New Builds and Traditional Homes – Linder Myers’s Fact File

Property Predicaments

Purchasing a new home can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to the key decision of whether to find a new build or a home that has already been lived in. New and older homes have their differences, and ensuring that you make the right choice for you and your situation can be challenging. The process of buying is a big step to take, and with this naturally comes confusion and anxiety, which is why Bernard Chill & Axtell are here to help.

Bernard Chill & Axtell have a dedicated Conveyancing team who keep things simple for you. We offer the best advice and direction when it comes to buying a property, and endeavour to make the whole process quick and straightforward for everyone involved.

You can trust Bernard Chill & Axtell to provide you with all the help you need. Read on for our list of vital facts surrounding older homes and new builds.

New Builds

Help To Buy Options

When you purchase a new build, Help To Buy is a useful option. This is an equity loan scheme in which you can receive a loan from the government for up to 20% of the purchase price; you will only need to put down a 5% deposit. Equity loan fees will need to be paid, but not for the first 5 years. After this, you will then pay a fee which is currently 1.75% of the property’s value. The loan is repayable after 25 years or on the sale of the property, whichever is first.

The amount you will pay back on a Help To Buy loan will be determined by the market value of the property at the time of the sale. Bernard Chill & Axtell are here to take you through this scheme step by step.


Developer & NHBC Warranties

All new builds come with a new build warranty, which covers any structural faults. There are many different new build warranty schemes available, and the cover and excess for claims offered by the warranty will depend on the scheme. Many of the larger building developers also provide an additional personal two-year warranty, so it is always worth asking your developer whether they offer this.

Starting Afresh

Finding a simple, contemporary home is frequently a must have for many new buyers who want to avoid the hassle and cost of renovation and redecorating. This prospect of a brand new home is definitely a winner for many buyers out there, and means that they can make the property their own starting from scratch. Many developers offer a range of flooring options and finishes so you really can customise the property how you would like, however it may cost extra depending on the development company.

Energy Saving

With a new home comes new materials, which regularly results in a good energy rating. This means lower bills and an energy efficient house, which is always a bonus when you want to keep costs down.

Modern Materials

The great element of a new build property is up to date appliances and building materials, which usually means there will be less annoyance of repair or replacement costs. This is especially appealing to first time buyers who tend to desire a ready to live in property. However, make sure that you research the building company and their previous developments; if you have any concerns surrounding the quality of their work, it’s best to contact the sales team immediately.

No Chains

When you purchase a new build, there are no worries surrounding any existing chains – chains are a sequence of all the linked houses being purchased/sold. It isn’t uncommon for chains to be broken which can result in unwanted stress and even a sale falling through.

Possible Disruption

New builds can be beautiful to live in, but keep up to date on how long construction will last for. There is always the possibility that you may be living near a building site whilst other homes are completed, but there are specific rules surrounding what times the builders can carry out their work. To put your mind at rest, enquire about this sooner rather than later.

Over Crowding

New builds are constructed in a variety of areas, and can be known for their close knit design. This does depend on the type of plot they are built upon and the developers plans, but this is still something to keep in mind during your search if you are desiring a property within a particularly private area.

Process Postponements

When it comes to the building process, what can go wrong tends to do just that sometimes. Often you will find that there can be delays within the building works timeline, which can change move in dates and sometimes complicate proceedings. These delays can range from weeks to months. If you are going to be buying with the benefit of a mortgage, it will be your responsibility to ensure that the offer is valid at the point of completion. If there are delays, you may need to get a new offer entirely which can result in additional fees becoming payable.


It is common for developers to require exchange of contracts to take place before the property is built, and you will be expected to complete on notice. This simply means that the developer will advise your solicitor that the house is built and ready for occupation. You will then be expected to complete within a relatively short timescale, normally 10 working days. This can make it difficult to plan your move as you will not know when you are moving until two weeks before the date. It is therefore imperative that you have funds readily available to allow for this, and a valid mortgage offer in place to keep everything running smoothly.

Off Plan Risks

There is always a slight risk involved when it comes to buying off plan. Make sure you are buying from a reputable building company and do your research by finding out about their insurance policies; the new build warranty should cover your deposit if the company was to go bust, but this must always be confirmed. You can use a reliable legal expert from Bernard Chill & Axtell to check all paperwork relating to this in order to put your mind at ease.

New Community 

This could be a great opportunity for many, but some may worry and consider it a daunting prospect to enter a completely new and unestablished community.

Housing Association & Shared Ownership

In recent years, it has become a condition of many planning permissions and development agreements that a percentage of the plots built are given to the housing association or a shared ownership scheme. Some potential buyers can be put off by this, so it is always worth checking the location of these plots to ensure that they will not affect your enjoyment of the property.

Developer Covenants

Most developers like to maintain a level of control over their development, even after the plots have been sold. It is common that they put restrictive covenants in the transfer that you must follow. Common restrictive covenants are: you cannot keep a caravan or boat at the property, and you cannot make any changes to the externals without the developer’s consent. Bernard Chill & Axtell can fully explain the covenants affecting the property, and you would need to be satisfied that you are happy with these.

To read a step by step guide on purchasing a new build property, you can view our informative new builds brochure here  

Traditional Homes

Useful Negotiations

When a buyer purchases an older traditional home, negotiation is usually more acceptable compared to little compromising with new builds. Depending on the market, negotiating a price is a very common step to take during the buying and selling process, and could save you a lot of money.

Refurbishment Project

If you are keen to find a home that you can really put your own stamp on, buying a more traditional property can be the perfect choice for renovation and redecorating, no matter how big or small. Older homes also tend to hold more character and charm in comparison with new builds, which is often a big selling point for many.

Diversity Factor

Older homes offer a wider variety of designs, whereas new builds tend to be almost identical in most cases. Lived in properties come in all locations, shapes and sizes to suit many tastes and include historical features, bigger lots and plenty of storage space which can be rare when it comes to new properties.

Reliable Materials

A great deal of older properties are renowned for their good quality and sturdy structures that last the test of time, whereas some people believe that new builds are often not built to a high enough standard.

Good Value

Many older homes can often hold their value more than new builds. This can be due to bigger plots of land, stronger materials, and their position within a well-established neighbourhood.


Unlike a new build, on exchange of contracts you are almost always offered a fixed completion date. This means that you can plan your house move and removals without worry that the date will change.

Energy Ratings

Always check the EPC rating of an older property. This ranges from A – G, with A being the most energy efficient. Older properties can be known for their low energy ratings, which often adds extra costs to bills. Bernard Chill & Axtell’s knowledgeable team can answer any queries you may have surrounding this.

Unwanted Renovations

Some buyers specifically search for properties to renovate, but if this is not your plan, be aware that older properties tend to require some kind of work – whether this is a coat of paint or buying a new boiler.

Chain Stress

A chain can cause a great deal of stress during the buying and selling process; if someone drops out, it can affect the entire transaction. By choosing Bernard Chill & Axtell as your solicitor, you will receive the best legal advice from an experienced team of Conveyancers who can guide you through any difficulties during a sale/purchase.

Unexpected Surprises

As charming as some older buildings are, they can contain some nasty surprises due to general wear and tear over time. If you do wish to take on an older property, make sure you are fully aware of any existing issues beforehand to minimise problems in the future.

Bernard Chill & Axtell would always recommend carrying out a full structural survey before exchange so that you are fully aware of any potential issues with the property you are purchasing.


Costly Insurance

Insurance is one necessity that buyers tend to leave to the last minute when finding a house. With regards to home insurance for an older property, you could be looking at higher insurance rates due to lived in homes presenting more risks than your average new build. It can be useful to contact a few different insurance companies to see who will offer you the best quote.

What Bernard Chill & Axtell Offer

Bernard Chill & Axtell are dedicated to offering you the best tailored advice, and ultimately the best outcome throughout the buying and selling process. Our expert Conveyancing team understand that buying a property is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, and are here to help.

By choosing Bernard Chill & Axtell, you are choosing a firm with almost 70 years’ legal expertise; we are solicitors who care.

You can contact Bernard Chill & Axtell today on 02382 148019 or visit our website for a free Conveyancing quote.

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