Buying a brand new home?February 15, 2018
Buying a brand new house comes with obvious advantages:
- Brand new properties are more likely to benefit from lower running costs and energy bills.
- When you turn your key for the first time, you will be the very first to occupy the property – it will be brand new to you!
- Any repairs and replacement of white goods, carpets and re decoration shouldn’t apply as everything in your new home will also be brand new.
- New Properties come with a form of New Build guarantee, for example NHBC cover
- You can take advantage of the government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme ( more detail on that below)
Buying a brand-new home is different to buying an established property. Here are a few things to watch out for:
Very often, you will be expected to buy off plan, especially in the early days of a new site. This means you won’t be able to look at the house you are buying, because it’s not yet been built.
Instead of viewing what you want to buy, you’re more likely to be shown a site plan which details the location of your chosen plot and a glossy brochure. It’s important not to rely on the information in the brochure or even an inspection of the onsite show home, even if it purports to be exactly the same as the one you are planning to buy! All of this information is ‘just for your information’ and you might find that the building materials and measurements vary from those detailed in the brochure.
Although you will have been told the price for the plot you are buying, this doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate on the price with the builder. If you can’t get the price down, try to get things which are not generally included, like carpets/light fittings/ turfing of the gardens included.
Before you make your decision to buy, think about how long you are likely to stay there. Buying a new home can be like buying a brand-new car. You pay a premium over and above its worth, which means, if you sold the house within say a year or two, you might find that you loose out.
If you want to make this a long-term home, think about whether it would suite your needs. For example, if your family were to increase in size, would the house be big enough.
Also consider whether you could add value to the house in the future. For example, could you add a conservatory or an additional bedroom?
If the builder has developed another site which is within reach of you, pay a visit to see what the finished product looks like and maybe ask a few residents there about their experience of dealing with this builder.
You need to be sure you are doing the right thing before formally ‘reserving’ the plot as you will be expected to pay a reservation fee to the builder and this may not be refundable if you decide not to go ahead with the purchase later on. It will however be deducted from the amount you pay to the builder through your conveyancer, on completion.
When you buy a newly constructed house from the developer, you will have the benefit of NHBC or similar. It is important to understand exactly what this is and its limitations. It is given to the first purchaser on completion, it lasts 10 years and is transferrable if you sell your home.
It is not a ‘guarantee’ for workmanship or quality. Instead, it is a insurance policy on which you have to make a claim if a serious defect arises. You will need to ensure you So make sure you’re happy at every stage of the build and your Solicitor should make sure there is a ‘snagging’ clause in the contract which forces the builder to rectify any small defects.
One useful benefit of having this cover is that during the first two years, if your property suffers defects which the developer refuses to put right, the HHBC will intervene. It would be a good idea to set a reminder for the two-year expiry date as you would need to put any claim in writing to both the builder and NHBC before this all important date expires.
Help to Buy equity loan scheme
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the benefits of the government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme designed for people buying brand new properties. It allows you to take advantage of an equity loan of up to 20% of the value of your new home which is interest free for 5 years. You can pay this back any time within that period or on the re sale of the house. Currently the scheme is available on new build homes up to a value of £600,000 in England, £300,000 in Wales and £200,000 in Scotland. The really good news is that it’s not limited to first time buyers, so existing home owners can also take advantage of the scheme.
One of the main attractions of Help to Buy equity loan is that you only need to find a 5% deposit, so no need to struggle to save a hefty deposit. You would then apply for a mortgage for the remaining 75% of the purchase price.
At Walker Foster, we have a team of conveyancers that fully understand the practical and legal aspects of buying a brand new home under construction. If you would like to talk to one of our new homes experts, you can get it touch at:
Jess is one of our new homes experts. She’s based at our Silsden office and can be contacted at: