As a first time buyer, there are so many things to consider. Last year we bought our first home and moved in at the start of this year! Many of the questions we asked ourselves involved practicalities such as location and the price we could afford to pay. Not to mention considerations for the house itself. Number of bedrooms? A good start for a first home would be at least two but consider how you plan to use the bedrooms. What type of house are you looking for? For this, you have two options; period property or new build property. I initially wanted an older house that had some character but Jonny always wanted a house that was brand new, although we did start our search looking at lived in homes.
While there are exceptions to the rule, the majority of us admit to wanting an older property. Character is one of the leading reasons for falling in love with a house, and it’s something period properties have, but new-builds often lack.
In the end our only option was a new build because this is all the Help to Buy Scheme accepts, although it didn’t take me long to get excited about this prospect! Buying off plan is tricky but they sure make the houses and streets look pretty in the computer aided drawings!
New builds make for good first time homes because there’s a beautiful sentiment behind the idea of starting out with a brand new home. We also found the following new-build benefits useful to remember.
A new house shouldn’t need any real maintenance work done to it as it’s just been done! If all goes to plan, you can move in straight away without having to resolve any issues first. For first-time buyers, this is perfect for taking some of the pressure off. This leaves you to focus on other things like the mortgage payments and moving costs. If you were moving into a period property, at least one or two issues would most likely need immediate attention. These can range from a damp to a leaking roof; expensive problems you could really do without and not what you need after paying out what you already have!
Cheaper Running Costs
New-build homes are generally cheaper to run. Given that your monthly expenses have just increased, this is a huge bonus. Stone walls and high ceilings in period homes can be a nightmare no matter how beautiful they look. Although many period properties come with fireplaces, the modern homeowner is far more like likely to reach for the heating switch. Period properties also have older boiler systems which are far less economical. You can see in articles like this one at www.express.co.uk, new build living could go as far as halving your bills compared with an older house.
As well as having smaller rooms and better insulation, a new-build will have a modern boiler allowing for simple functions such as a thermostat. It’s also likely that you’ll have additions such as the ability to only heat individual rooms – this can have such a difference to your outgoings. Some new-builds will even likely have smart thermostats allowing you to turn your heating off when you’re out of the house; a lifesaver if you forget to do it before you leave the house, ensuring you don’t spend unnecessary money. With an older model, you would have no choice but to wait until you’re home to turn the heat down.
The Ability to Customise
The biggest attraction to a new build for me was the blank canvas capabilities although this can be seen as a downside to new homes. Isn’t this where they are lacking most? There’s just no character some think. But this lack of character could be the ideal building block for first-time buyers. This is your first opportunity to put your mark on a house of your own. What better way to do that than moving into a space which has never been touched by anyone else? In most cases, new builds come complete with either beige or white walls. But, if you embrace this fact, you may soon see the endless possibilities. After all, you can turn that space into whatever you want it to be without anyone else’s design ideas clouding your judgements.
You could add character by investing in a brick wall mural for your fireplace like this one at wallpaperiInk.co.uk. It may not be the stone feature you imagined, but it’s a close second. You can even invest in beams for your ceilings, or rustic style wooden flooring. At first I wondered how I was going to give our house character, but Pinterest is my endless source of inspiration for the home!
It’s worth noting the extra freedom you have with a new build. Period properties often have a listed status, which means there are strict rules about what you can and can’t do. In some cases, renovation isn’t an option, particularly when an older property is recognised as a piece of history. But, as a first-time owner, you’re moving into a space which you may want to adapt and change. You may even want to expand your home by extending or renovating. While you do still need to head to sites like www.gov.uk to check if you need to apply for permission, it’s unlikely you’ll have issues. In an older build, the chances of being able to do the same work as less likely.
Overall, it’s definitely worth viewing some new builds to consider your options, as well as referring to these points as you start viewing properties. Although we had to wait months before moving in, watching our little house being build was so exciting!
(looking at the wrong house in the beginning, lol!)