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Renovation Vs. New Build: Which One’s for You?

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Being unsure whether to buy a renovation project or a new property is common.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both, meaning homebuyers often struggle to choose.

So, renovation vs. new build, who wins the battle?

Let’s weigh-in.

Is it Better to Buy a New House or Renovate an Old One?

Those on the hunt for their dream property often have two choices: to buy a brand new home or venture down the home renovation route.

The answer to ‘which is better?’ is different for everyone.

Deciding what’s right for you involves looking at a range of factors, including:

  1. Budget
  2. Long-term plan
  3. Location
  4. Compromises
  5. Costs


Set a budget clearly defining how much you can spend. This will give you a better idea of what you can afford, helping you narrow down your selection.

Long-Term Plan

Set yourself some goals.

Are you planning to live in this property for a long time? Or, are you looking to sell quickly and make money?

This can help you find the answer to whether it’s better to renovate or buy. It will also likely determine where you buy.


This is a hugely pivotal deciding factor.

Tip: look for economic growth. Choose your location wisely to increase property value.

If an area is up and coming, this can be a great place to buy a home. Chances are, you can snap up a property at an affordable price and sell it for a profit later on.

Why choose an area where there will be no return on investment?


With any property purchase, you need to establish your wants and needs of a home and be able to distinguish between the two, as you might need to compromise to stay within budget.

Work out what these would be – and what you won’t budge on.

This could be the number of bedrooms, or a garden, for example.


There are a number of costs to consider when buying a home, including:

  • Long-term
  • Short-term
  • Running

Try not to look at these individually. For example, being blinded by an older property with lower upfront costs compared to a new build house. The ongoing costs of the home remodelling might make it more expensive in the long-term.

Also, you should consider how expensive property will be to maintain and run. Everything from double glazing to insulation will play a factor when it comes to price.

New Build vs. Renovation – Pros & Cons

Clearly, there are a number of variables to consider with the type of property you should buy.

So, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each option.

Pros of Renovating

Why do so many homeowners choose to buy a renovation project?

Cheaper Price

First things first, let’s talk money.

One of the main draws is that the upfront cost of buying the property is often cheaper. Homes that need a lot of work doing to them can usually be snapped up under market rates.


Home refurbishment adds value, meaning that when you come to sell, you could make a nice profit.

Whether it’s an extension, loft conversion or a full interior redesign, your project could add significant value to the property.

Want to get an estimate? Our extension value calculator can give you an idea.

Extension Value Calculator

Make your Mark

For some, completing a home remodel is a lifelong goal. Buying a renovation project allows them to bring their vision to life.

Cons of Renovating

Of course, it’s not all good news, there are some inevitable downsides.

Find Architectural Services

Ongoing Costs

While the upfront cost of purchasing the property might be lower, there will be ongoing renovation costs to contend with. This includes materials and having to find a tradesman.

Some homebuyers have found their project goes wildly off the rails in terms of price.

Unforeseen Issues

It’s essential to get a property survey before you buy to find out what’s going on under the surface.

However, even when proceeding with caution, issues can arise that weren’t predicted. This includes over-running on time, or discovering the project is more difficult than anticipated.

Many ‘hidden’ costs can emerge as the house renovation develops.

Remember, what you see isn’t always what you get.

Find a Local Surveyor


Are you prepared for the responsibility of undertaking a renovation project?

House remodelling is not for the faint-hearted, especially if you have to live in the property as the work is ongoing. There are a number of questions to consider:

  • Will you live in the property while renovating it? This can make things harder, but could you afford to rent somewhere else if not?
  • What happens if the project runs over on time?
  • What happens if the project runs over-budget?
  • Are you fully committed?
  • Is this your first renovation project?

If somebody you know has completed a project previously, you should speak to them about their experience. They also might be able to impart some invaluable advice on how to renovate a house from scratch.

Pros of New Build Homes

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. What are the perks of choosing new build homes?

No Property Chain

With new build properties, you’ll be the first to live there, so you won’t have to deal with the stress of a property chain.

These can be notoriously difficult to manage, as if one person pulls out, the whole thing can collapse.

Your Own Taste

Many are drawn to new builds as it’s their chance to design a property completely from scratch, to their taste only.

From fixures and fittings to decor, the property is a blank canvas and the aesthetic aspect of home design is up to you. This carries strong appeal for some hopeful homeowners.

Cons of New Build Homes

A new build might not be the best option for everyone; there are some negatives.

Higher Cost

Chances are, the cost of buying a brand new property will be higher than that of a renovation project. Consider this carefully and try not to blow your budget.


Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because a property is a new build, it will be without problems.

Many issues can arise, which is why it’s essential to have a new build snagging list. This will help check the physical specifications, such as ill-fitting doors and windows.

There’s also the chance of nasty surprises popping up later on. So, it’s worth getting a survey on a new build.

Too many homeowners have fallen into the trap of assuming that ‘new build’ means ‘problem-free’.

Find a Local Surveyor

Tips and Advice

Clearly, the winner of the renovation vs. new build debate depends entirely on you and your individual situation.

Whatever you choose, here are some handy hints to help you along the way.

Don’t Blow the Budget

It sounds obvious, but try sticking to the budget you’ve set. This might involve making a few compromises, such as size.

However, you don’t want to get trapped by loan repayments you can’t afford to keep up with.

Use a mortgage affordability calculator to help steer you in the right direction.

How Much Could You Borrow?

Be Thorough

Ask plenty of questions, go to multiple viewings, leave no stone unturned.

New build or renovation project, it’s your money you’re parting with, so do your best to ensure you’re making the right choice.

Do your Research

Before making your final decision, make sure you’ve carefully considered all avenues. Pay special attention to the area.

New build or not, you can’t change the location once you’ve bought it! A property report can carry out thorough research for you.

From crime rates to local schools, it will arm you with the information you need to know before you buy.

Get a Property Report

Last Updated: August 22nd, 2023

Phil Spencer

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