6 Things to know BEFORE you buy a New Build home

We sold our house in 3 days, during a pandemic, and went into panic mode. Talk about moving quickly! We honestly had no idea we would go under offer so quickly, ergo, we panicked and kinda forgot some of the most important things when buying a new build home.

Whilst we had bought a new build property previously, there were somethings we didn’t need to think about before, and new things to consider since we were both buying and selling. So what is really important to know, when selling a property and buying a brand new property?

I have created an easy guide that would have really helped us when starting the process of buying a new build home. Some of these things you may not have considered, and others might be things to just bear in mind when looking at buying new.

This might seem like a witch hunt on new build properties, and it really isn’t. We bought a brand new property for our first home, and we have recently exchanged on our second. New Build homes offer modern properties which are ready to live in. Whilst they may lack the character of a Victorian or similar space of a older build, new build properties offer all the mod-cons a growing family or first home owner would need. Much like buying a new car, there is reassurance to be had when buying new, knowing that there’s nothing else more to be done, than make it your own.

Read : How to decorate a new build home to create a beautifully styled abode.

You’ll need to pay a Reservation Fee

Unlike any other property that you may put an offer on, a new build home usually requires a down payment / reservation fee to secure the plot. Yes, it makes my blood boil. And it can range from just £99 to as much as £2000. This is usually taken off the deposit you pay, but it is an upfront cost to bare in mind, and one that usually is only accepted by bank transfer – so no credit cards can cover it i’m afraid!

You’ll often be given Tight Deadlines

Developers are notorious for wanting a quick turn around when it comes to their properties being under offer, exchanged and of course completed – especially if the property is already built. This is something to consider, as most developers look for a period of just 28 days before exchange. For many, this comes and goes with little problems and developers tend to be flexible, especially if they are aware things are moving forward. But beware, they will certainly be on your case a heck of a lot more than a normal house sale / purchase.

They’ll push for you to use their services

And by services I mean solicitors and mortgage brokers that they recommend. This is mostly so they can earn some commission from referring you to these other companies and tend to be corporate, national providers. We made a mistake on our first property by using the recommend solicitors and brokers and have since ( whilst selling ) been missing key information and documentation that we should have received during our purchase. Don’t believe that you can not buy without using their recommend services, and stick by your guns if you would prefer to use local solicitors and brokers.

Additional extras are non-refundable

Most developers offer lots of additional extras to their properties, including light fittings, kitchen finish and much much more. This can vary hugely from developer, but all will need to know options and any additional extras before the roof is complete on your property.

Choosing your kitchen cupboards, surfaces and tiles choices are basic practice and shouldn’t cost you any extra, but this may not be viable if your property is already in its final stages.

Common additional extras include the following :
  • Spotlights ( instead of single light pendant )
  • Flooring package throughout the property
  • Shower fitting and screen over a bath
  • Up to ceiling tiling in the bathroom
  • Heated towel rails ( instead of a radiator )
  • Shaver sockets in the bathrooms
  • Upgrade on plug sockets finish

Any additional extras you do choose, will require upfront payment, and will often be non-refundable should you not proceed with your purchase. This is well worth noting, since its an additional outlay for some prior to exchange.

There maybe some covenants

If you’re looking at purchasing a new build which you plan to immediately alter, for example building a conservatory, extending the back or even building a garage, be weary of convenants on the property. Lots of developers include convenants on their properties for a period of 5-10 years. Once again this can depend on the developer, but it’s worth asking and considering, especially if you’d want to make any additions early on.

Other common covenants include satellite dishes being banned from the front of properties. Ask this when you visit the development and look at other already established properties on the site if you can, to see if they have satellite dishes.

It really is a blank canvas

Some people hate this and others love it, but new build properties are quiet literally a blank canvas. Aside from some upgrades, a new build home is one to make your own, but this shouldn’t be underestimated. Rear gardens often lack grass, every room tends to be white, and without little else, it can feel fairly stagnant. Know that whatever additional extras, or how keen you are, it will take time and funds to get the property looking and feeling like a home.

This is of course the same for any property, but it shouldn’t be underestimated how much time and work creating a green space and injecting some personality takes to a new build home.

With all this being said, and it possibly sounding a lot worse than it is, new build properties offer space, modern living and an opportunity to either step up or on to the property ladder. My biggest advice is to be open, honest and be prepared to do chasing when needed. All the whilst you are prepared to get going, it tends to work out fine. Developers just don’t like dawdlers.

Would you buy a new build property? Were there some things that you didn’t know when buying new? Get commenting in the section below.

What you need to know before buying a property #2

Can you tell we ourselves are looking at moving up the property ladder? For many, young people, the idea of buying a property is something of a cruel joke. And we are feeling it! 

You take a look at the house prices, have a look at your bank account, and think, sometimes rightly but often not, that home ownership is a dream that’ll never be realised!

