5 things you should know before buying a New Build home

There are plenty of reasons why you should buy a New Build home. One of the best (aside from that new carpet smell and all that fresh paint) is that you don’t have to worry about a long chain being completed before you can exchange contracts and move because a builder will often take your existing home in part exchange.

To make things simple, we’ve compiled a list of all the things you should know before you start considering a shiny new house.

1. The neighbours can tell you a lot

You can never do enough research where new builds are concerned. The developer’s websites are the best places to start, but make sure you also look at what residents are actually saying about their ‘new home’ experience. If the development is part completed, your future neighbours might have already moved in. Talking to them is a sure-fire way to learn about the developers, the pricing, the snagging procedure and even the area you’re moving to.

If the site doesn’t yet have occupied houses on it, it’s worth finding out how many of the other plots have been sold. You might not want to be the only resident on the development for months on end or be surrounded by a building site. There may also be lots of investors buying the plots rather than occupiers, so you could end up with lots of temporary residents nearby.  This may affect your decision to proceed.

2. You have room to negotiate

A common misconception is that the price is fixed with New Build homes – it isn’t!  You do have room to negotiate with the builder depending on how long ago the property went up for sale, the number of buyers interested and the state of the property market when you make your offer. The key is knowing the prices of plots on similar developments. So once again, research is important.

Some developers will also give you the chance to make key decisions about the property, including bespoke fittings and finishes suited to your tastes.  Even if they don’t offer this as standard, simply asking the question can make it happen, so always bring it up.

3. There might be hidden costs

This is fairly simple, but it’s essential to know. Clarify with the developers that the price you negotiate includes everything you will need to live in your new build home. It should include the provision of utilities, the price and installation of all flooring and your white goods etc. At no point should these ever be ‘add-on’ costs that come later.

4. You can protect against shoddy building

If you’re worried about the standard of the build, there are steps you can take to ensure that you obtain the level of quality you pay for. Make sure you request the completed floor plans and a full specification for the plot before you make a decision. These should include precise details on all measurements, materials and finishes. Don’t allow the developer any room to cut corners.

It would also be beneficial to negotiate a ‘long-stop’ completion date. This will tie the developer to a fixed completion date in the contract. This is very important if the house is not complete when you exchange contracts. If the developer takes too long to complete and misses the long stop date, the contract will allow you to pull out without losing your deposit.  It may also entitle you to compensation.

5. Your warranty doesn’t cover everything

Ideally your property should be covered by a ten-year structural warranty that is supplied by the developer on completion of your purchase – often with NHBC (National House Building Council) or similar. But often an architect’s certificate is offered instead by smaller scale developers. It is important to check with your mortgage lender that the form of warranty is acceptable. To ensure you’re moving into the house you dreamed of you’ll probably want to complete a snagging list with the builder. This is a survey that identifies all of the minor issues with your house just before you complete, such as a door that doesn’t close properly, cracked bathroom tiles, creaking floors etc. It is the builder’s responsibility to sort these issues out before you move in. They will often continue to deal with snags within the first two years of your occupation.

Cleary there is a lot to consider, but we hope we haven’t put you off buying your New Build home. When you step through those doors, we promise it will be worth it.

If you’d like to discuss the procedure or clarify any of the points mentioned above, or you would like a quote for the purchase of your New Build home, please contact our expert conveyancing team.

Contact our Conveyancing Team

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