What to check before buying a new build property

new build plans

New build homes can bring comfort, but there can also be underlying issues for the unsuspecting buyer. Here is our guide on what to check before buying a new build property and what it means for you.

The price isn’t set in stone

When we buy a new build property there is a tendency to think that the price being advertised isn’t flexible. You would think about making a lower offer on any other home, so why not on a new build? Off plan doesn’t mean that you cannot negotiate. You can get a great deal if you negotiate hard, so don’t be afraid to ask the question – you never know what the answer may be.

Find out what is already included

Developers want you to buy from them so they can move on to the next one. As soon as a sales site is sold up, they can move their team away and start it all again. So, they can often include some pretty attractive extras, such as –

  • Paying any stamp duty due
  • Putting flooring in the property
  • Footing the bill for your solicitor
  • Fitting white goods for you

Always ask what is included. And to up your negotiation, it doesn’t always have to be about price Think about asking for some of the other things that will make your life easier in a new home.

Think outside of the show home

Show homes are there to do one thing and one thing only – make you buy. But the developer has spent a lot of money and use professional designers for this. They also may not exactly match the floor space that you are buying. Think about how you will make your own mark on the home that you will be buying. Get a good idea of where your plot will be and how different it could be to the pristine show home. Think about the noise and light levels in particular.

Ask if there is a warranty

Most new homes have a warranty that lasts for ten to fifteen years – but not all builders are signed up to these. Ask the developer if they have a warranty because you don’t want to foot the bill if a problem occurs after you move in. On top of this, a new build home without a warranty can be worth a whole lot less on the second-hand market if you decide to sell over the next few years. Protect yourself by buying a new home with a warranty.

Think about your finances

You may already have a mortgage offer on the table. All savvy buyers make this one of the first things they resolve. But your mortgage offer only last for a set period of time. Most are 90 days. If your circumstances change significantly in this time, then your existing offer might not be worth the paper its printed on. Don’t do anything rash like –

  • Take out more credit
  • Change jobs
  • Spend some of your deposit

If your financial situation alters then your lender will probably want to reassess your application. The result might not be the same second time round.

Get a fix on the time it will be ready

Builders re notorious for not finishing their work on time. If the developer tells you the property will be ready in 8 weeks, question them on how realistic that timescale is. You would rather know the truth than expect a home before Christmas and finally move in at Easter. There are always delays of one sort or another with a building project, but the more accurate the predicted date is, the better prepared you can be.

Ask how many more homes there are to be built

One of the issues with living on a new home development is the noise, muck and disruption that comes if they are still building around you. If the builder is nearly finished, then obviously the interruption to your life is much less then if you are the first to move in. Ask the builder how many months they have left on site and decide if this is something you can live with. If it’s a problem then look for a plot that is away from the rest of the build.

Don’t leave the snagging list hanging

When you move in, the builder may have a list of outstanding jobs left to complete – this is called the snagging list. Unless you keep on top of your contact, this can end up being left indefinitely. If some of the items are a real problem then don’t complete your mortgage and move in until they are resolved. This give the builder the ultimate incentive to get on with it. If they are small items and you move in, then stay in touch with the builder regularly to ensure they are not left behind.