Here’s all you need to know about buying a new-build, including how new-build mortgages work, as well as all the pros and cons.
What is a ‘new build’ property?
As the name suggests, a ‘new-build’ home is simply a property that has been built recently and, as the buyer, you’ll be its very first owner. There are a range of benefits that come with buying a new-build, not least the fact that you can usually select the fixtures and fittings to suit your tastes, and they’re less likely to need the same amount of maintenance or repairs as an older property.
You may also have the option to buy ‘off-plan’, which means you buy the property before it has actually been built. This may sound risky, and you should always do your research on the developer before committing, but there are many benefits to buying off-plan, not least the fact that your new home could be worth significantly more than what you paid for it by the time you move in.
The process of buying a new-build
If you do buy off-plan, you may have to pay a reservation fee - which can be anything up to £1,000 - before appointing a conveyancer to deal with the legal side of the house move.
You’ll then need to arrange a mortgage, which your lender will base on a surveyor's valuation of the plans and development specification, before completing the paperwork, putting down your deposit and exchanging the contracts.
You'll be given two completion dates: the first, known as the 'short stop', is when the developer expects to have finished the building. The second, known as the 'long stop', is when they have to have completed building by. In the weeks leading up to the completion date, you should carry out a snagging survey, to check for any defects or work that either hasn’t been done, or hasn’t been done satisfactorily.
If you find you’re being encouraged to move in before the houses are finished, make sure you’re not pressured into doing so, else you could find the jobs on that snagging list are never completed - once you’re in, you’ll find you quickly slip down the construction company’s list of priorities.