Should you buy a flawless new house or a fix up?

June 24, 2016

When looking to buy a new home you have a few decisions to make such as; which suburb to buy in, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need and do you want a house or apartment? Another decision to make is whether you should buy a brand new house, or an older one in need of fixing up.

Buying a place that needs fixing up can be a fun project to take on. Pulling down some walls, rubbish skip hire, painting and creating a place to your own tastes can be really satisfying for some people. But others would prefer a place they can move into and not have to lift a finger for years to come. There are definite pros and cons to both options and we look at them here:

Building a brand new house

Going to visit display villages and choosing out a brand new home can be absolutely thrilling. If you already have land to build the house on, even better. Other perks to building include:

  • You get a brand new, unlived in home that has a new house smell.
  • You will get to choose a lot of the important parts of the house such as paint colour, carpet and in some cases even the appliances.
  • You will get a new home warranty.
  • The house will be built to modern day standards, which includes new safety measures as well as being kind to the environment. For example, it will include rainwater tanks and there will be no lead based paint or asbestos.
  • Another great thing about modern standards, is that the house will be built with our current ways of living in mind. This means more power points, inclusions for smart phone and iPads to be charged, as well as more bathrooms.

However, the downside to building a new home can include:

  • A long time-frame. From the time you choose a new display home or get plans drawn up through to the time you are handed the keys could be around one and a half years.
  • Extra costs. Buying a brand new home doesn’t mean outlaying costs just for the house. You need to look at demolition of the existing house, excavation and then putting everything back in place after the house is done such as the drive way and all landscaping. It can all start to really add up!
  • Unless you have endless money, there are still things you’ll have to compromise on. Instead of being able to renovate the home slowly in stages, it is all being done at once so you will have to decide what can and can’t be done.
  • You also won’t be able to create the house specifically to your needs without having to pay a huge amount extra for changes.

Another option is to buy a house that is already built, but is flawless. The obvious upside of this is that the house is ready to move into – no waiting a year for it to be finished, and you don’t have to go through the hassle of building. The downside is that you’ll pay a premium for a beautiful ready-made home compared to one that needs work.

Buying a fix up

If you decide to go down the path of buying a ‘renovators delight’ it may feel slightly overwhelming at first when you think of all the things that need doing. But a fix up home has a lot of pros, such as:

  • Your house is a blank canvas and you can design whatever you like. This will mean you get exactly what you want and it will be a one of a kind compared to the numerous displays homes that are technically the same.
  • The purchase price of the fix up house will be lower than any of the flawless homes you are looking at. Of course, you need to then factor in renovation costs, but you can always live in the house for a while first and do the renovations in stages or down the track when you have some money saved up.
  • If you are quite handy, you can save money on some of the work around the house.

Some of the downsides to buying a home in need of fixing up include:

  • The sheer amount of work that needs to be put into the home might be off-putting to a lot of people, especially if you are time poor or don’t have the money to make changes as soon as you’d like to.
  • You may not realise the extent of what needs fixing until you get started on it. Often renovations will uncover hidden problems such as plumbing or bad wiring that will leave you more out of pocket than first anticipated. You will always need to make sure you have a buffer in your budget.
  • Although the resale value can increase considerably after a renovation is complete, you need to look into your plans carefully before undertaking them or you may end up overcapitalising and finding it hard to make back what you’ve invested.

Each option has its merits but it really comes down to the individual person; what they are willing to undertake and what they think they’d gain the most satisfaction from in the long run.