Thinking of buying a New Build? – Things to Consider

New Builds are a great option whether you are a first time buyer, a growing family, down or up sizing or just require a more low maintenance property.

Here are some of our top tips to buying a new build home and some of the common pitfalls:

The benefits

  • Many people like the fact that they will be the first to live in the property;
  • Repairs and redecoration costs should be minimal for the first few years;
  • You can often select fixtures and fittings to tailor the property or your own taste;
  • New properties usually come with guarantees and a 10 year build warranty; and
  • Lower running costs and energy bills.

The Pitfalls

Depending upon the developer, after sales care can vary.   You might expect a high level of service when you’re spending hundreds of thousands on a new build home.   Sadly, developers don’t compete on quality and after sales service. So, when you are looking at buying a new build home, it’s down to you to do your research.

  • Get to know the developers in the area where you want to buy and research them online.  Look out for where they are mentioned in the area on social media platforms or press links and see what people are saying.
  • If the development is already partially completed, ask the neighbours how they found the process of buying their new build home. You might pick up some top tips for negotiating and things to watch out for.
  • Visit the developer’s other sites. How do they look? Do the new residents speak highly of their homes, developer and after care service?
  • Get a feel for what you’re buying by visiting the site and the local area. Look at transport links, do your journey to work, walk to local facilities.
  • Don’t be pressured into using the developer’s conveyancing solicitor. It’s not uncommon for the developer’s solicitor and sales team to exert huge pressure on you to complete, even where there are clear conveyancing problems. If you have a good local independent conveyancing solicitor they are less likely to bend under pressure from the developer and act in your best interests.
  • Even in a rising property market, you may not get your money back when you buy a new build home if you have to sell within a year or two.
  • If you are not a cash buyer and you are getting a mortgage to buy your new build home, delays can also be a problem when it comes to your mortgage. Offer can expire before completion sometimes resulting in a change in interest rates, criteria and repayments.
  • Compare the new build home you are looking at with similar “old” properties in terms of value, space and rental value in the local area. Check the price per square foot. Compare it with the resale market so you understand the extent of the premium you will be paying.
  • Negotiate with the developers. Find out what other properties on the site have been sold for on Zoopla, Rightmove or at the Land Registry. There can often be deals to be done at the end of their financial year, or when there are only a few properties left to be sold.
  • Many developers offer incentives to differentiate them from other local developers: free furnishings, a car parking space, or by paying your legal fees or stamp duty. But be aware that incentives offered by the developer over about 5% can impact how much your mortgage provider will lend.

Delays are common, particularly if you are buying before the development has been completed (“off plan”).   We recommend you get the builder to agree a ‘long stop’ completion date which means they will be liable to pay you compensation if they don’t finish the work by that date.

Buying a new build?

If you are thinking of buying a new build get in touch with our friendly and experienced residential conveyancing team who will be happy to guide you through the process.


Amanda Alden