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As Devon grows in population, so do the number of houses that are being built. There have been many big new build developments in Devon, including in Torbay, Exeter, Dartmouth and Barnstaple

Buying a new-build home is a little different to buying an existing property – and comes with its own set of challenges, particularly because many sales happen before the house is built. We give the top legal tips to consider when buying a new build new build home.

1) Ask for a reservation agreement when you pay your reservation fee 

A reservation agreement will include details of the details of the agreed purchase price, what is included in the price (such as carpets, kitchens and other extras and incentives), any Developer’s Document Fees and the nature and cost of service charges and management fees.  You should also identify how many properties are to be built on the site and how the service charges and management fees are to be divided between each household.

2) Establish early on whether you are buying a freehold or a leasehold property 

Leaseholds will carry with them far greater Service Charges on a yearly basis than a freehold which has the benefit of communal outdoor space.  If it is leasehold, how are the ongoing Service Charges and Ground Rents calculated and can you afford those going forwards?

3) Check the building plans

It is important to check that the boundaries as shown on the plans provided to your Solicitor accord with the physical boundaries on the ground.  You will want to ensure that your new neighbors don’t think they can have their BBQ in part of your garden because the plans were wrong!

4) Parking spaces 

check the location of any garage or parking space included with the property and any visitors’ parking spaces. When buying a new build home there is so much to look out for that sometimes important things like parking spaces are forgotten.  Having off street parking can be a tremendous asset to a home, with some reports stating that properties with their own parking facilities are 13% more than similar homes without. Even if you do not drive it will still add value if you decide to sell your home in the future.

5) Identify the snagging list before completion 

A snagging list is a term used to describe all those little but important jobs which haven’t yet been finished, such as grouting the tiles, decorating the skirting, hanging the doors. Essentially, if you expected the finish to be of a certain standard, ensure those jobs have either been completed or agree a list with the developer before completion takes place.  If left until after completion, the incentive has gone for the developer to finish the job quickly and they may also try to argue that some of the issues have been caused by post completion wear and tear.

Anything which would be classed as a defect and which the developer fails to address will be covered by the 2 year NHBC Warranty and the following 8 years of the NHBC Warranty covers substantial/major defects.

Wollens’ Private Property team have a wealth of experience in new build conveyancing matters with offices in TorquayExeterNewton AbbotDartmouth and Barnstaple. If you have any questions about buying a new build or any other conveyancing matters contact our team today.