Weigh up new and pre-loved homes for the best value

Homebuyers are counting their pennies as they struggle to find affordable properties in the current difficult economic climate, and that raises the question of which type of property – pre-owned or newly-built – offers the best value.
“Both types hold benefits and drawbacks,” says Martin Schultheiss, CEO of the Harcourts Africa property group. “Buying a home almost always involves compromise and consumers are advised to weigh up the pros and cons as they apply to their own situation before making a final choice.”
A compelling argument in favour of new homes is that financing may be easier since developers usually assist buyers to obtain bonds. In the current climate some developers may even offer to pay bond registration and conveyancing costs, which makes for considerable up-front savings.
“Another saving is that no transfer duty is payable when homes are bought directly from a builder or developer. Ownership costs are also likely to be lower than on a pre-owned home since buyers can usually confidently expect to spend little on maintenance in the immediate future. And then there’s the luxury of moving into a home that’s fresh and brand new,” he says.
“That said, however, new homes tend to be farther from the centre of town and if you’re looking for a short commute to work or perhaps better schools and more established neighbourhoods, you may need to be open to choosing an older home.”
And there are benefits in buying pre-owned properties too, including the strong probability of getting more house for your money, says Schultheiss. “Not only are older homes likely to be more spacious, but the price per square metre is usually lower. On top of that, there is usually more room for price negotiation as opposed to newly-built homes that are launched at fixed prices.”
If previous owners have upgraded, an older home may also offer better finishes such as carpets, light fittings and cupboards, whereas standard grade fittings are prevalent in new units.
“And speaking of aesthetics, older homes are more likely to come with established gardens, large trees and a sense of maturity that will take a long time to create in a new development.”

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