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Essential checks when buying a new build property

Posted 20 October 2016 by Ben Salisbury

When you are in the process of buying a new build property it is vital to be informed so that you can carry out all the necessary checks...

Buying a new-build property is one of the most important decisions a homeowner can ever make so it is vital that you understand all of the specific factors that you need to take into consideration when buying a new build property.

In this article we go through some of the most important factors you need to think about whilst planning to buy your new build home.

Is there a difference in cost between a new build home and an older property?

New build homes are generally only for sale at their specific price. Discounts don’t usually apply and there is less cope to try and put in an offer lower than the asking price as you would for the resale of an older residential property.

If the first phase sells really well, the developer may raise the asking price for the next phase of sales.

However, if the developer is not selling the homes as quickly as they would like or expect, they may reduce the asking price in order to sell the plots within a timeframe they are comfortable with or offer added incentives such as reduced stamp duty or free carpets.

Generally, with a new build home, you pay the asking price because you have the opportunity to choose your own plot and can often select materials and other features to allow your home to have a bespoke finish.

It is also important to check at the start of the process what features are included in the standard cost such as utilities, white goods, flooring and landscaping. Again, this will depend on the developer and the specific development. It is important to check so that you can allow sufficient space in your budget to cover any extra costs.

When buying a new build home, what choice do you have over the materials and finish?

This will depend on the developer and the particular options that are in place for the development. You should check what options are available at the earliest opportunity to get ahead of other prospective buyers of new build homes at the development.

Generally, there is likely to be some type of bespoke service which will allow you to choose some options to make the home more personalised. This could include choosing carpets, tiling or even what type of kitchen and certain elements of the finish.

How do garden sizes for new build homes compare to residential re-sale properties?

In most cases the garden of a new build home will be smaller compared to the garden of a residential re-sale property. This is because overall plot sizes are generally smaller for new builds because land values are higher than they used to be and the requirement for density of new developments in planning.

What are the differences in the buying process between purchasing a new build and a residential re-sale property?

When you are in the process of buying a new build home, you need to make sure you have a deposit, normally of 10% and to have access to the funds to be able to exchange contracts within 28 days.

One of the biggest advantages of buying a new build property is that there is no chain so your move won’t be curtailed by the actions of others.

Once you have come to an agreement with the developer to buy your new build home, you will have to pay a reservation deposit of £1,000 - £2,000 to secure your chosen plot. A percentage of this will be non refundable if the purchase doesn’t go ahead.

The next step is to instruct your solicitor and finalise your mortgage so that all is ready to go ahead.

The completion of the purchase will depend on when the National House Building Council (NHBC) or other regulatory authority have signed off the building regulations in conjunction with the local authority. You then have 10-14 days to complete the purchase.

What else do I need to consider?

Check the warranty that comes with your new-build home. It should have a 10-year warranty from the NHBC or similar authority. You will also have a limited time when you are responsible for informing the developer of any snagging problems with the construction of the property.

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