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Should you buy an existing property or a brand-new home? Part 2: Pros and cons of buying a new property

  • Jul 25,2018

Are you trying to decide whether to buy an existing home or build a brand-new property? We’re weighing up the options for you.

Pros and cons of buying a new property

Ah, the luxury of a brand-new home and knowing you’re the first person to use the sleek new appliances. For those that love new houses, the appeal is obvious. Because they’re built to current building standards, you’ll get insulation, double-glazed windows and safe new electrical wiring. They’ve also been designed to appeal to contemporary lifestyles so, although a lot of older homes have been renovated over the years to fit current trends, most new homes come with things like open-plan living and easy flow from indoor to outdoor living spaces as standard. A lot, though not all, also boast extra conveniences such as a second bathroom and internal-access garage.

If you’re building your own home, you’ll be able to design a property that is perfectly suited to your needs (depending on the constraints of your budget, of course). If you’re building a ‘turn-key home’, i.e. a house and land package, make sure you choose a reputable company and ask to see some examples of other properties they’ve built. Perhaps you’re buying a brand-new ‘spec’ home – short for ‘speculative’, this is a property constructed by a builder with the intention of selling it straight away. Whichever option you choose, look for a company that offers a building guarantee which will cover you if there are defects in the construction.

So, what about the downsides of buying new? Well, although you may be building a home of your own design, there will still be some limitations – many of them budgetary. To replicate a beautiful old villa, for instance, with its high ceilings, wide central hallway, solid wood doors and ornate windows, would be hugely expensive in this day and age, given the increased cost of labour and materials.

You’ll also be restricted by the availability of bare land to build on. The most cost-effective option will usually be buying in a new subdivision – and, generally, the further away from the CBD, the cheaper the land will be. The trade-off for this is less convenience, including longer commute times, fewer public transport options and further to go to visit inner-city restaurants and boutiques. Schooling will also be an issue for some, as being out of the city may put you out of zone for your preferred schools. Many new subdivisions do try to improve convenience for residents by incorporating local cafés, shops, supermarkets, and sometimes even schools, into their plans. What’s more, being further out of the city may be an advantage for some. You may find yourself closer to walking and cycling trails, for instance.

Be aware, also, of the covenants in place for the subdivision you’re considering. Covenants are conditions regarding the way the land is used, and these are in addition to the usual council restrictions that will apply whether you’re buying an existing home or buying new. Covenants are designed to regulate the feel of the subdivision, so they may include things like the size of home you can build and the construction materials used, whether or not you’re allowed to park a caravan on your property and even restrictions on certain dog breeds. Make sure you check a copy before you buy, so you know what you’re getting into.

If you missed Part 1: Pros and cons of buying an existing property, you can find it here.