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.
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.