When it comes to buying your first ever home, decision time really hits. How many bedrooms do I want? Will I need a garden for my future dog to live its best life? Which room will be made into an adult-sized ball pit?

There's kind of a lot to think about 🤯

Another question might be whether you want to live in a new build – and wear your short pyjamas all year round thanks to that sweet, sweet insulation – or settle down in an older property (hello high ceilings that will make you feel like a Bridgerton sibling every time you walk into a room?), so we're gonna put them head to head for you and run through some pros and cons of both.

Before any showdown you've gotta establish the rules. So, what are we counting as ‘new builds’ and ‘older homes’?

We’re counting a new build as a home that hasn’t been owned by anyone before you. In a lot of cases, they’re sold before they’re actually built.

In this case, an ‘older home’ is a property that has been previously owned by someone else (even if it’s not actually that old).

Round 1: Property prices 💰

New builds 🏡

Sometimes, with a new build, you can expect to pay a bit more for that box fresh home. With that said, new builds tend to come with a fixed price. This means you won’t get into any bidding wars with other buyers. What you see is what you get, which is great if you’ve got a set budget in mind.

You might be able to get onto the ladder sooner if your new build is eligible for a home equity loan or shared ownership scheme, and housebuilders are known to sometimes throw in an incentive  as well – like reduced stamp duty rates – which are worth checking out.

Older homes 🏡

With an older home, the price can vary dramatically, depending on location, size and condition (which isn’t a factor with new build homes).

Older homes are more often priced as ‘offers over’. This means the seller is accepting bids above the asking price, and you might have to roll up your sleeves and get into a bidding war (in Scotland, all bids are sealed – so you don't get to see what other people have put in). On one hand, you could pay above the asking price, but on the other, you might have room to haggle too.

Round 2: Energy efficiency ⚡️

New builds 🏡

The ‘newness’ of new builds definitely has an impact on energy efficiency. New boiler. New insulation. Less wear and tear. This can really help you to save on bills.

Plus, some property developers give you the option to add more efficient energy initiatives like solar panels, or even chargers for electric cars. These could cost you a bit extra, though.

Older homes 🏡

The energy efficiency of older homes really depends on the previous owners. If they’ve cared for the property and renovated it over time, it could be just as good (or even better) than some new builds.

On the flip side, if the home report shows that the energy rating is quite low, you can try to use that to negotiate a cheaper price (and put that money you saved towards improving the energy efficiency).

Round 3: Buying process 🛒

New builds 🏡

New builds are ‘chain-free’ which means, you don’t need to work with previous owners on negotiating move-in dates, or transferring ownership etc. That can make things a bit simpler.

However, building delays could mean that you’re waiting a while (and paying rent in your current place for longer) until your home is ready.

Older homes 🏡

👍  No construction delays here — the home’s already built and ready for you to move in

👎  There could be delays when transferring ownership

👍 You could negotiate with previous owners to include furniture or white goods (e.g. fridge/washing machine) in the price

Round 4: Decor 🎨

New builds 🏡

If you like a clean, modern canvas to build your home on, new builds are great for you.

And sometimes, your property developers will allow you to customise your build —  from bathroom fixtures, to kitchen worktops.

Older homes 🏡

Two words: Period features 🙌

From intricate cornicing, to Victorian tiles or mid-century panelling — original features add buckets of character to your home and that’s something you only get with older properties.

Tip: Remember to look past the previous owner’s decor when viewing a property. You can always redecorate when you move in.

Round 5: Ongoing costs 💳

New builds 🏡

With new builds, you could have to pay extra for a factor. This external company takes care of surrounding grounds, and communal spaces. Typically, they’re assigned to a certain building or estate and so, you don’t really get to opt out of their services. So it’s an ongoing monthly cost.

But, when you buy your new home, you get a warranty. That means, if your home needs repairs within the first few years, the property developers will fix it for you for free!

Older homes  🏡

You don’t have to pay for a designated factor, but from day one, all the repairs are on you.

If the property is a freehold you're in charge of the exterior + interior maintenance and its costs.

If you're buying a leasehold or commonhold property though, someone else is in charge of organising the land's exterior/communal area maintenance, but you'll have to contribute towards that.

Round 6: Re-selling power 🚚

New builds 🏡

As long as house prices go up and you keep the property in good condition, you can still make a profit when reselling your new build.

Older homes 🏡

If you buy a fixer-upper and renovate an older home, your profit when reselling can go through the roof. All that money you spent on parquet flooring? It’s like an investment.

The bottom line?

There are definitely some pretty solid arguments for each, but no matter whether you're team new build or team older property, we're here to help you get there.

And if you've done your research properly, we know you'll end up loving your first home and putting your own stamp on it – indoor ball pit or not.