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Top tips for buying a new-build home

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There’s a lot to be said for setting your sights on a brand new house. Energy efficient, designed for modern living, rooms fitted out to your specification; a new-build certainly has its advantages.

Here are our top tips for making this move as smooth as those freshly plastered walls.

Look at the financial support that’s out there

The Government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme is a good starting place. Variations apply in different parts of the UK, but the basic premise is a loan of up to 20% of the value of the new-build, free for the first five years. The rest of the purchase price is usually then funded by a minimum deposit of 5% (so it’s really handy for people who can only raise that much) and a mortgage.

And this year will see the first homes being built under the Government’s Starter Homes initiative. If you’re aged between 23 and 40, and a first-time buyer of a new-build house valued at up to £250,000 (or £450,000 in London), you may be able to buy your new home for 20% less than its market value.

Go into this with your eyes open

It’s easy to be wowed by a brochure, an incentive offer, and a good salesperson. But make sure that this is the house, the area, and the developer for you.

Scrutinise the plans. Ask questions. Get to know the site, the amenities and the transport links. And look into the people and the company behind the development; do they have a good reputation?

Think about part exchange

If you already own your own house, you may be able to offer it in part exchange for a new-build. It can be a really easy option where you’d rather avoid having to go through the process of marketing it for sale.

As with any part exchange, the risk is that you end up with less than you otherwise might. Whether you get a good deal or not will come down to your bargaining position, and your negotiating skills. Preparation and research will be vital. Get a realistic idea of what the house you’re selling is really worth, and set yourself a bottom line.

Strike the right deal

A purchase price is never set in stone. And in the case of a new-build there is sometimes a better deal to be done, whether that means paying less money for the property or the developer agreeing to provide a little more – better flooring, for example.  Don’t be afraid to ask.

Agree terms that protect you

A good conveyancing lawyer will make sure that the right checks are put in place and that the paperwork contains everything you need it to.

There are extra things to consider when you’re buying a new-build, not least getting certain warranties in place. And one of the important provisions is a ‘long stop’ completion date. This will really focus minds on the job because if the work isn’t finished on time, you might have to be paid compensation.

Keep an eye on quality

Although your home is being built and fitted to an agreed specification, that doesn’t guarantee that everything will be as you expect it to be. So it pays to keep tabs on the work as it’s progressing.

You should check everything thoroughly before you move in. Better still, commission a professional snagging survey. This will identify any defects – including ones you haven’t spotted - and the developer should then arrange for these to be put right.

In summary

Whether it’s your first home or your next rung on the property ladder, a new-build is a new start. We’ll make sure it’s a great start.

At Bird & Co, our conveyancing solicitors are property experts. We have years of experience in helping clients buy their new-build home, with customer service at the heart of what we do.  If you are considering a new-build, you need the experts at your side. Get in touch with us today on 01636 600 656.

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