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Questions to ask when buying a new build house

buying a new build house

There are plenty of advantages to buying a new build house and thousands of new build properties are built and sold across the UK each year.

The appeal of new builds includes:

  1. Decorated to your taste
  2. Low maintenance
  3. Energy efficient
  4. High-spec finish
  5. Space maximising design
  6. No moving chain
  7. Part-exchange often available

When buying a new build house or apartment, there is no seller, or neighbour, to ask questions of, such as ‘when is bin day?’ and ‘what is the estate like?’ With this in mind, we have come up with eight must ask questions to ask when buying a new build house.

When can I move in?

We have all seen new developments and commented on how quickly the properties seem to appear. However, while the property you are interested in may be built in a matter of weeks, the process of fitting gas, electricity, mains water and other essentials can take longer. Also, to be factored into your timeframe is the length of time it will take your solicitor to do all the necessary legal work, such as searches and checking contracts to ensure your purchase is legal and protected.

Is it cheaper to buy an older house?

Probably. New build houses often carry a premium. Essentially someone else (the developer) has done all the work for you. This can include:

  • decorating
  • installing latest fixtures and fittings
  • landscaping the garden

All of this comes at a price and it is reflected in what you’ll pay to buy the property. That being said, buying a new house can save you money on energy bills as they are typically much more energy efficient than older properties and on decorating and house repairs.

Will I be able to add value?

Adding value is something many of us look for when we buy a property, whether in the short term or long term. However, when it comes to new build properties, adding value can be much more difficult than with an older property. With no ability to add value by updating the kitchen or bathroom, it is difficult to add significant value internally.

An obvious choice to add value could be to develop the property externally, either through an extension, conservatory or other such addition. However, it is worth noting that in some cases, new developments have a restricted development covenant attached which could mean that new additions are not permitted.

Will roads around the development be adopted by the local council?

Private roads are often poorly maintained and can rack up significant costs in their upkeep. The solicitor handling your purchase should look into this.

What will the development be like when it is finished?

This is an important consideration, after all, you will hopefully be living on it for many years. There will be a site development plan which will show, in detail, all aspects of the development, from pathways to street lighting. Be sure to fully review the plan to get a sense of the scale of the development before you buy.

What warranties come with the new build?

Most new build homes come with the NHBC 10-year warranty and before contracts are exchanged, your solicitor should ensure you have the name and contact details for this. This provides reassurance should things go wrong.

Your developer may also be willing to offer warranties too, ask your solicitor to look into it further.

What financial incentives can you offer?

Depending on the developer, the development and the state of sales, there may be some incentives offered to move. These include help to buy schemes and covering the cost of selling your current property. See your developer’s sales team for more information.

Who do I speak to if things go wrong?

Before you move in you should take the time to go through the property, ‘snagging’ for problems and then report them to the builder. This could be anything from a squeaky hinge to a leaking roof – you are paying a premium for a ‘move in ready’ home so any faults and issues should be identified and dealt with asap.

All home builders should adhere to The Consumer Code for Home Builders. Industry led, the code works to ensure buyers know their rights when buying a new build property and lays out a system for dealing with complaints.

As with any house move, seeking trusted legal advice is a must. Our team of property solicitors are experts in all property matters, including new build purchases.

Along with their legal know-how, the team understand how important straight-forward advice and communication is and work closely with clients to deliver exceptional service.