Buying a new build property in the UK can be an exciting venture, offering modern designs, energy efficiency, and the opportunity to be the first owner. However, purchasing a new build comes with its own set of considerations and unique aspects that buyers should be aware of. From understanding warranties and contracts to navigating snagging issues and managing completion dates, being well-informed is crucial.
In this article, New Build Paralegal Chloe Emery explores the key factors to consider when buying a new build property in the UK.
Researching the Developer
Before committing to a new build property, it is essential to research the developer and their track record. Look into their reputation, previous projects, and customer reviews. Establishing the developer’s credibility and understanding their commitment to quality construction and customer satisfaction can provide reassurance about the reliability of the project.
The last thing you will be considering when you purchase your new home is selling it but is important to consider the potential resale value of the property. Be mindful to factor in aspects like location, local amenities, and the reputation of the developer, as these can all impact the property’s future value.
If you have located a Development you are interested in, we would recommend you visit a show home if possible. You should assume that any illustrative material supplied to you (brochures, website photos etc) are for guidance only and should not be relied upon. A show home can give you a better idea of the finished product, the quality of construction, the types of fixtures and fittings you can expect. If possible, review the specification of the property. Understand what fixtures and fittings are included? Are there any optional extras you might want? Ensure you understand what is covered and what is not. If they do not have a show home, we would recommend you visit the construction site. This can give you an idea of the location, the surrounding area, and the progress of the construction.
While new build properties often have fixed prices, there may still be room for negotiation, especially if you’re buying in bulk or if the market conditions allow for it. It is always worth checking with the site office, to see what they can offer you in terms of incentives. It is also worth checking their websites and signing up to their email updates, they will often email the incentive deals they have on at the time.
Comprehensive Inspection and Snagging
While new build properties are expected to be in pristine condition, it is important to conduct a thorough inspection and snagging process before completion. Snagging refers to identifying and rectifying any defects, minor issues, or unfinished work in the property. Engaging a professional surveyor can help ensure that all necessary repairs and finishing touches are addressed before you take possession of the property. Pay attention to the quality of finishes and materials used. Look for signs of craftsmanship and ensure the property meets your expectations in terms of design and functionality.
Understanding Warranties and Guarantees
New build properties typically come with warranties and guarantees that provide protection against structural defects and substandard workmanship. The most common warranty in the UK is the NHBC Buildmark warranty, but other providers, such as Premier Guarantee and LABC Warranty, also offer similar coverages. Familiarise yourself with the details of the warranty, including its duration, coverage, any changes you can make with and without written consent to ensure the warranty remains valid, and any additional guarantees provided by the developer.
Reviewing the purchase contract thoroughly is crucial when buying a new build property. Pay close attention to the payment schedule, completion dates, and any contingencies or conditions that need to be met before completion. Ensure that the contract includes provisions for potential delays, penalties, and dispute resolution mechanisms. Seeking legal advice from a property lawyer specialising in new build transactions can help clarify any uncertainties and protect your interests. If the property is part of a larger development or has communal facilities, there might be service charges and ground rent to consider. Make sure you understand these costs and how they might increase in the future.
Completion Dates, Delays and understanding the timeline
It is likely that you will purchase a new build property “off-plan”, this means that the property will not be built and on occasion can still be a plot of grass, it is therefore difficult to understand what exact date the new home will be ready on. Completion dates for new build properties can sometimes be subject to delays due to construction issues or external factors beyond the developer’s control. Maintaining open communication with the developer and staying informed about the progress of the construction can help manage expectations and ensure a smooth transition to your new home. At the point of exchange the Developers will provide a completion window and this can be anywhere from 3 months to 6 months, so please be mindful before paying the reservation fee that you have a clear understanding on the build completion timeline.
Ongoing Development and Amenities
Consider the surrounding area and any ongoing development plans that may impact the property and its surroundings in the future. Research the local amenities, such as schools, transportation links, shops, and recreational facilities, to ensure they meet your requirements. Being aware of any planned infrastructure projects or changes in the vicinity can help you make an informed decision about the long-term prospects of the area.
Everything you need to know
Buying a new build property in the UK offers many advantages, but it requires careful consideration and due diligence. Researching the developer, conducting comprehensive inspections, and understanding warranties and guarantees are crucial steps to ensure the property meets your expectations. Thoroughly reviewing the purchase contract, managing completion dates and potential delays, and staying informed about ongoing development in the area will contribute to a successful purchase. By being well-informed and seeking professional advice when needed, buyers can navigate the process of buying a new build property and embark on their homeownership journey with confidence.
Chloe Emery, Paralegal
Email us : [email protected]
call one of our offices:
South Devon 01803 213251
Exeter 01392 274006
North Devon 01271 342268
You can also complete an online enquiry form. One of the Wollens team will contact you as soon as they are available.