The UK government have targeted building 250,000 new home every year to keep up with the demand for new housing.
And with incentives available for first time buyers, retirement movers and home movers to buy a new build property, they are always worth investigating when looking at moving home.
Many new build properties only require 5% deposits, or are part of a shared ownership scheme to help with affordability. On some new build sites, developers will offer incentives such as taking your existing property in part-exchange, or offering to pay legal fees or stamp duty to encourage sales.
New build developments are popping up in towns, villages and on brownfield sites across the country. Depending on the point at which you are interested in purchasing, you can buy “off plan,” or further down the line once they are built.
You can often save money by getting in at an earlier point in the development, but remember, one of the disadvantages of new build is you may find yourself living next door to a building site until the development is finished.
And buying off plan means there’s nothing to see yet. What are you getting for your money? It’s worth enquiring about turf in the garden, white good, parking space etc.
If you’re buying a Leasehold property (click here to find out about leasehold) then you’ll need to find out any additional costs such as annual services charges, ground rent etc. and when they become payable from. It may be they are payable per calendar month (pcm).
Note; always check your tenure. You need not be in a flat in order for your property to be leasehold, there are development site on which terrace, semi-detached and detached property are leasehold and subject to certain restrictions.
New build property often comes with various benefits; depending on when you reserve your property you can choose some of the features (depending on the specification of the builder). This might include your own fixtures and fittings, colour scheme, flooring and so on. Don’t just rely on what it says in the brochure… check with the estate agent or developer.
New build property can experience some issues at the outset (of which more later) but generally speaking part of the benefit is finding a home that is going to be relatively low maintenance for a period of time.
If you’re buying from a new build development ensure your builder is part of a warranty scheme. NHBC’s Buildmark is the largest of these schemes but others include Premier Guarantee and LABC Warranty.
A warranty scheme will offer you protection if your builder goes bust after you’ve paid the deposit – very important given the fact this can amount to 30% of the property value.
It will also ensure the home has been built to agreed standards and provide a third party resolution service in the event of disagreements.
Just check the details of your warranty so if something does go wrong you have peace of mind for you and for your wallet!
For some the cost of running a house is an important tick on the checklist. Energy efficiency in homes is high on the agenda and new build homes have to adhere to strict standards. They are required to install insulation between stud walls, in ceiling voids in the roof space to reduce heat loss. New builds are cheaper to run and will reduce your household carbon footprint.
Who is managing the sale?
Sometimes the housebuilder will appoint an estate agent to manage enquiries and provide advice. Check if you are dealing with an agent, or directly with the house building
Research suggests that new builds are 32% smaller than homes built in the 1970’s. (link to research: https://www.metropix.com/blog/has-your-living-room-shrunk). New builds do offer detached options in addition to semi-detached and terraced, and often provide more in the way of bedrooms and bathrooms.
Are there local amenities
A number of new build developments are build on sites away from local amenities. Other have local amenities built into the development plan. It’s worth checking what is going to be nearby before committing… how far away are local schools, supermarkets, shopping, fuel, transport links (bus station, train station, motorway) etc.
Some lenders may restrict the mortgage available and/or the % you need for a deposit. It’s worth finding out before you go ahead and get too far down the line with your purchase (and sale if you are moving from your existing home to the new one). As with all mortgages, you must ensure you make all your repayments otherwise your home could be repossessed.
All housebuilders are required to build a proportion of affordable homes on each development. And many offer incentives specifically to first time buyers to encourage them to get on to the housing ladder such as support toward a deposit, or shared ownership initiatives. Check with your bank/mortgage broker before you commit.
Check out our handy new build checklist to make sure you know what to look out for.
Even when you move into your new build you may find some issues. Remember nobody has ever lived in your house so there may be some teething issues. It usually takes a period of about six months for the materials used to construct the home to dry out and there’s period of settling.
Occasionally you can get a condensation build up. Do not block air bricks or vents, so when possible leave windows or trickle-vents open and close doors when taking a bath or shower to avoid moisture spreading.
White streaks on internal and external walls could be indicative of salt deposits. You can simply wipe them away, however if the problem persists you will need to speak to your developer
Cracks in the walls
As the property fully dries and settles, you may some cracking to walls. These cracks aren’t usually structurally problematic. Leave them for a few months before trying to seal them and when redecorating, use good quality filler on any gaps.
If you think the cracks are more significant, report them to your developer as they may indicate structural movement.
Occasionally an error has been made and you find evidence of a leak; staining on walls or ceilings r even puddles in the kitchen. In such cases you must report this to your developer.
Keep an eye out for any scuffs, scratches or marks on walls, surfaces or appliances and make your developer aware so that they can be rectified.
Before you move in it is advisable to undertake a snagging survey. You can do this yourself, or you can get it done professionally.