I am looking at buying a house in an area. There are one or two new developments and also some houses built in the 70's and earlier. Just wondering people's thoughts on the pros and cons.
I can see with the new builds you get:
* Bigger house (in general)
* More bedroom space
* Better energy ratings
* Better builds (??)
* No buying someone's existing problems (i.e. rewires of second hand house)
With older you tend to get:
* Settled development (less unknowns)
* Bigger gardens (in general)
* Less built up feeling
* More living space downstairs
* Bigger drives/front space
I know you have to judge developments/houses on their individual merit but in general have I missed anything?
Yeah, pretty much. New builds will often have a management company and management fees. Which we're still pretty bad at in this country, but for a house the management fees are usually pretty small and give you direct control over what happens in your local area.
In terms of energy it's not just a case of an A versus a G on a piece of paper. The spec that most of them are built to at this stage means that your heating bills for a 4-bed for an entire year are less than what a 1980's 4-bed will cost you per month. So the upfront costs are big, but the ongoing costs are small. And for this reason it will hold its value into the future better than an older house.
I'm not a builder so take this with a pinch of salt, but things to not underestimate:
1. The cost of renovation (w.r.t second hand).
2. The enduring ineptitude of builders (w.r.t new build).
Building regs have improved, skill levels not so much.
It is probably the case that a new build will be warmer, drier, and better ventilated, but OTOH timber-framed construction, if done badly, can be much more problematic than block built (see balcony tragedy).
And then you get both combined. I almost bought a second hand property which was built in the early 1900s but which had been "renovated to the highest standards" in the early 2000s. The survey identified that both the large timber-framed extension and the timber-framed "garden mews" had extensive issues with poor ventilation which may have degraded the timbers. It wasn't possible to tell without opening the walls so I walked away.
The worst case is that you buy somewhere second-hand that looks perfect but you have destroy the nice finish in order to do deep remedial work.
When I was looking I found new builds generally worse for public transport and massively more expensive.
We went through this when deciding and went for new build. Thankfully ours will have no management fees, will be about 20m^2 larger than the second hand houses, have all the renovation done that we would have been looking at, is brick built to last, and much better energy rating as well as already having a pretty good neighborhood feel to it.
Saying that we looked at several other development sin the same area and walked away from them due to lack of outdoor space, being overlooked in every direction, timber frame, management fees, too built up and a little better for public transport.
Finding the right development is important more so than old vs new. There is a mixed bag when it comes to new developments
we bought a second hand old house versus a newer house first time around! I would pick the older house again anyday. Yes we have had some big expenses plumbing wiring insulation etc but all in all its a much better house. Solid built! We could hear our neighbours coughing in our first newer house! A huge back garden that will allow us to extend out the back and have still a big back garden! Nice big front garden to safely park our cars in!
We bought an older house - we never liked new houses but viewed a few just to be sure. They all felt flimsy in comparison to the older houses we viewed. Thats not a technical opinion obviously but the older houses felt more solid.
I personally prefer the charm of older houses, the higher ceilings etc and the fact that they are in more established areas where its easy to see what the neighbours are like etc.
The house we bought also has lovely mature trees, large windows, beautiful original tiles and picture rails that new houses dont have. Also i found that rooms were more generous in most older houses we viewed.
It comes down to preference really. Im happy to have a bit more maintenance if it means i can have all the beautiful features in an older house.
I do have a concern that some nearer developments may not be built that well. I live in a house built in the 90s now and you can hear the people next door. Some of the older house definitely appear to built in a more solid fashion than the current.
Also, as some have said, the newer developments (in Dublin anyway) seem to be more crowded on top of each other. The houses seem to be three storey or 2 & 1/2 as they sell them. I was told by a friend that while may have more square footage, it is often in the bedrooms rather than the living area. Where as most older houses are built over two floors, a lot of the new houses (again in Dublin anyway) seem to be over three.
This is quiet true and again you need to look at the developments. A lot of 4 beds will be over 3 floors, our 3 bed is over 2 floors with the possibility to convert the attic to a 4 bed like is in most of the local older houses. There are 4 beds in our development over 2 floors but they were far out of our price range. The garden we have is the same size as my sisters and her house was built in the 60/70s I think, albeit the kitchen was extended.