new homes vs period homes

Out With the Old, In With the New? Period Properties vs Modern Homes

When it comes to buying a house, there are a whole host of things we look for including size, location and price. However, some of us hanker after period charm whilst others prefer the appeal of a new build home.

Quite often there are practical reasons for the choice between the two whilst, for many, it’s simply of case of the kind of style we want in our homes. Two distinct camps, the character property lovers would often rather compromise on something else rather than opt for a modern home and vice versa.

In this piece, we wanted to take a look at some of the pros and cons of buying a new or old house to  try and bring these two camps closer together.

Period Properties: Pros

The predominant reason that many people opt for older, or period properties over a new build is the fact that such properties offer a traditional home with character features.

Features that come at a premium, or are absent, in new homes such as open fireplaces, high ceilings, large floor space and quirky designs that are no longer in modern use.

Older homes that have previously not been modernised offer an excellent opportunity to create your own ‘stamp’ on a property and can offer a great compromise of modern living with a character home.

Old homes can come with a range of problems that may, at first glance, make you cautious; however, period properties that are over a hundred years old have already shown they can stand the test of time with most construction methods being sturdy despite a few cracks here and there. That said, we would always recommend that you seek professional advice when it comes to taking on a period property with respect to the structural integrity of your home. Getting a builder in to help with remedial works can add a big cost to the price of period properties.

period properties pros and cons

Period homes come to the market less frequently and usually attract a premium. Image via Flickr.

Period properties can come at a premium depending on the age and the kind of character features found within but the value of the home can usually be assured. Remember that period homes usually don’t come up for sale as frequently as new builds and a scarcity premium adds value.

Period Properties: Cons

Built before building regulations applied, most character homes will feature some ‘quirky’ or unusual elements that would make a housing inspector’s toes curl if they were applied today. Whilst most of these fall into acceptable period charms, sometimes these ‘features’ can be hard to live with and costly to remedy.

Issues can range from a lack of insulation, ventilation or draught proofing to shallow foundations and damp. Quirks of period properties that may form the reason for buying a traditional home could also prove to be inconvenient and incompatible with modern or comfortable living; issues such as low ceilings, steep staircases, downstairs bathrooms etc. Whilst some of these features can be upgraded or changed, this could be costly particularly if your period home is Listed.

old homes quirky new wiring

More likely to need maintenance period properties come with their own quirks. Image via Flickr.

Modern Homes: Pros

Modern homes, especially those that are ‘fresh off the press’ often come with a builder’s warranty (usually a ten-year guarantee) that can help assure buyers that their home has no defects. As well as being built under full compliance with the most up-to-date building regulations, a new build should offer surety of quality workmanship.

new homes vs old homes

New homes may lack individuality but they are often maintenance-free. Image via Wikimedia.

With the environment being so high on the agenda, new builds are constructed using materials and appliances that offer the highest carbon efficiency ratings meaning fuel costs are lower. In some instances, energy efficiency is so integral to the design that you can find carbon neutral homes that include technology like ground source heat pumps, PV heated hot water systems and A rated appliances.

New properties can also include state-of-the-art technology with some homes including features such as integrated central vacuum systems, wireless technology to control security, lighting and other appliances as well as mod-cons like underfloor heating.

Whilst some new builds can be built in an uninspired way with a ‘uniform’ design, many developments try to buck this stereotypical trend by creating more individual homes. Designs for new builds can be creative and unique and often make the most of space by incorporating ingenious features.

Buying a new build, off-plan, will give you the option to tailor fit some of the fittings and fixtures in your new home. Things like kitchen and bathroom tiling, carpets and the paint colour can all be pre-selected from the range your developer has on offer.

Though, buying a new home comes at a premium (see below), they often hold their value well.

Modern Homes: Cons

Similarly to the last point on the pros of modern homes, some developments lack imagination in their design with some properties fading into obscurity. This can certainly be true in larger developments where whole swathes of ‘Closes’, ‘Ways’ and other cul-de-sacs blend into one homogenised and uninspired area. Anyone seeking a ‘stand-out’ or characterful home may be disappointed.

Depending on the type of home you are looking at and the area you are buying, new homes are usually smaller than their period equivalents, particularly in the Thames Valley. Though, you may achieve four bedrooms for the same budget as an older home, it is more likely that you will have to compromise on garden size and square footage in your reception rooms.

Buying a brand new home often comes at a premium over similar sized, previously-owned homes and, though they hold their value, can be trickier to sell. This is dependent on the area and development.

At Property Assistant, we are fortunate enough to take on a whole gamut of properties for our clients and know just how and to who a property should be marketed; just as we can offer a one-to-one service for clients looking for something specific to buy. Whatever age your property, we know we can do it justice when it comes to getting the best price. To find out more about how we can help in your property search and/or sale, contact us today on 0118 912 2370.

Featured image via Wikimedia.

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