Should you buy new or old property

It’s a choice you’ve got to make when house hunting abroad – buy an off-plan property or an older, resale one. So what are the real pros and cons of both choices?

At the moment it is likely that approximately a hundred thousand holiday homes are for sale ‘off-plan’ around the world.
Which means they are being sold either before construction starts or while the builders are still working away – but why would anyone buy a home before it’s completed?holiday property

The other options open to you are either to buy a recently-completed newbuild or purchase a ‘resale’ property – which could be anything from a 600-year-old farmhouse to a one-year-old beachside villa.

This property choice – between new or old – might seem a simple one, but it divides many buyers into two camps; those who think off-plan and newbuild properties lack character, and others who think resale homes are high-maintenance and old-fashioned.

But opinions aside, what are the real pros and cons of buying a off-plan and resale property? See over the page for some of the answers.


Many people prefer off-plan because these properties are paid for in instalments over several months or years instead of up front and in full. So no need to borrow the money (or release all your savings) in one go. Also, in a buoyant market off-plan properties increase in value while they’re being built. For holiday home buyers they are ideal too; it means the property can be tailored to their tastes and walls moved, plugs re-positioned, tiles changed or swimming pools shifted while the work goes on. Off-plan properties can be easier to finance -some off-plan agents and developers have banks lined up to lend you the money.


Buy a re-sale home and you get what you see plus you can move in almost immediately. Some say re-sale properties have more character, but that’s a matter of taste, however they can claim a history and many buyers like knowing that it’s stood there for a year, maybe a decade and possibly several centuries before they bought it. Older homes are also normally in areas where the property has a track record – a buyer will know which way property prices have been going in the past, and this feels comforting. You are not taking a gamble that a new resort may or may not take off. And in some markets, older and more characterful properties often fetch higher prices than their newer counterparts -and hold their price better during price downturns.

Also remember


Problems with off-plan properties occur if the builder gets behind or, worst of all, goes bankrupt. It’s then frustrating either waiting for the property to be finished or trying to get your stage payments back. Which is why it’s vital that you go over your off-plan contract in detail with an independent lawyer. The other main potential pain is that your villa or apartment can sometimes not look the same as the architect’s plans when it’s finished. More patience is required with an off-plan – it could be months or years until its ready.


Buy a re-sale property and, after paying a large sum for it (in one go) you will probably need to spend more; it’s unusual to move in and not find that, for example, the heating needs fixing, the cooker doesn’t work property or the brown walls need re-painting. It’s sold as seen – you are unlikely to be able to change the layout much! Plus it’s likely to attract upkeep costs sooner than a new property – and a re-sale property is very unlikely to come with any building guarantee. And remember that in some countries resale properties attract higher purchase taxes than off-plan or new properties.

Bulgarian property

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