Deciding between a period and new build property

Period properties are full of character, but new builds offer peace of mind - so there's a lot to weigh up if you're choosing one or the other. Here are some things to think about to help you make your decision.

Period property in UK

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Many of us dream of buying and renovating a cheap property in an up-and-coming area to sell at a profit somewhere down the line. But the dream can soon become a nightmare if you’re not realistic.

Likewise, those wanting to be the first occupants of a brand-spanking new house need to manage their expectations and gird their loins for possible teething troubles.

As ever, a bit of planning can save a stack of trouble, so here are some things to consider before you start.

Be realistic if your home needs ‘work’

Once you find a property ‘in need of modernisation’, ask yourself if you can actually afford to do it up to your ideal standard.

Look at the state of property and all the work you’d need to do. Think about how much that would cost, at most, and then add about 10% to the total, just to make sure.

Carefully consider items such as materials, labour and whether or not you have the time to put into the project. Is your ‘fixer-upper’ still such a steal? Is it worth the months of hard work and inconvenience?

A blank canvas

With a new-build property you can move in without all that hard work, and you’ll get a blank canvas on which to create your dream home.

What’s more, new-builds should come with a warranty – giving you peace of mind against unexpected repair costs for as long as 10 years.

A bit of planning can save a stack of trouble...

But new builds tend to be smaller than older properties. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) says new-build homes in the UK have been shrinking in square footage since the turn of the last century, and are now the smallest in Europe.

They also tend to have lower ceilings and thinner walls, and you’ll have to put up with all the groans and cracking plaster as the property ‘settles’.

Ask a friend for advice

Whichever route towards ‘happily ever after’ you decide on, talking to someone who’s done it all before is a good way to make sure you really understand what you’re getting into.

How much did your friends with the lovely Victorian terrace shell out in the first year of ownership, for example? And what’s more important to you really – a holiday, or a statement fireplace?

In the end the decision will be yours to make, but if you’ve done as much homework as possible you can much feel happier and more confident about it.

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