Are you hoping to buy a new build property? First of all, congratulations! But before you sign anything, have you worked your way through a checklist of requirements, to ensure you’re buying the right house, and for a good price?
Read on to find out what you really need to know when buying your first new build home …
Are you buying from a developer with a good reputation?
There are a number of new build developers in the UK. Most are very reliable, but it’s critical that you only invest in a home that’s been built by a developer with a good reputation. Check that they are registered with the National House Building Council, and ensure that the developers will be responsible for repairs if something goes wrong in the future. Read the small print: a faulty roof might be covered, but a broken oven is unlikely to be.
Is everything included in the asking price?
It’s also really important that you check what’s included in the asking price. Usually, when you buy a new property you’ll need to pay a little bit extra for the finishes you see in the show homes, such as plush carpets and expensive door handles.
Have you paid a reservation fee?
You’ll probably only need to pay a reservation fee if you’re buying a house before it’s been built (the fee is there to reserve your plot), but bear in mind that it will usually be deducted from the purchase price if you proceed all the way to completion. If you’re not sure why you’re being asked to pay a reservation fee, or don’t know the circumstances under which it will be refunded, be sure to find out.
Have you asked for a discount or other financial incentive?
Before you put an offer on a new build property, have you asked if there are any incentives available to help firm up your decision? For instance, some developers will pay your stamp duty for you, so be savvy enough to ask if they can make you an offer rather than assuming you have to pay for everything.
Have you considered using a Help to Buy scheme?
Similarly, have you considered giving yourself a financial leg-up by taking advantage of one of the government’s Help to Buy schemes? New houses are often available under shared ownership schemes, and you might find it easier to secure a Help to Buy equity loan by investing your money in a new home. It might be a good idea to see which new homes for sale are available, on the estate you’ve chosen, using a government scheme to help you secure it.
Do you have a firm date for move-in?
If the house of your dreams is already complete, you’ll probably have a move-in date. In this case, you can go ahead and book your moving van and ask your friends and family to help you! However, if you’re buying a new build before it’s complete, it’s likely to mean that the property is ‘on notice’. So, stay in close contact with the developers to find out when you can pick up your keys.
Have you completed a ‘snagging’ survey?
Snagging is where you detail any errors or defects in your property (such as door that doesn’t close quite properly, or a light fitting that doesn’t feel secure enough). Then, you have to report the problems to the developers so that they can put them right. You can hire a professional to do this, or you can do it yourself if you’re very thorough with your inspection. Here’s a helpful checklist from the National House Building Council to help you complete a snagging survey on your own.