Five reasons why you should think about what type of property to buy

publication date: Apr 6, 2010
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Five reasons why you should think about what type of property to buy

When you are dreaming of your ideal home, you are likely to be doing it while wearing rose tinted spectacles! That dream penthouse flat might look fab, but not if it drains your cash each year with high service charges. A beautiful period chocolate box property may look idyllic until you need a plumber or electrician and get a bill for thousands instead of hundreds of pounds!

Follow our five reasons why you should be thinking about the property type you are going to purchase and work out what is practical for your wallet and your time!

Location, Location, Location
Different property types can be found in different areas of a city, town or village. As you go from the centre of a town you are likely to see a few Georgian homes, followed by lots of Victorian properties, a few Edwardian properties, then further out 1930s and 1950s estates and finally, some 1970s and lots of new build estates towards the outer suburbs from the 1980s and 1990s. With the trend to build inner city flats since the millennium, you will find some new builds in town centres, but few out towards the suburbs.

So, when thinking about the property type, think about where that means you’ll have to live locally!

If you are after a period property such as Georgian or Victorian, don’t forget it will be harder to find one with a driveway as cars had yet to be invented! Some grand Georgian residences had driveways for their carriages, but these are quite rare, so be prepared to compromise! New builds, although often criticised for being ‘smaller’ than older houses aren’t. 1930s properties typically have the biggest square footage of any properties, but new builds have additional facilities such as fully fitted kitchens, extra loos/bathrooms that take up the space. 1930s/50s and 70s homes have more space around them which makes them ‘feel’ bigger too.

Do watch new build property garages – make sure your car fits first!

Price Premium
Every property type in every location will have its own price premium. Pre credit crunch, in some areas new builds were 10-15% more than other older properties. In other areas such as a quaint village location, period properties can have a 30% plus premium. However, while we recover from the property recession, new builds are a bit of a bargain as they aren't able to charge a premium over second hand properties.

So be aware of how much of a premium you’ll have to pay for your chosen property type, or if you need a bargain, compromise!

Property Maintenance
New homes rarely need much money spending on them and indeed the utility bills tend to be a lot lower too. Typically homes that are over 25 years old need much more maintenance as the electrics and plumbing may be out dated, or have been added too regularly which makes repairs more expensive.

Put aside around £1,000 a year for property maintenance, or £2,500 if it’s a property built before the 1930s.

Leasehold of Freehold?
Most houses are bought on a freehold basis and flats via leasehold. If you are buying a property with a leasehold, it’s important to find out what all the costs such as ‘ground rent’ or ‘service charges’ are. You also need to check what ‘big bills’ may be coming up such as windows needing replacing or the outside of the leasehold properties needing painting.

Think about the additional costs of leasehold versus freehold, it might add thousands to your household bills every year!
If you have a property dilemma or need a property question answering, contact us or tel 0845 838 1763 for independent and unbiased answers and advice.

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