“Buying Old versus New” (Part Two)

Last week’s article looked at the pros and cons of buying a modern home. Here we consider the older property.

Over 50% of residential properties in the UK were built before 1939. Their popularity has remained undiminished for decades, and many of our registered buyers express a preference for such “period” homes.  As an investment, period properties will always be in demand, as you can never build a new old house!

The attraction for many is in the character of the property, with each era delivering a distinctive building style such as Medieval, Georgian, Early Victorian, Late Victorian, Edwardian, etc.. For others it is the sense of history or unique points of interest such as an original fireplace, wall panelling, ceiling mouldings or the patina on an old door that could look out of place in a modern home. Also, the garden is likely to be well-established, with large trees and shrubs having been planted by previous owners.

Buyers with contemporary design ideas need not be put off by an older property, as many people now incorporate modern interior designs that can complement the character of a period home.

Of course, there are potential downsides to buying older properties that should be considered. Modern building standards are unlikely to have been met, so insulation, particularly around doors and windows could be an issue, and some attempts to replace these with modern equivalents, whilst being more efficient, can look out of place. Fire compliance and wheelchair access were seldom considered, and you never know what really lies beneath years of paint. Don’t necessarily be put off by some of the things that a surveyor might discover, but consider whether any dampness, cracks, rotten timbers or infestation are significant enough to affect your enjoyment of living in your new, or old, home.

Neil Newstead, FARLA MNAEA

Chief Executive Officer

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