One of the many choices you need to make when looking for a new home is whether to buy an established house or build a new one. Each option offers advantages and drawbacks and your decision ultimately depends on your priorities as a buyer.

Building a New Home – The Advantages

One of the main attractions of building a new home is that you get to choose exactly what you want. You are there at the design stage so you get to decide how big your rooms are, whether you want a bath or shower in the ensuite, where to position the kitchen island—you get to design your home to suit your lifestyle and not the other way around.

Newly built homes don’t require much upkeep and that means you get to spend less time and money on maintenance. Most new houses come equipped with new appliances so it’s unlikely you’ll have any major repairs or replacements to fork out for either. And of course, new build homes tend to be more energy-efficient. In Australia, builders need to ensure homes meet the 6-star rating requirement which can help you save on heating and cooling your home.

Many new homes are built in planned housing estates where the developer has incorporated public amenities like parks, playgrounds, shopping centres and cafes. This provides homeowners with good lifestyle opportunities and security and fosters a sense of community.

Building a New Home – The Drawbacks

Building a new home from the ground up, however, does have some drawbacks. Depending on how the house and land package is presented to you, a new build can often be at the expensive end of the market. Once you factor in the land, building cost, builder’s margin and salesperson’s commission you may find you could have bought an established property for less.

It is essential you have a thorough understanding of what your building contract covers. Some builders don’t include driveways, floor coverings or landscaping in their quotes. There could be a number of hidden costs, you didn’t think of.  You also need to be aware that there could be delays and complications that could impact your budget. For information on what to expect when building a home download our construction loan guide.

You will also have to start making payments before your property is move-in ready. This means you will be paying rent (or your current mortgage) on top of making repayments on your new home loan. Construction home loans work on a progress payment basis and can be interest only or principal and interest during the build phase. Speak to one of our lending specialists for more information.

Buying an Established Home – The Advantages

Cost is one of the main advantages of buying an established property as you have more opportunity to negotiate on price. Perhaps the owner is in a hurry to sell, the property has been on the market a long time or the inspection reports reveal minor issues.

Existing homes offer advantages of location too. Older homes tend to be situated in established suburbs often closer to the CBD, the beach or community hubs, with access to public transport, nearby schools and other council amenities like parks and playgrounds. Properties tend to be situated on larger blocks, with established gardens and fenced-in back yards, on tree-lined streets which afford more privacy.

Buying an Established Home –The Drawbacks

When buying an existing home you might have to compromise on style. It can be difficult to find exactly what you are looking for when you are restricted to what is currently on the market. You will probably have to renovate to tailor your home to fit your lifestyle. Similarly, an established home is likely to have older appliances which are often costly to maintain. Big-ticket items like air conditioners and hot water systems could be in need of repair or you may need to replace them entirely.

New Build vs Established: Deciding Factors

So how do you choose between buying a new build or established home? You need to consider what factors are the most important to you.

Cost

How much money can you afford to spend? Building a new home may be more expensive than buying an existing one, but you may need to spend money renovating an older home.

Location

Where do you want to live? Do you want to be closer to the city or the beach? Do you need access to public transport? An established home might be better for you.

Style

Are you a fan of sleek modern design? Do you need all the mod-cons? A newly built home could be the right choice.

Maintenance

Not a fan of maintenance? Whether you buy a new build or established home you will have to spend time and/or money on maintaining it. A newly built house is likely to be less work and cost less to maintain though, as modern appliances are more cost-efficient and everything is brand new when you move in.

As you can see there are pros and cons to buying new and established properties, and what it really comes down to is your personal preference.

If you’d like to find out how much you could afford to borrow complete our pre-qualification form. Alternatively, call one of our lending specialists on 134AFM.