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Questions to Ask When Buying a New Build House

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Buying a new-build is different from purchasing an older home, mainly because you’ll deal with the developer directly. Therefore, you might have some questions before making an offer, just to understand everything. Here, we’re looking at some important questions to ask when buying a new-build house.

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1. Can I get a discount on a new build?

This is definitely one of the questions you would like to ask when you’re buying a new-build-house. As you’re negotiating with the developer directly, you might be able to get a discount on the home but this is not a guarantee. Certainly, help-to-buy mortgages are available for people looking for a new-build home. But it may be possible to lower the price further when making an offer, especially if you’re purchasing off-plan. Ultimately, it’s at the developer’s discretion.

2. Can I choose the fixtures and fittings?

New-build homes can often be customised, meaning you have the option of choosing various fittings and finishes. Again, what you can change comes down to the specific developer, and some allow for more customisations than others. It’s also good to remember that any upgrades come at an additional cost.

3. Who are the developers?

You should do your due diligence and see who the developer is before buying a new-build home. This will give you a better idea of previous homes they’ve built, and you can also visit other properties to look at the build quality and see if you like the style.

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4. Is there a warranty?

All new-build houses come with warranties under the NHBC 10-year guarantee, with developers guaranteeing the foundation and structure of the home. Fixtures and fittings are also usually guaranteed for a minimum of three years, but you’ll need to check with the developer for specifics around the length of the guarantee.

5. Is the property leasehold or freehold?

Houses usually have a freehold, while flats come with a leasehold. Therefore, the type of home you purchase will determine if it’s a leasehold or freehold. But don’t assume that it’s automatically a freehold even if you buy a house. This is where your solicitor comes in handy, as they will do the necessary checks to confirm if a property is under a leasehold or freehold.

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6) Is there a management company?

Many new-build flats have a management company tasked with the upkeep of communal areas, and there’s typically a charge for this, known as ‘services’ or the ‘service charge’. Some new-build apartment developments may also have concierge services and on-site amenities, such as gyms, swimming pools and resident rooms. Generally speaking, the more services on offer, the more expensive the service charges. 

7) Are there any hidden fees when buying a new build?

All of the costs associated with the home should be laid out clearly before committing to purchasing a new-build house, meaning there shouldn’t be any hidden charges. However, new-build homes can have extra costs not found with older properties. New homes, for example, tend to come at a premium compared to older houses of the same size in the neighbourhood. Other extra costs could include things like carpets, decor and, in some cases, grass. Additional costs vary depending on the developer. 

8) What is the council tax band?

Be sure to ask for the council tax band before moving into the property. Some new builds may not show up on the council tax checker until they’re registered, so make sure you have all the necessary details regarding the council tax band from the developer.

9) Is there a parking space?

Many new developments come with a parking space. Sometimes it’s included in the price; other times it’s an additional cost. Having a parking space will be important if you’re a driver, especially if the property is located in a development complex with plenty of housing on the site. 

10) What is the energy rating?

Most new-build homes are energy-efficient, meaning you can expect to pay lower gas and electricity bills. Still, you’ll want to know the energy rating before you move in to get a general idea of your monthly energy costs. 

11) When is the completion date?

It may be that the new home still hasn’t been constructed when you buy it. If this is the case, you’ll need to determine the completion date. Most new homes are ready shortly after the sale has gone through. Yet, it’s worth getting confirmation for the developer, especially as some new homes can be delayed from the initial date of completion. 

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Last Updated: September 25th, 2023

Phil Spencer

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