The debate over whether it’s smarter to buy an existing London home or build new seems to evoke especially adamant opinions. On the one hand, some homebuyers want the homey history and character of a lived-in home. On the other hand, some homebuyers want the minimal maintenance, modern appurtenances, and pristine state of a new-build home.

Which type of London home is right for you will depend on what you’re looking for. Review these tips will help you decide.

Look beyond Sale Price

London is a crowded city, and that leaves developers few places to put up new homes. This creates a limited supply of new-build London homes, and that means higher average prices.

Either way, brace yourself for the fact that your London home won’t come cheap — ITV News reported this summer that only two areas in London remain with average home prices under £300,000 (Barking and Dagenham and Bexley).

But remember not to fixate solely on price. Even if the new home is more expensive, consider whether you’ll save with:

  • The home warranty that’s included
  • More efficient insulation and HVAC
  • More efficient appliances
  • Lower maintenance costs

Knowing What to Expect vs. Starting Fresh

Of course, one homebuyer’s pro can be another’s con. For example, you might look at an old Victorian London home and say, “We know what to expect from it because it’s had previous owners.” By contrast, another person might look at a new home and say, “We won’t inherit any problems.”

If you prefer an existing London home, the best way to minimize unpleasant surprises down the road is to have the home thoroughly inspected. If you’re working with London Relocation Services, we’ll connect you with a reputable home inspector as part of our moving services.

Consider the Size of Your Down Payment

How large of a down payment you can afford may determine whether you end up in a new or old home. Older homes tend to have lower sale prices, which means your deposit will also be smaller.

However, new-build homes may qualify for a government program called the Help to Buy scheme. Under the program, homebuyers with a deposit of at least five percent of a new home’s value can then borrow up to 20 percent more, interest-free, from the government.

Basically, there really is no right or wrong answer to whether to buy an old or new home. Once you’ve weighed all the financial considerations, the rest of the decision is a matter of preference.