If you’re a first time buyer, you might have noticed that lots of online advice is aimed at people who are buying an existing home. But, what if you’re looking for a new build property? Well, you’re going to need to know the same basic principles, but it’s also worth knowing these things that specific are to buying a new build…
It’s worth getting to know the developers that are building in the area you’d like to live in. They’re likely to be reliable and professional, but be sure to spend a little bit of time researching them to find out what their reputation and workmanship is like. You can search for feedback online or ask for a review by the residents of a home that has been built by the same developer.
Ask about incentives. New builds sometimes include a portion of the deposit paid by the developers, or ‘free’ items such as white goods or curtains, so it could pay off to see if the developers will throw in any extras.
But, don’t forget to ask what’s actually included in the purchase price. Sometimes only the barest bones of the house are provided, which means you’ll need to pay extra for things like carpets and light fittings. Make sure you’re going to get everything you’re expecting, and if not, re-evaluate your budget and consider what you’re going to need buy on top.
Some properties on new build estates can be purchased ‘off plan’, allowing you to tailor the interior of your home before it’s complete. You may be able to choose your own paint colours, tiles or worktops, but just bear in mind that this may come at an extra cost and will require you to be good at visualising the end result! WhatHouse has the details of thousands of new homes for sale from the UK’s top developers, so if you fancy customising an ‘off plan’ property, be sure to check it out.
If you’re reserving a plot, bear in mind that you’ll have to pay a reservation fee. This will usually be deducted from the purchase price if you proceed all the way to completion, but it’s probably going to be non-refundable if you pull out.
Remember that location is just as important when buying a new build as it is when buying an existing property. Ask sales consultants on the site to talk you through features of the site such as play areas, and check you’re happy with the distance to other amenities such as schools, shops and surgeries.
New builds are energy efficient and are likely to save you money on utility bills due to their high quality insulation, new heating systems and double glazing. So, check you’ve totalled up your budget correctly - you might find you’ve more money available for bills each month than you’re expecting.
Enquire about guarantees for new builds. New homes for sale tend to benefit from a builders guarantee that lasts for ten years… so you shouldn’t have to pay out for any unexpected surprises! However, you’ll need to check that the builders and developers are members of the National House Building Council (NHBC) as this will indicate that your property is guaranteed to be built to a high quality. Check the terms and conditions to make sure you’re happy with what the NHBC cover.
If you’re buying a house before it’s complete, bear in mind that the property might be ‘on notice’. This means that your home might not be guaranteed to be ready on a fixed date because the developer can’t guarantee when it will be finished, so you’ll need to be flexible on your move in date.
Once your new home is finished (at least so far as the structure is concerned) you’ll have an opportunity to ‘snag’. This is the process of detailing any errors or defects in the property that you need the builder to fix, such as doors that aren’t fitted quite right. Inspect the property properly and make sure everything is addressed before you complete on your new home.