When buying a new build property, you buy it off-plan. This means it usually isn’t built, in some cases building work hasn’t even begun. It is therefore important to find out what you are actually buying.
Generally the building is sold as a structure with white-wash walls and basic kitchen and bathroom facilities. There is often an option to upgrade the appliances to a specification of your choice for an additional cost. However, this isn’t everything and there are many aspects to consider to ensure your new build becomes your dream home.
What aspects do you need to consider when buying a new build property?
- For features outside the property you should ascertain whether the turf or stone outside is included, whether the builder will fence off the land or if there will be a parking space or driveway included.
- Consider future costs after completion: is there ground rent or service charge for any communal parts? Typically, all residents in new build housing estates are expected to contribute towards the maintenance of jointly used areas like grass verges.
Establish how many plots have already sold. You may be surrounded by a building site for a while and there could be some noise disruption.
- Check the builder is signed up to a home warranty scheme like NHBC’s Buildmark. This will provide protection if the builder ceases trading after you have exchanged contracts and paid your deposit.
- Be aware of the Consumer Code for Home Builders which launched in 2010. This ensures builders provide realistic information about when your home will be completed.
- Be mindful of how long your mortgage offer lasts for. Mortgage lenders often make an offer which lasts for three to six months from the date it’s issued. By the time your home is ready to complete you may need to re-apply.
- Visit the property once building is complete to inspect the work and make a full, detailed list of any points which aren’t right or need amending before completion. Small problems cannot prevent you from completing but you should ensure your solicitor has in writing from the builder’s solicitors that any problems will be rectified on completion.
- Familiarise yourself with completion dates. The builder’s solicitor will give a notice to complete 10 days before the completion date, with completion being on the 10th day. This may be negotiable, but generally the 10 day period is adhered to. If you are in rented accommodation, you may have an overlap in rental payments and shouldn’t give notice on your rental property until your solicitor confirms a notice has been received. Similarly, if you are selling a property you should consider your buyer’s situation and ensure that they are aware you are purchasing a new build property on a delayed completion.
Buying any property, whether it’s a new build or an existing house, can be an exciting but stressful time. It’s key to make sure you consider each aspect of a property and all the options available to you. If you are if any doubt, always ask your solicitor for advice. After all, you wouldn’t want to buy a house and then find problems once you’ve signed on the dotted line.