5 Questions to Ask When Buying a New-Build

17 October 2018

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Leasehold, freehold, warranty, fixtures and fittings: it’s easy to get bogged down with all the things you need to think about when buying a new-build. We’ve simplified it all for you here.

So, it’s come to that time in your life where you’re thinking about buying a home. Either you’ve been on the property ladder for some time now or this is your very first foray into being a homeowner. Regardless of your experience in moving house, you’ll always have some burning questions! If a newly-built home is on the horizon for you, then this blog post might answer some of those questions. Today, we tackle some of the crucial factors in buying a new-build and what you should be thinking about if this is part of your plan. Here are the questions to ask:

Questions you should be asking when buying a new-build

1. Is the house being sold as freehold or leasehold?

Let’s get this boring but important one out of the way. If you haven’t done your research around freehold and leasehold, it can be easy to fall into the trap. A lot of new-builds in the past have been infamously sold as leasehold, although there are talks to introduce government legislation that prevents this. Developers should advertise whether their properties are freehold or leasehold and if they haven’t: ask. Don’t be tempted to rush into your ‘dream’ new-build property if you’ve not considered the (very expensive!) strings attached with a leasehold contract. Buying a freehold property should come as standard for most people, but unfortunately, homeowners are still getting caught out with ground rent and leases running out when they come to sell on. In short: do your research.

2. Is there enough space to suit your lifestyle – current and future?

It’s common knowledge that new build homes can be a lot smaller in size than older properties. Whilst this isn’t always the case – after all, a five-bed new build is always going to be bigger than a 2-bed Victorian property – it’s definitely worth thinking about. Will your new-build home allow your family to grow over the years? Are you planning on living there for the foreseeable future? Is there space for mundane everyday things like your vacuum cleaner and garden tools? We tend to focus on the exciting stuff when looking around a home: the colour of the walls, how you’ll decorate, how close to the local bars the place is… the list goes on.

But what we should be thinking about is the practical space we’ll be living in and if this can adjust to suit our changing lifestyles. If you’ve got pets, will they have enough room to run around? As your baby grows up, can they have their own bedroom? Will there be space for a sibling in the future? Prepare for all eventualities and your new-build home will grow and adapt with you!

3. What is included in the final purchase price?

What you are greeted with when you first walk through your new-build door can vary from developer to developer. It’s easy to get carried away by the look and feel of a showhome – bear in mind that this isn’t often how your home will be finished. It’s rare that houses are furnished and some are simply decorated in plain, neutral colours. Make sure you ask the developer about the fixtures, fittings and furnishings that are guaranteed to come with your final purchase price. If you think the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Floorings, countertops, white appliances – all these things we can take for granted but will definitely save us time and money if we get them sorted early on.

4. Do you know which local amenities and transport links are nearby?

If you’re buying a new-build property, chances are your development wasn’t there a few years ago (or less). This might mean that you’re unfamiliar with the immediate surrounding area, even if you’ve grown up in that same town. Do some research, ask around, find out what you can expect from daily life living in your new-build. Where’s the nearest bus stop? Which food places deliver to your postcode? What are the nearby schools like? All of the answers to these questions will impact your daily routine so it’s definitely worth asking. That way, you can begin to build up a picture of your potential new life in this home.

5. Which warranties come as standard with the purchase of your new-build?

Perhaps another question that everyone takes for granted! Nowadays, most new-build properties come with the NHBC 10 Year warranty. But do you know what this really means? Make sure you’ve read the small print on your property warranty. Just because its approved by a regulated body doesn’t mean they won’t try to swindle you. It’s also worth asking about snagging when you move into your new-build. Technically, the development should be obligated to correct any snags that often occur when moving into a newly built house – but they won’t always do this. Make it very clear from the get-go that you wish to know the rules around snagging and you won’t settle from anything less. If it helps, ask for the promise in writing. It always pays to be over-prepared and over-cautious when it comes to potential issues.

For more advice and information on moving into a new-build home, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Also, don’t forget to take a look at the new-builds on our website and see if any take your fancy – you might just find your dream home!

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