To Buy a New Home or a Fixer-Upper?

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If you’ve outgrown your current home, or are simply ready to move into a neighbourhood that’s more suited to your needs, you might be wondering ‘should I buy a new, off-the-plan home, or purchase something more affordable, a ‘fixer-upper’, as it were, and do it up?’ It’s a fair question, and one that many home buyers struggle with. Here, we take a look at the pros and cons of each option, in the hopes of helping to make the decision a little easier.

Buying off-the-plan, or new

A new home, like a new car, holds a certain appeal in that it’s never been sullied by previous owners. That new car smell, or the waft of fresh paint and newly-installed carpets is truly something special. However, new homes, especially those in the most desirable neighbourhoods, come with a price tag to match. If you’re after a new place which requires no work, and is ready to move straight into, then buying a new, near-new or even off-the-plan home might be the solution for you. So long as you’ve got the budget to suit such a purchase, or are willing to move into an estate or development which is further away from the city and major amenities.

Things to keep in mind when considering buying new, or off-the-plan:

  • Are you in a position to wait for a new build to be ready?
  • Do you have the budget to buy in your desired area, or are you happy to live further away?
  • Do you want a home that is ready to move into, and doesn’t need adjusting or improving?
  • Are you able to find a new build which suits your needs in terms of layout, bedrooms, facilities, fixtures, amenities and location?

Buying a fixer-upper, and doing some renovations

The beauty of buying an existing property, especially one that has seen better days, is that the price will tend to be much more affordable. Buying a slightly sagging older home may mean that you’re able to buy in the area you’ve been dreaming of, but could never afford. An older home which needs a bit of work represents bang for buck, if you’re willing to undertake the works needed to make it the perfect home.

The other major benefit to buying a fixer-upper is that often, works can be undertaken over a period of time. You might decide to renovate the entire home if you’ve got the time and the budget to manage such an undertaking; or alternatively, you may choose that the bathroom is your top priority for now, and you can take care of the rest later, when you’ve got the budget. One of the advantages to this approach is that once you’ve found a professional renovator that you trust, you know where to go the next time you’re ready to start a project.

If you’re looking to purchase a dream home to call yours forever, or simply hoping to revamp an older home and then flip for a profit, renovating is by far the best way to go.

Things to keep in mind when considering a fixer-upper:

  • Do you want to buy in a more expensive area, without the budget necessary?
  • Would you like to purchase a home that you can add value to?
  • Does buying a home that needs a bit of work mean that you can purchase a bigger or more desirable property, in a great neighbourhood?
  • Would you like to spread out the cost of renovation over time?
  • Are you hoping to renovate and turn a profit on the purchase?

Decided to renovate? What now?

If you’ve decided that a fixer-upper is the best way to go, you’ll then need to think about your renovations. You might want to take a look at our previous blog, 5 Steps for Planning Your Bathroom Renovation in which we take a look at things like:

  • Setting your budget and timeline
  • Identifying your goals and purpose
  • Designing a floorplan
  • Choosing fixtures, fittings and finish

But before you can start planning, you need to hire a professional to undertake your renovation. This can be a daunting process, if you’ve never renovated before. Check out our blog Top Tips on Finding and Hiring a Professional Renovator for some handy hints around this.

Deciding whether to buy a new home, or one that needs a little work is a deeply personal choice to make. However, in today’s property market, where a renovation can cost less than the stamp duty on some purchases, fixing up an existing home can be a far more affordable option in both the long, and the short term.