New Build Homes – Pointers to Help

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It is well-documented that house prices have increased and the recent end to the Stamp Duty Land Tax break has meant the property industry has been in overdrive over the past few months. There are still looking to take perhaps their first step into home-ownership. So, if you are thinking of buying a new build home, here are some questions and points you may want to ensure are covered before you take the plunge:

  • When you reserve your property, developers will often ask for a reservation fee. The amounts requested can vary and can be as much as £3,000.  You need to make sure therefore, that you have this money available when you wish to secure the property.
  • Are you being offered any incentives by the developer to purchase the property? For example, will the developer contribute to your legal fees, or any Stamp Duty Land Tax due? Will the developer include any fixtures and fittings for you?
  • What will be included in the sale of your home as standard? What white goods, if any, will be included? Will the back garden be landscaped?  Often, when you purchase a new build home, a developer will just leave you with a back garden that is a blank canvas.  If you are buying a flat, will you get a parking space/garage/storage area?
  • When you reserve your property, most developers ask that you exchange contracts within 28 days. Can you meet this deadline?  Have you already instructed a solicitor?  You will need to act promptly and complete your solicitor’s client care procedures and put them in funds for searches as soon as you can.
  • Are there any common areas, or shared facilities on the development? If so, has a Resident Management Company been set up to manage these, or does the responsibility fall to another property on the development? If the responsibility falls to another property, are suitable arrangements in place, to ensure that any maintenance required is actually carried out?
  • Will the Resident Management Company eventually be handed over to the residents? If so, is there any obligation on the developer to do this, and when?  Many developers will appoint a separate property management company to undertake the day-to-day running of the Resident Management Company for them.  If the Resident Management Company hasn’t been handed over to the residents and you don’t feel like you are receiving a good service from the developer-appointed management company, you might not be able to do anything about this until the Resident Management Company has been handed over to the residents.
  • If a service charge is payable, have you checked what is included/not included in the budget? Can you afford this?  How often will you have to make the payments?  How much service charge will be collected on completion?
  • What restrictions, if any, will affect your use of the property after you become the owner? There are often restrictions on:
    • the type of vehicles can be parked on the development (even on your own drive), for example, no vans, campervans, or boats.
    • what alterations you can make to the property. For example, are loft conversions, extensions, conservatories, or garden rooms permitted?
    • what you can use the property for? Some sites have restrictions prohibiting you from operating a business from your home.

    If you are buying a flat, there might be additional restrictions, for example, relating to pets, or lettings.  If you are hoping to make some money from your property, by for example, renting it out via Airbnb, you might not be able to.

  • Is the property ready to move into now, or is it due to be completed in the future?

If completion is in the future and you require a mortgage, will you have a valid mortgage offer when the developer requires you to complete it?  If you have a property to sell, do the timings in your sale contract tie up so that you are not at risk of being left homeless?  Do you have enough time between being served with a notice to complete and the actual completion date to, for example, pack up your belongings, book a removal company and draw down your mortgage finance?

  • What arrangements for snagging are there and what does the new home warranty cover? What guarantees and warranties will be handed over to you on the completion of your new home?

Our property team have the experience to handle your property requirements, whether they be domestic or commercial. For more information, give our Property team a call on 01903 229999 or email or fill in the form below.

Disclaimer: Please note that this update is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice. The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.