However, it’s important to keep in mind that owning your own place isn’t some far-flung dream – it is possible, though it won’t be easy!

I have posted a many content on buying your first property, moving up the ladder, and everything you need to consider before taking the plunge either in your first, or next home.

Since there is sooo many aspects to consider, I thought I’d post a second edition, for everything else you need to consider when purchasing property. Catch up with the previous post here, and listen up for more considerations.

Your Budget Is the Biggest Thing

The actual property you’re looking at buying is important, sure, but it’s not as important as your budget. This is key! Before you begin looking at what’s available, take the time to figure out your finances and decide how much money you’re able to comfortably spend on your property. Note the key phrase there – comfortably spend! If you have to stretch your finances thin each month just to afford your mortgage payments, then your enjoyment of your home is going to be severely compromised. It’s all too tempting to think “oh, we can stretch our budget for THIS home,” but fair warning, this approach will only end in tears sooner or later.

It’s Not Something to be Rushed

You’ve spent a long time saving up the money for your deposit, why would you rush the home buying process now? Like most other things in life, you’ll be well served by showing an ounce of patience during your search. You’re going to be living with this decision for years to come; you want to make sure that you’re making the right decision! It’s all too easy to get excited by the prospect of owning your own home, but take your time, and only take the next steps along the home owning process once you’re sure you’ve found the right property for you.

There Are Needs, and There Are Wants

No house is going to have everything you’re looking for in a property. But there are some things that will be non-negotiable; these should be in your “needs” list. The other things, the aspects of a home that are desirable but non-essential should be in your “wants” list. Finding the property that’s right for you is not about finding a balance between these two lists; it’s about making sure that everyone one of your “needs” is there – in an ideal world, they’d have a few “wants” too. Of course, you’ll need to be a little bit strict with yourself. As much as you’d like to think otherwise, a walk-in closet is not an essential component of a home.

There Will be Compromises

As we said before, you’re not going to find a property that has everything. All of life is a compromise. You try to get what you want, and then when that doesn’t work out, you go to the next best thing. It’s the art of the compromise, and you’ll need to have this skill in abundance when it comes to looking for the right property.

But You Should Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

Having said that, don’t go overboard with the compromises. There’s no reason why you should “settle.” If you find that you’re not enthusiastic about a property, then pull the plug. Making too many compromises will only lead to buyer’s remorse, which, once you factor in the cost and the length of time you’ll be living with the problem, can be one of life’s biggest regrets. Understand what you’re buying, be happy about it, and you’ll avoid this issue.

The Neighbourhood Is Just As Important

You might be buying a house, but there’s a neighbourhood thrown into the mix for free with it, too. In many ways, the neighbourhood is just as important as the property! You want to feel safe and secure walking home, don’t want to be disturbed by loud traffic or neighbours, and want to have all the conveniences of modern life on your doorstep. Not much to ask, is it! Before putting an offer in on a house, it’s recommended that you spend a significant amount of time in the local area. You’ll get a feel for what life would be like if you lived there – and may avoid any nasty surprises further on down the line.

You’ll Need Other People

No-one buys a property on their own – or at least, they shouldn’t. They need experts to help them through the buying process. After all, it’s complicated, and there’s a lot that could go wrong! You’ll need help making sure the property has no major problems, completing the sales and purchase agreement, and moving into the house, among many other things. Given the time and money you’re investing in your future home, it’s wise to ensure you’re getting the best help possible – it’ll make the whole process much more straightforward.

Checking for Problems

And talking of major problems: don’t take them lightly! It’s easy to overlook an issue if you really love the house, but it’s like buying a footballer with a major injury – you know how good things could be, but the problem is too big to ignore, and it’s best to pull out of the deal before it’s too late. It’ll only end of costing you more money and adding some extra stress – and you’ve got more than enough of both to handle at the moment already.

It Can Be Stressful

We say “it can be stressful.” but what we really mean is: it IS stressful. Studies have shown the stress induced by moving home is comparable to that of a divorce or mourning. So you better prep yourself for some higher than normal blood pressure. This can be combated, in part, by giving yourself more time than you’d think to get the move completed.

The Art of Negotiation

Who pays full sticker price anymore? When it comes to buying property, take the asking price as just that – an asking price. They’ve likely inflated it somewhat anyway because they expect people to haggle the cost down slightly. Even if you’ve found your dream house, avoid panicking – it’s better to play it cool when it comes to negotiations.

The Bigger Picture

Finally, remember that you’re not just buying the house for today – it’s for years to come! I feel like this is the MOST important aspect. Always keep in mind the biggest picture, as it’ll help you to avoid buying a house that’s only good for your present circumstances, and instead buy a house that is suitable for your plans. Consider starting a family, the cost of children and the possible drop in income due to maternity and childcare.

Charlotte x