The Pros and Cons of Buying a ‘Nearly-New’ Home

Many people dream of owning their own home – and in many cases it is a new-build property. But are nearly-new houses and flats which have been built in the last few years a more realistic ambition?

At Anderson Associates, we offer full building surveys on all types of properties in Suffolk, east and south-east London, Kent and Essex. Here we look at the pros and cons of buying a nearly-new home where you might be the second or third owner.

Prices of any property are always dependent on the state of the economy and housing market at the time of the survey.

The Pros

No Premium Price as with Brand New Properties – The first owners of these homes, particularly in sought-after locations, often pay a premium price. In contrast, nearly-new properties are often more likely to be priced competitively, particularly if there are newer homes nearby – for example on an expanding housing development.

A Quick Sale? – When a property comes on the market, it can be because the owner has experienced a sudden change in circumstances, such as a growing family, a new job, or a divorce or a separation. This means they may want to move without unnecessary delay and may be willing to accept a lower price for the property.

The Warranty – depending on the age of the property, you should still be protected by the warranties which came with the new-build. This is normally an NHBC or equivalent Architects Warranty.

These are generally for 10 years, providing a ‘sliding scale’ of cover, with full cover from year one and gradual reduction in what is covered over the warranty period, until year ten when only the structure is generally covered. (The extent and type of cover from these warranties do vary). So even if there are faults which need to be repaired, you shouldn’t lose out financially.

High Standards – Homes which are just a few years old will comply with either recent, or current, building regulations. This means they are still likely to be far more energy-efficient, fire-proof and draught-proof than, for example, a Victorian terraced property.

The Cons

You Don’t Qualify for the Help to Buy Scheme – this only applies to brand-new homes. So you won’t get any help with your deposit, even if you are a first-time buyer.

Property Chains – with any purchase, it is likely that there will be a chain involved, which complicates matters as far as buying and selling is concerned. You may have to wait until the current owner moves out, or they may have to wait for you if you already have a home of your own.

The Smaller Size – Newer properties are generally smaller than traditional or older homes, and are generally built closer together, particularly on estates. Any gardens they do have are likely to be small. This can sometimes lead to noise and parking issues with neighbours. Other issues sometimes raised with this type of home is that they lack character and a sense of community, particularly when they don’t have any amenities like shops and doctors’ surgeries nearby.

Problems Selling On – Many are built to a common design, so the home may lack a unique selling point when the time comes for you to move (unless you have done a lot of home improvement work in the meantime). Also, as with any property, it is more likely to develop problems with age if it is not properly maintained.

It’s Been Lived in Already – while there may not be any major issues, the fixtures and fittings may well be according to the previous owner’s taste, and you may have to spend a bit more, for instance on redecoration, to get it the way you want it. There may also be issues with minor damage, such as that caused by children or pets. You also lose the ‘feel-good factor’ of owning your own home and knowing that you are the first occupant.

Full Building Surveys from Anderson Associates

We would recommend that if you buy a nearly-new property that you have a full building survey carried out, and not to rely on the ‘snagging’ surveys which have been carried out on a brand-new property. A full survey will identify any problems which have arisen in the meantime and will be far more comprehensive.

If you employ an independent chartered surveyor, such as Anderson Associates, then you can be sure that this work will be carried out by someone who represents you and not a third party, such as the lender.

Anderson Associates offer full building surveys on properties in Suffolk, east and south-east London, Kent and Essex. We charge around the same price for a full survey as for a home buyers survey. We also offer leasehold and shared freehold surveys, structural surveys and commercial property surveys.

To contact us, follow this link and fill in the online form, or call us on the Freephone number 0800 652 8285. You can also reach us on 0207 099 0962, our London office number, or on 01473 623656, at our head office in Suffolk.