The do’s and don’ts of buying a new build home
If you’re thinking of buying a new build home, you’ll no doubt be excited about the prospect. There are so many things to love about buying a brand new place: it’s fresh and clean, offering a blank canvas with fresh paintwork, new tiling and hopefully a spotless kitchen and bathroom. However, there are also some downsides that could leave you with buyer’s remorse if you don’t do your homework first. To help make sure this doesn’t happen to you let’s take a look at what do – and don’t – when buying a brand new home.
Do visit other new build developments nearby
Visiting other new build developments nearby is a great way to get a feel for the area. You can see how the houses are situated, as well as how they are built and decorated. You’ll pick up on things that appeal to you, or things that don’t quite work for you. This will help you make an informed decision about your home when it comes time to buy one.
Do go and see show houses
Show houses are an excellent way to get a feel for the new build homes available on the market. Show houses are open to the public, so you can visit them without any obligation. They tend to be free to attend, and stay open for inspection for at least two weeks.
Do try to meet your neighbours
One of the most important things to do when purchasing a new build home is to meet your neighbours. You can start this process by asking around the development, but if they haven’t been moved in yet, you’ll have to wait until they are.
It’s important that you get along with your neighbours as it’s likely you’ll spend time around them, and it’s always nice to see a friendly face around when you come into or leave your house each day, or need someone to take in a parcel for you as a favour.
Do your research on who the builder is
The first thing you should do when looking for a new build home is use common sense and spend some time researching who the builder is. You will want to check out any company that is going to build your dream home. Make sure that they have a good reputation with their customers and in the community too, as this will help you determine whether or not this is a trustworthy company you can work with as well as make sure that everything goes smoothly during construction of your home and after completion of it, once moved into!
Do your research on the property
When buying anything new it’s important that you do your research and what exactly you’re getting into before making any commitments – no matter how tempting it may seem!
If you’re planning on buying off-plan, i.e. ahead of the home’s completion, make sure you have access to trustworthy legal advice and that you understand all of the terms of when the property is set to be completed. Quite often off-plan properties are finished later than expected due to various delays in the process, so you want to make sure you’re not left in limbo with nowhere to live.
However, if you choose to not buy off-plan and wait until the property is finished, you may run the risk of all the good properties having already been snapped up before the site’s completion. Therefore, make sure to do thorough research on the property you’re interested in so you can make an informed decision before committing.
Do get a survey before you commit
Many buyers feel like spending money on a survey for a new build is an unnecessary expense, assuming that you won’t come across the problems that may be apparent in an old property. However, this isn’t the case and it’s still vital to carry out a survey before you move into your new home.
New build properties can often have issues which cause problems for buyers, such as unfinished fittings, for example scratched surfaces or a dodgy door hinge, or it could be something more serious and costly, such as poorly fitted kitchen fixtures. It’s important to remember that whilst the show home you may have viewed has been completed to an excellent standard, the home that has your name on it may need a closer look to ensure you’re happy with the quality.
Don’t over-spend on a new build just because it’s brand new
You should make sure that you don’t overspend on a new build just because it’s brand new. You’re not going to get the same quality as something built 20 years ago, and there are lots of horror stories about people who bought into the latest thing only for their house to become obsolete within two or three years. If you want to make sure that your house lasts, it is worth investing in something well made that can last for decades without becoming dated or falling apart.
Don’t buy a leasehold house unless you know what you’re letting yourself in for
If you’re considering a leasehold property, think long and hard about whether it’s worth the extra costs. If you’re only buying because your mortgage lender won’t let you buy a freehold property, then reconsider your choice of lender first.
Leasehold properties have several disadvantages over freehold properties:
- They cost more – much more. A leaseholder pays ground rent to the landlord in exchange for permission to live there (usually around £100-£250 per year), as well as service charges which cover things like maintenance and insurance of common areas within the development. These can add up to thousands of pounds each year.
- The fixed term – if your mortgage runs out before the lease does, this means that at some point down the line (probably after another 30 years or so) when interest rates are lower than they are now) someone will come knocking on your door asking for their money back early. Say goodbye to equity!
- Difficulties selling – if someone is looking into buying a new build home they’ll usually want one with freehold ownership so that they don’t have anything hanging over them once they move in (and also because it’s easier). Potential buyers aren’t going to be keen on taking on something that could potentially become an expensive burden down the line; most people would rather pay less money upfront than risk losing it all later on.
For more information on leasehold properties check out one of our previous blog posts Leasehold vs Freehold – What’s the difference? – YouConvey – The UK’s first collaborative conveyancing service (you-convey.co.uk)
Don’t be afraid to try and strike a bargain
Housebuilders will set prices, however that doesn’t mean there’s no wiggle room. You’ll be paying a premium for the property being brand new, but you want to make sure that you’re not paying over the odds, and there’s a couple of things you can do to ensure this. Firstly, compare the price of the property to similar ones in the area of a similar size. If you know your postcode you can check Land Registry for sold prices of similar new builds in the area, which will give you the confidence to work out whether your house has a fair price tag.
Timing is also key when trying to strike a bargain on your new build. At year end is the point when builders will be under pressure to meet their sale targets, so you can check Companies House to find out when exactly this is and use your best haggling skills around this time, it’s worth a shot! Likewise, if there’s only a couple of properties left to sell, the builder will be keen to move onto their next project, so you may be able to help them by taking the house of their hands at a bargain price.
So with all of that information under your belt, we hope you can make an informed decision whilst on your house hunt, whether it’s a sparkling new build you decide to go for or an older property full of charm.
If you’d like any advice on buying your new home, our friendly team are always happy to help – Contact Us – YouConvey – The UK’s first collaborative conveyancing service (you-convey.co.uk)