To buy a new refurb or one that needs work?

3 Feb 2014
Published in Property
Views 1143

In this article we address the dilemma of choosing between a nicely decorated property ready to call a home or one that needs a lot of love.

In this article we'll be discussing whether it is better to move straight into a new home that has a modern well designed refurbishment already waiting for you with an expensive asking price, or to buy a home which is much cheaper, but in dire of modernisation.

We'll be taking at deeper look at both options

Buying a newly refurbished property


  • Ready to move into and enjoy from day one
  • No need for DIY or expensive builders
  • No need to spend time and effort redecorating


  • A newly refurbished home will be more expensive
  • You've missed an opportunity to stamp your personality into your new home
  • The décor may not be to your taste


This option may appeal to those who have more money and less spare time. If you have a busy lifestyle such as having a young family to run around after you may not want the extra stress of redesigning your home. To invest into a home that needs a little TLC won't just cost you money, it will also cost you time. Going for periods without bathing facilities or the huge amount of dust generated when redecorating my be an issue if you have small children.

Buying a lacklustre property


  • Could be an exciting new project
  • You can decorate exactly to you taste, fancy a themed room such as a disco garden room complete with an artificial grass carpet, bean bags and an exotic bar in the corner, well why not, it's your home and castle!
  • You will save money even after you factor in costs of your decorating expenditure if you DIY
  • You will then have added significant value to your property


  • Renovation costs could be high if professionals are needed
  • It will take a lot of time and effort
  • Could be very stressful if you don't achieve the desired result
  • You may not do as great a job as you were hoping on your own
  • You may lack an eye for good design


This option may appeal to first time buyers such as a young couple or a single adult who would relish a project such as this, and why not, you can make a house a home by infusing it with your own unique style. You've dreamed for years of owning your place so why not do it up to exactly how you'd like it?

If you have bags of enthusiasm and are willing to invest time you can keep costs down by doing a lot of it yourself such stripping and painting walls thus reducing the cost of professional input.

Which option will you choose?

Our advice is to look carefully at properties you're interested in, taking into account it's potential as well as possible pit falls. Here are our top tips on making your decision if it is too much for you:

What needs improving

Be aware the bathroom and kitchen will be the most expensive rooms to have done if they need it. You will be paying for expensive fittings and skilled labourers to have these improved so they will cost a lot more than redecorating a lounge for example.

How much needs doing

Are the walls painted? If so and you don't like the colour you will simply be painting over it, this is cheap and easy. If it is wallpapered you will need to pull that off first which is time consuming and could uncover a wall in desperate need of replastering. Wood chip wallpaper is one of the most difficult papers to strip and can pull plaster off the wall with it.

First impressions

Will you be able to enjoy your lovely new house in the time before you replace that horrible carpet and remove the terrible wallpaper? Your house is supposed to be where you relax and feel most comfortable remember. Will it bother you that your new home may be lacking something when you first invite your family friends?

Are you that handy?

You may have never redecorated before but that doesn't mean you can't do it. You may however be that person who just can't do things like this. Nothing wrong with that but you may need to get pros to do your work which can be expensive. It is best to get it done properly.

Make a budget

If you intend on redecorating the whole house your budgeting should start with the most expensive rooms, the kitchen and bathroom. That way if you run low on funds you can cut costs by being creative with other rooms.

Don't rush in

Take time to get used to your new home before you start planning. It's best to do it diligently so the results will be enjoyed for much longer than by cutting costs and compromising on quality of materials used and the standard to which they finished. You shouldn't expect to get the house fully renovated in a couple of months whilst living there and working elsewhere full time.

Find the right area

Of course you should make sure the houses you are looking at are in the right area and to be sure of this you can use our free neighbourhood discovery engine. This will match your idea of a perfect neighbourhood such as good local schools and low crime with a list of top neighbourhoods selected just for you. This is the best way to find where to live!

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