Things to consider when choosing between a new or old home

A bit like choosing whether to shop for furniture at a vintage or new homewares store, deciding on an older home with character or new one with shiny gadgets and modern design is one of the fundamental questions facing property buyers.

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No matter whether a house is old, new, or you’re going to build from scratch, it’s still a blank canvas waiting your personal touch. It just depends on how much you’re prepared to spend in money and time on it, and whether it's up front in the price, or later on in renovations – or a bit of both.

With some TLC, that manky old villa that’s going for a steal could turn into a fortune-maker. But if you don’t have your eyes wide open when you buy it, or don’t have the patience to live in it and save for renovations, it could also send your bank account to the wreckers.

On the other hand, a brand new house or apartment pretty much has everything ready for you to move in, practically hassle-free – but that does usually come with a hefty price tag to match. Unless, that is, you want to start renovating.

If you’re planning to build from scratch, even the most minor decisions could be big ones. Where do you want the light switches? Are 20 power points in a room really going to be enough for the kids’ devices to stay charged?

No matter how old your future property is, consider:

  • What style of home do you prefer?
  • Is there a particular era that you’re looking for?
  • How much will it cost to buy/buy and renovate (think short-, medium- and long-term renovations)?
  • Can you afford it?
  • How much work would be involved to renovate?

It’s always a good idea to get a builder’s report on a property before you buy it. They’ll be able to spot any issues, tell you what’s important or cosmetic, and give you an idea of how big your bill might be to fix/replace things.

Things to look out for can include:

Don’t forget to check out the neighbours’ properties and the state of your local neighbourhood, and think ahead to what your street might look like in a few years’ time. You might be better off in terms of value and resale potential by buying the worst house on the best street rather than the other way round.