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What to Consider When Buying a New Build House

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Buying a new build house can be an attractive option for many. Having said this, it’s not always the best option. These properties do come with their disadvantages too. Here’s what to consider when buying a new build house.

What is a new build?

A new build is a property that’s just reached completion, is about to start or is part-way through the building process. These aren’t properties which have been renovated or refurbished. A new build is exactly what it sounds like: a property that’s been built from scratch.

You have a few options when buying a new build house. You can do this once the developer has finished or you can purchase it before – otherwise known as buying a house off-plan.

What is buying a house off-plan?

Off-plan buying is when you purchase a property before it’s been completed. The developer would have drawn up a series of plans and you’ll make the purchase from reviewing these.

Show homes

A show home is the flagship of the developer’s development. It will be fitted out with all the latest fixtures and fittings. This is intended to impress prospective buyers.

If you’re looking to purchase the show home itself, be aware this is the property used to attract buyers and show-off. Don’t assume it will be the property of your dreams. Treat it the same as any other new build property. Do your homework thoroughly before signing anything.

Advantages of buying a new build house

There are some clear advantages of buying a new build house. Here are some of the most noteworthy:

Fixed price purchase

You’re fixing a price to pay in the future, sometimes several years away. In the event the market rises, you could make an immediate profit on completion.

Take your pick

If you buy early, you get the pick of the bunch. You can select your view, fixtures and fittings, paint colours and could even have the place designed to your exact taste – all before you move in.

10 year guarantee

New properties come with the NHBC 10 year guarantee as standard.

Disadvantages of buying a new build house

It’s not all risk free. As with everything in the property market, there are some disadvantages to consider:

What’s the developer like?

Not every developer was created equal. Make sure you do your homework beforehand. Look at their previous work and ask for references.

Size matters

Developers want to maximise profits so will use every available inch of space. Your home could be smaller than a similar older style property. Also, new build properties are likely to be built close together to minimise space wastage. This will remove your ability to add value.

Poor sound proofing

New build properties don’t tend to be soundproofed as well as older properties.

Markets can fall too

We said earlier that markets could rise delivering you an immediate profit. This could work in the opposite way too. Markets can fall as well as rise!

Questions to ask when buying new build properties

If you’re thinking about buying a new build, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you mind not being able to add value to the property?
  • If you’re buying a new build flat, you may have to pay service charges and property management fees. How much extra will this cost? Who is responsible for maintenance?
  • When will the property be complete and available to move in?
  • Will you be living on a building site while the rest of the development is completed?
  • Are the developers planning further work in the property’s immediate area? Will this spoil its view/feel?
  • Is the developer open to negotiating on your property’s specification? Can you get the kitchen you want rather than the kitchen they’ve chosen?
  • Are there any defects? Does the new build require a snagging list?

What’s the wider area like?

When looking at a new build property, it can be easy to forget what the wider area is like. This is something worth researching. 

When buying a new build ensure you engage a good solicitor to keep things moving once ll has been agreed. We work with an approved panel of legal professionals to help with that. Tell us what you need and they will get in touch with you.

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