Buying A New Build Property Advice

New build homes are often seen as the perfect option when seeking to buy a property, particularly if you are a first time buyer or don’t have a lot of money or time to spend on home improvements.

Benefits Of Buying A New Build Property

  • There will be no repair or redecoration costs
  • You will be the first people to live in the property
  • Most developers allow you to tailor the décor and fixtures and fittings to your taste, which is much easier to visualise as a blank canvass
  • Most new build properties come with guarantees and warranty agreements
  • Most new builds have the latest technologies installed to enable lower running costs and energy bills

New Build Properties: What You Need To Know

Buying a new build property can, at times, prove to be complex and this is where legal advice is required, so we recommend you take note of the following tips:

Know your developer: Read forums and research the developer, speak to your potential neighbours if the development is partially complete. Visit other sites built by this developer. Try and find out what the after sales service is like, there are often problems with fittings and decor after you have moved in, so is the warranty worth paying for and does this developer actually attend to issues as it is supposed to? Finally, try and find out about the ratio of owner-occupiers versus investors. You might get tired of having new neighbours all the time and this might not be the development for you. Also, how many plots are occupied or already sold? You don’t want to be the only resident amongst a building site for the next 12 months.

Pricing: When you buy a new car it depreciates in value as soon as you drive it off the showroom forecourt, and the same is true of a new build property. Compare the size, value and area compared to old builds of a similar nature. Is it worth paying the premium for a new build? You can always negotiate ‘extras’ with the developer, such as furnishings, car parking spaces or stamp duty, this is a common way to make the deal more attractive to you. Look into what deals have been done on other properties on the development to make sure the developer is being straight with you.

Future proofing: While home improvements might be something you are outright trying to avoid, you should think about how you can add value to the property, presuming you intend to stay for a few years. Just because the house is brand new doesn’t mean you can’t plan to add a conservatory, improve the garden or build a loft conversion. After all, a new build isn’t a new build for long. You also may need to consider if the property is suitable for raising a family.

Leasehold or freehold: It is important that you check this out as it can make a huge difference to your costs. Some new builds are sold as leasehold and this can mean you are faced with paying maintenance costs as well as an annual ground rent. You may also need the freeholder’s permission to carry out alterations or to have pets.

Building delays: Often the Developer will require that contracts be exchanged ahead of the property being ready for occupation. Where the property is be signed off by building control, a fixed completion date cannot be agreed at this stage. Contracts will therefore be exchanged with the agreement that completion is to take place on two weeks’ notice, served by the developer.  Once the property has been inspected and signed off by building control, notice of the completion date will be served by the developer. You will be required to complete in ten working days from the receipt of notice. If you wish, you may forego the full notice period and complete earlier, if mutually agreed with the developer. However, we are unable to agree a completion date until the property is awarded its completion certificate. The nature of new build property means that the anticipated completion date may change and we therefore cannot confirm that completion will take place on the anticipated date.  The Consumer Code provides that a long stop date up to six months from the anticipated completion should apply. Completion should therefore take place no later than this date i.e. six months from the anticipated date at the point of exchange of contracts.

Warranties: Ask to see proper specifications of your plot, and don’t agree to the sale based on promotional material or a show house. You need to know exactly what you are getting and agreeing to in order for a warranty to be worth anything. Some developers will attempt to reduce a specification so be careful to insist on seeing the actual specifications before you agree to complete on the purchase. Also, some developers are prone to cutting corners, so don’t be afraid to raise complaints about cracks, loose fittings and missing features etc.

Our new build property conveyancing department can answer all your concerns about the balance between new builds and old builds – simply get in touch today by calling 0113 284 5000 or alternatively email

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