Nothing looks better than a newly built property on the market. The walls are blank canvas’ ready for you to put your mark on, the brick work is bright and new and the photographs are always very pleasing to the eye. But when you are being drawn in by the nice photographs on the internet, just take a minute to reflect on it. Firstly, it looks very nice with the designer furniture in there, everything matching and not a spec of dust in sight, but you need to remember you are going to live in there, and unless you are Mr and Mrs Perfect, it isn’t going to look like that with your furniture in there and you are living your daily lives there. Secondly, ignore the photographs such as a close up of a fruit bowl or of towels laid out on the bed in the shape of a swan. They are irrelevant to the attractiveness of the property. Thirdly, have a close look at the pictures, because often they are an artist’s impression, not the actual thing. You will see that when you go and visit the property, but it is still something you should be aware of to make sure you don’t get your heart set on it, because it may disappoint you.
You should also think about the property as an investment for several reasons. Statistically newly built property values rise much slower than others. In the early years they usually drop in price, just like a new car loses value the second you drive it off the fore court, a property loses value as soon as you spend your first day in it.
Another issue to be aware of is that developers often immediately offer ‘discounts’ to try and encourage people to buy their properties, but you need to work out if you are really being given a discount or not. Remember, the sellers set the price in the first place, so in my opinion the idea of a ‘discount’ doesn’t work. Imagine if I tried to sell you something and told you I would charge you half of £30, then the price I am charging is £15, there is no such thing as half price, £15 is just the price.
It is wise to compare what you can get for your money for the same price elsewhere. Newly built properties usually look nicer than an older property of similar spec, but you need to check out other aspects such as the quality of the build, how sound proof it is and the size of the rooms. One thing that you can’t so much always check, but you have to try and imagine is the neighbourhood. What do you think the demographic will be like once all the houses are occupied? Typically less expensive newly built houses fill up with young couples and young single people. More expensive houses fill with higher earners. The advantage of older properties is that you don’t have to imagine if you already have local knowledge, you may already know what you are going to get.
I’m not saying new build homes are not a good option, just make sure you go into it with your eyes wide open. Think about it carefully yourself, maybe even get some unbiased opinions to help you. Remember what is meant by unbiased, because the sellers and those who work for the sellers are definitely not that. They are there to sell the properties to whoever they can at the highest price they can, they are not there to help you as a purchaser.
Jason Hinde FPFS, Cert SMP – Chartered Financial Planner
2nd July 2018