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While builders are quick to point out the benefits of buying a new build property, are there any drawbacks? Head of Residential Conveyancing, Karen James, looks at both sides of the argument.
Buying a new home can be very tempting. Everything is new and unused and the show home always looks amazing. But is the extra cost of a brand new house really worth it? Before you take the plunge, think about the following points:
Ease of moving in
With a new build, you won’t have any major work to do after you’ve moved in, you’ll just need to put the finishing touches to your home such as curtains and lampshades.
Choosing your own finishes
You will often be able to make lots of choices as the property is built, such as flooring, kitchen units, doors, positioning of sockets, bathroom suites and turfing of the garden.
Eco-efficiency and building regulations
New build homes must comply with strict energy efficiency and building regulations. This means lower energy bills and the knowledge that a home is compliant with the latest safety rules.
A new home typically comes with a 10-year NHBC warranty or similar, giving cover in the event of structural defects. Guarantees should also be provided for the windows and appliances.
New build premium
New build homes tend to be more expensive than similar older properties simply because everything is new. This could mean that if you sell up within the first couple of years you may struggle to recoup what you have paid.
What will it look like?
If you buy a property off plan you will probably be invited to view a similar home that has already been completed. You need to check measurements carefully and be sure you know what the finished property will look like. In particular, check room sizes. New builds often have smaller rooms than older properties and storage can be a problem.
The contract will require you to complete when the property is ready. Typically, the builder will give you 28 days’ notice. But you may be left waiting a long time; a study has shown that 40% of new properties weren’t ready by the original deadline.
This could be a problem if your mortgage application expires, or if you are in a chain which is impatient to move.
It is expected that when you move in, or just before, you will complete a snagging list of jobs that need to be attended to by the builder. Some builders are better than others at dealing with this. Asking around about your specific builder before you commit to buying will give you an idea of whether they are reliable.
Claiming under the NHBC warranty
It is not always easy to insist that a builder rectify a structural fault. They may send their own surveyor who might deny that there is a problem or suggest only a partial remedy. Again, try and gauge the reputation of your builder before you buy.
This may not be perfect to start with, for example broadband and television problems, post that isn’t received and roads which haven’t been finished.
If you’re thinking about buying a new build home, speak to one of our Conveyancing team who is familiar with the process. Contact us today to find out how we can help by calling 0808 1685 643, fill out an online enquiry form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch.