New builds or period properties - how to choose

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Period property

Choosing between new and old properties is just one of the considerations when buying a property.

From energy efficiency and modernity to characterful spaces and period features. Below we discuss the pros and cons of each.

What to consider when buying a period house

While period properties have a certain kerb appeal when house-hunting, appearance isn’t everything.

Pros of buying a period property

More space

Period properties often offer spacious rooms with high ceilings and large windows. Their gardens are typically bigger, and many have off-road parking.

Thicker walls and substantial building materials

These properties generally benefit from a superior build quality; you’ll often find thicker walls, ornate features and a structure built to last.

Prime location

Many period properties are in prime locations within established communities, with amenities and transportation links on the doorstep.

Good investment

As only a limited number of period properties exist, they tend to retain their value. You also have the potential to add value with updates and improvements. 

Cons of buying a period property

Less energy efficient

Your home could take longer to warm up and be less effective at retaining heat. Read our guide on how to make an old home more energy efficient.

More maintenance

Wear and tear issues are more prevalent, so the costs of upkeep and redecorating can add up. Older wiring and plumbing may need to be replaced, and there’s a risk older buildings may contain asbestos and lead paint. 

Property chain

You may be in an unpredictable property chain, making the buying process much longer than buying a home off-plan with no previous owners to consider.

Old heating system

You may inherit an outdated boiler that might need to be repaired or replaced, which can be costly.

Tips for buying an old house

When buying an older property, it’s worth commissioning a level 2 or level 3 homebuyer survey to identify any defects or areas of damage that aren’t immediately obvious.

Make sure you factor into your budget how you’ll pay for future repairs and the likely costs for any remodelling or extensions you might be planning. 

Be sure to thoroughly examine your property - check out cupboards, roof spaces and cellars, which can offer up potential and give clues to any problems. 

Take a look at our guide on what to look for during house viewings for more information.

What to consider when buying a new build

Buying your home brand new certainly come with plenty of benefits, but there are a few less appealing aspects to be aware of too.

Pros of buying a new-build property

Energy efficiency

Complying with the latest building regulations means modern homes are more energy-efficient. New properties are often cheaper to run because they’re well-insulated and fitted with more efficient plumbing and electrical fixtures. 

Building warranty and incentives

Many new builds come with a 10-year warranty. But warranties can be limited in scope, so it’s important to have buildings insurance. Some developers also offer extra incentives such as paying your stamp duty. 

Bespoke design and modern living

You’re often able to choose many of the fixtures and fittings in a new build. And new builds are usually geared towards modern living with open-plan spaces and smart home features.

Low maintenance

You should be able to start enjoying your home straightaway, with no wear and tear.

Cons of buying a new build property

Expensive to buy

New houses come with a premium price tag, and it can be hard to cover your costs in the short term if you choose to sell. 


Being brand new doesn’t necessarily mean it’s flawless, but most problems will likely be cosmetic and easily fixed. It’s advisable to carry out a ‘snagging survey’ before you complete the sale.

This type of survey is designed to check for issues with new build homes and should be done by a professional surveyor.

Lack of character and less space

New builds don’t have the unique features of period homes and can lack individuality. To maximise developer profits, new houses are often built close together, have smaller gardens and are less generously proportioned.

Build delays

If your new house is running behind schedule, which can happen, you may experience a delayed move date. This could add to your costs if you need to pay for storage or unexpected rent.

Tips for buying a new-build home

If you’re buying off-plan, the earlier you show interest in the development, the more room you have to negotiate on price. 

Assess the land around your new potential property and decide if other homes will likely be built and cause the area to become a building site.

What home insurance will I need when I buy a house?

Buildings insurance is often compulsory if you plan to buy a freehold property like a house with a mortgage. This covers the cost of rebuilding your home if damaged or destroyed.

If you're buying a leasehold property like a flat or maisonette, you won't need buildings insurance as your freeholder should cover this. However, you can cover your belongings with contents insurance.

If your period property is a listed building, you’ll need listed building insurance, which covers any specific materials and expert work required to maintain its listed status.

You can get comprehensive cover by choosing home insurance, including buildings and contents cover.

Flexible home insurance from Admiral