Buying a home: The pros and cons of buying new vs old

Edinburgh Residential Accommodation

When it comes to buying a home, the good thing is that there’s plenty of choice out there, from older properties to brand-new developments. Just like buying a car, there are ups and downs with buying ‘used’ versus buying new. Much of your decision making can come down to personal choice and your own circumstances, but if you’re open-minded then our guide to the pros and cons of buying new vs old will come in handy.

Let’s start with older properties…


Buying an older property doesn’t necessarily mean you pay less for the property itself. A 5 bedroom period home in Giffnock could cost double the price of a 2 bedroom semi-detached in a new development in Paisley for example. Also, older tenement flats are extremely popular due to their size but depending on which area of Glasgow you’re looking at, prices can vary for the same style – it’s all down to location, location, location. So if you’re set on a certain style of property, but have a limited budget, you might need to broaden your search radius. The money you save on the property itself could help you do it up on the inside.

Bargains can also be found in the form of ex-local authority homes, usually built in the 70s or 80s, they can be great starter homes for families due to their low costs and handy locations. A 3 bedroom ex-local authority, or ex-council home, could cost less than £100,000! Not only do they come with a low price tag, but they can have inexpensive running costs and low council tax.

The main cost consideration when buying an older property is the money it takes to update it. You may find that the interiors need upgrading. You might be lucky that all it needs is a lick of paint and some new carpets, but it could also need a new bathroom or kitchen – two of the most expensive rooms in the house to update. Although, if you’re looking for an exciting renovation project then an older property could be just the ticket. Remember, s1homes has great hints and tips for upgrading your home on a budget!


With some older properties, it’s not just the décor that needs updating. You may find that there are larger projects needing work, like updating electrics such as the wiring, boilers needing replaced, dampness or even structural work. Any issues like this should be covered in the Home Report, but depending on the age of the property, we’d recommend getting an additional valuation done. You may also find that your mortgage provider asks for some additional checks to be done too. You’ll need to take the additional costs into consideration as this might affect your offer price and your savings! It’s always advisable to keep some extra budget for any little surprises that may pop up.

These big jobs could pay off in the long run though if you’re looking to sell in the future. Restoring a period property to its original glory can be an extremely rewarding venture not just personally but financially too. When updating these kinds of properties, remember to think about updating for the future, like investing in energy saving systems from light bulbs to even solar panels.


Some period properties may come with building and planning restrictions that could put a spanner in your renovation plans. Restrictions can cause lengthy delays and result in your costs mounting up. It’s worth keeping this in mind when looking at period properties and if you can, take your builder along with you to viewings.

Properties that are only a few years old may not have that many restrictions in terms of building or planning, you might just be limited in terms of space. Extensions are a great way to make a property grow with your needs, meaning you might not have to move to a bigger property. Many people extend outwards into the garden or upwards into the loft. You may just need to check how this impacts your neighbours. Smaller changes like adding French doors and taking down walls might just need building warrants for approval which can be simple enough for your builder. Renovations like this can add value to your home and help when it comes to selling.

Contemporary British Homes

Brand-new properties

Brand-new developments are springing up all over the place, sometimes out of nowhere. These homes can be great options for people looking to get their first step on the property ladder or even older couples looking to downsize from family homes to a modern 2-bed apartment. As with everything, there are ups and downs to buying new just as there is with old.


If you’re thinking that brand-new means more expensive then think again. With help to buy schemes and special deposit offers, buying brand-new can be the easiest and lowest cost option if you’re first time buyer. With offers not just on the price of the property but with solicitor’s fees too, it’s not hard to see why these new homes go quickly.

But all those mod-cons and green grass can come at a price. Don’t be taken in by the show homes you see, many of those extras are an additional cost and can start building up the price of the property. From marble worktops, brass taps, tiled floors and immaculate lawns, double check what you actually get as standard and what is an additional cost. It’s worth brushing up on your haggling skills to try and bag a bargain – if you don’t ask you don’t get!

Also, if you’re using one of the help to buy schemes then double check the small print, many of them ask for repayment of the deposit in a few years’ time or come with other restrictions that might affect your future selling plans. With any special offer or deal, always check the terms and conditions.

If you’re purchasing an apartment, check for any additional factor costs too, like cleaning of the communal areas and maintenance of the gardens. Some of these areas come with children’s play parks nearby as part of the development so you may find that you contribute to that financially too!


One of the biggest upsides with buying a brand-new property is that the level of maintenance is minimum. In terms of décor, all the decisions and work is done before you get the keys, so come moving day it’s all ready for you. You don’t have to pick up a paintbrush if you don’t want to! Everything is brand-new so the only maintenance you need to do is cutting the grass and trimming the hedges.

If you’re looking for a DIY project, then maybe buying brand-new isn’t for you. Of course, everything in the home is chosen by you, but normally carried out by the builders from the development. Normally you’ll also be given a ‘snagging period’ where you take note of any issues with the property after you’ve moved in, like areas that need repainting, doors not closing properly etc. This is normal for brand-new homes though.

Many buyers are put off by brand-new developments as they can all feel the same, and look the same from the outside. If you’re looking for a property with a bit of character and original features to restore, then an older property might be better suited to you.

But there’s something nice about knowing you can simply enjoy your new home without having to worry about doing the work yourself. Ideal if you haven’t got the time or the energy.


With new properties you won’t have the same building and planning permissions as an older property. Some restrictions come in the form of the interiors though. Sometimes you might be told that you can’t paint for a while or that you may find cracks appearing as the house settles. Restrictions may also come in the form of your options for the interiors, like your choice of kitchen, bathroom or even flooring. Normally developers will have relationships with suppliers and your choice of décor will be limited to those suppliers. So if you’d rather buy your own, you might have to find your own fitters too as the builders may object to fitting items outwith approved suppliers. We’d recommend checking with them first before you waste money on flooring that you can’t have fitted!

If you’re looking for a new home, you can find the best new developments in your area at today. Trust Scotland’s home for homes.


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