buyers and second steppers in the purchase of their property making it possible for people who may not have otherwise been able to buy a property.
- If you buy off plan you get plenty of time to save money while it gets built and it staggers the whole process taking the pressure off you. Buying a house and moving can be stressful so it is nice to split the process up into stages. We had to wait 8 months for ours to be ready which gave us lots of time to save up and think about how we want to decorate it without rushing into decisions.
- Snagging. Don't let me talk too much about this as it is quite a stressful process and it stresses me out just thinking about it! Trying to sort snagging out around your full time job/ decorating/ spending a fortune on furniture etc etc is an absolute nightmare I'm not going to lie! It's a process that all new builds have to go through and you just have to accept it. The thing to remember is... things will get sorted eventually and you just have to be patient. Sometimes problems can be ongoing but you just have to be persistent in chasing up issues with the builder and keep on top of things to ensure it is being sorted. If you are laid back about it then they will put all the other moaning customers as priority and you just go straight to the bottom! My advice is to be firm, polite and persistent when dealing with your complaints. Shouting and screaming will get you nowhere!
- New build houses tend to be more expensive than an older property.
- Being a blank canvas can also be a con because you have to do EVERYTHING from scratch! It's a very time-consuming thing doing the most basic things like putting hooks on doors, painting your garage floor, fitting blinds and curtains in every room and doing your garden. Our garden was just top soil when we got the house.
- You often have to pay extra for many things such as your fencing, flooring and turf. We didn't consider this at first and realised we had a lot of things to buy afterwards!
- The walls are all plasterboard meaning you have to use special fixings when hanging pictures on the wall. You also have to be careful about hanging wall units etc as plasterboard isn't able to support very heavy weights and the walls will need reinforcing.
- Often when you first move in, the rest of the site isn't finished yet so you have to accept that you will have a lot of dust settling and noise from builders. However the dust wasn't a huge problem at all and the noise wasn't really a problem due to our windows being double glazed.
You have to weigh up all these elements and decide what works best for you, I may have missed some things out but I'd say what I've outlined above are the major things to consider. All in all I'd say the pros outweigh the cons for me by far.
If you have any questions about my experience of buying a new build house then do comment below! If you also would like to share your experience then I'd love to find out too!
Join me next Monday for the pros and cons of an older property.
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