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Ep 18 Buy New Vs Home Renovation

22nd April 2022

We’re all obsessed with homes and love a transformation when we see a crumbling wreck transformed into a dream property - but at what cost?

Renovations aren’t always as glamorous as they seem and, in our latest podcast, we asked property, lifestyle and fashion influencer Emily Canham and James Holmear, Redrow’s group sales director, to consider the plusses and pitfalls.

Character is key

One of the main reasons people often choose to buy an older home is because of character, and that’s why Emily has decided to take on her own renovation project: “I have got a Victorian terraced home. For me having a home that is full of character is super, super important.”

Redrow homes always feel ‘solid’ and ‘grand’, she says, but not all new homes feel that way.  

However, the character Emily craved isn’t only found in older homes and, having once lived in a brand new Redrow home herself, she really appreciates features like the deep skirting boards and high ceilings we offer.  James adds: “We have got our Heritage Collection, inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement in the 1930s. We see people who are looking for second-hand homes and they come across a Redrow home and they go, ‘oh, this is everything I’ve been looking for’.”

James explains it’s also why Redrow sees a lot of family communities on its housing developments, after one member moves into a Redrow home and others love it so much they follow suit. Part of that inspiration comes from My Redrow, which allows customers to personalise their homes.

What is the market looking like right now?

It’s been a busy period in the housing market. James says: “The homes and the new homes market for the past 18-24 months, since the first lockdown finished back in the summer of ’21, has been crazy.

“So much of that is because there hasn’t been a huge amount of homes coming to the market, particularly in the second-hand homes space. But the new homes market is only 11% of the overall sales market for homes in the UK and we do see lots of people who hadn’t considered buying a new home, come and see a Redrow home …”

And, for so many, for different reasons, their minds are changed.

Inspiration for a renovation

If you do decide to buy a second-hand home, there’s plenty of advice and ideas around. Emily says: “I spend hours on Pinterest, and also looking at other properties in the area that are on the market maybe at a slightly higher price point as an aspirational point.

“And also the show homes we tour (which Emily views on her Welcome Home platform), I get so much inspiration from that.”

There are practical things to consider for a renovation, not least current difficulties in getting materials and rising costs, says Emily: “I haven’t actually started the build and I’m already getting ‘well we can’t get that for three months’ or ‘the price of timber has tripled’.”

And that’s where a developer like Redrow can come into its own, with experienced procurement teams who can mitigate those problems, and fantastic relationships with some of the biggest and best suppliers, says James.

Energy savings are a huge issue

Most of us are worrying about the rising costs of gas and electricity, and this can be where one of the biggest benefits of new versus old will become increasingly apparent.

James says: “People are becoming more and more aware of what they are paying for their energy and we are seeing those bills go up, particularly after April 1st there’ll be some big increases to people’s bills.  We are now seeing, with our sales teams, customers having conversations about ‘what’s this going to cost me to run?’. When we’ve done research and you compare a new Redrow home versus, say, a 1960s-70s equivalent, your saving is about 54%.”

Top tips for both

Looking to be as environmentally considerate as possible is a prime consideration for Emily who is sourcing sustainable heating options as well as buying items like appliances second-hand. Among her suggestions are doing plenty of research, managing time well - “whatever time you think it will take, double it!” - and being organised.

For a new-build the advice is similar: “Understand what you are buying, what you want for a home, and making it work for you.”

When it comes to costs, James identifies one very big advantage for new home customers over those buying a second-hand home: “Budget can float if you are doing a renovation. A great benefit of a buying a new-build home is you know what the costs are going to be.”

Meet the guests
Emily Canham - Property, Lifestyle & Fashion Influencer
Emily Canham
Property, Lifestyle & Fashion Influencer
James Holmear - Group Sales Director
James Holmear
Group Sales Director

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