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I’m currently in the process of buying my first home. There’s just one problem; it hasn’t been built yet.
I never imagined my first home would be a new build. I’ve spent most of my deposit-saving journey daydreaming about buying an old house with high ceilings and old wooden floor boards. I imagined painting walls and ripping out kitchens and making the place completely my own.
Yet here I am, buying a home that doesn’t yet exist. Considering I’ve not been able to step foot in the most expensive purchase I’ve ever made, buying an ‘off plan’ new build is pretty scary. But on the positive side, it comes with several benefits…
1. I don’t have to deal with property chain stress
I have a couple of friends who had an absolute nightmare of a time when buying their first home. One friend lost all the money she’d paid for a solicitor after the man selling her dream home changed his mind and decided to stay put. Another friend lost money after someone further up the chain lost their job and the mortgage lender refused to give them the loan they needed.
The deposit is widely believed to be the most difficult obstacle to buying a home but even when you have the cash in the bank, the home buying process is far from smooth sailing. Property chains collapse all the time, robbing both buyers and sellers of hard earned cash and snatching people’s dream homes from under their feet. I’m so grateful that by buying a new build, I won’t have to deal with any of this nonsense.
2. I have more time to grow my deposit
It’s been less than 4 weeks since builders started work on the plot of land where my apartment will sit.
They estimate that it will take 6 – 8 months to complete the development and, by some miracle, I don’t have to pay my deposit in full until nearer the time! This means that over the next few months I can continue saving money while living at my parents’ house.
Most of the money I save will go towards putting down a bigger deposit, but I’m also hoping to set a little aside for furniture. Thankfully, I don’t have that much to buy because I already have tons of stuff I bought for the flat I rented last year.
3. I can watch my first home blossom like a beautiful flower
Sure, at the moment my apartment is little more than a building site, but over the next 6 months or so, I can watch my new builder friends make my first proper home. Since there’s not much to see just yet, I’m trying not to visit the plot too often (okay, I visited it today… and last week) but I’m hopeful that by April/May, I’ll spot more noticeable changes.
4. Everything’s brand new
As much as I love old houses, old furniture, and old decor, there are obvious benefits to getting something new. My new home and its contents will last longer and should require far less maintenance than if I was to buy a place with a bit of wear.
I loved the idea of buying a fixer upper and transforming it into this beautiful masterpiece but let’s be honest, I’m no George Clarke. I don’t have the mad skills required. I’d have to rely heavily on help from my parents and would need to fork out tons of money for builders, electricians, plumbers and plasterers to get the job done.
5. There’s room for customisation
Most new build developers let home buyers customise aspects of the property themselves before they move in. Buyers can often pick which bathroom tiles they want, what type of flooring they’d like, and which cupboard doors they’d prefer to have in the kitchen. It’ll be nice to have a say in the appearance of the property without having to faff about with it myself once I’ve moved in.
6. It’s great value for money
When I properly started house hunting over the Christmas holidays, my mum was the one who suggested I buy one of the new apartments being built around the corner from us. I said ‘no’ at first and wasn’t too impressed with the price, but eventually I realised it was actually a really good deal. It might be a little pricier than the other two beds I’d been looking at, but considering those other apartments were really dated inside and in desperate need of new kitchens and bathrooms, I’ll save more money in the long run.
Buying a new build won’t be right for everyone and it certainly comes with its downsides. The biggest downside for me is the fact that I haven’t been able to properly see the place just yet. I can’t really envision what it’ll look like in my head and I can’t plan what furniture and decorations I’m going to put where.
Some people also argue that buying a new build home is a little like buying a new car. They claim that as soon as you’ve used it for a while, its value depreciates because its ‘newness’ is its unique selling point. I’m not sure how true this is. And considering property prices are constantly going up (good for homeowners, not so good for renters), the apartment’s value should still increase over time.