A new build blank canvas or a ‘fixer upper’ - whatever your preference, get your finances straight before you get carried away.
A recent study by Skipton Building Society found that out of 2,000 people interviewed, four in 10 people would only consider moving into an older house if money was no object. Of those interviewed, 44 per cent would worry about damp and 38% would have trepidations about structural issues. The reasons not to buy an older property go on but what if buying an older house offers the opportunity to climb the property ladder and make a long-term investment?
Rebecca Willey, from Skipton Building Society
“Buying an older home, especially a ‘fixer upper’, is not for the faint-hearted, nor is it everyone’s cup of tea. Living in and modernising an older property can take years of unplanned and costly repairs. It’s not hard to see why so many people want a new build home – they are not only cheaper to heat and come with a host of warranties, saving people money on their bills, but they provide an opportunity to create the home of your dreams without the hard work and baggage from previous owners. But what is clear from our research is that whether you prefer a new build blank canvas or a home full of historic charms, you’ll need to ensure your finances are in the best shape possible.”
Charlotte Barber, columnist for Period Ideas magazine and former editor of Period Home magazine.
“I grew up in old houses, so I’m used to all the quirks that come with living in a period property – wonky walls and squeaky floors included! When it came to buying my first home, I plumped for a small but perfectly formed 16th- century thatched cottage, in need of lots of TLC. Fast-forward 15 years and I’ve been happy to call all sorts of houses home – a perfectly proportioned Regency town house, a suburban 1930s semi and a converted Norfolk threshing barn. Something magical about period properties is seeing all the regional variations around the country. I live in North Norfolk; reed thatch and knapped flint are my two favourites. Another plus point for me is the fact that I’m not bound to endless rules and regulations with an old property (mind you, I haven’t ever bought a listed house). Of course, I have smoke alarms and good security measures, but there seems to be less red tape involved when it comes to buying an old place. I like to look at it as though I own a little piece of history – a proud custodian, preserving all its unique characteristics for years to come, until it’s passed onto the next proud homeowner. The bottom line is that I just love all the character and ‘faults’ that an old house has... those creaky floorboards and draughty windows... even when I’m making a late night cup of tea....