First-time buyer mortgages



Top tips for buying a new-build property

October 28, 2021
Information published was correct at the time of writing

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Newly built properties cater for all buyers and all budgets, offering the ideal solution for first-time buyers and families as well as for anyone looking to upsize or downsize, but buying new is not without its pitfalls. Before making an offer on a new home, you should be absolutely sure that it’s the one. But with so many options out there, how do you find your perfect match? You must feel comfortable you have all the information you need about that particular property. Asking as many questions as possible is important to avoid any surprises or extra costs that may arise. If you’re looking at new-build developments, make sure you get answers to these questions before you move in.

WHAT’S THE PRICE-PER-SQUARE-FOOT?
You’ll know the asking price of the property you’re viewing but if you want to easily compare the value to other properties, it will help to know the price- per-square-foot too. Price-per-square-foot helps you understand the value of the property relative to the size, but doesn’t take into account the value of factors such as location and premium features.

WHAT’S THE BEST DEAL ON OFFER?
There might not be much room for negotiation on the price of a newly built property, but often developers can offer other purchasing incentives. They might offer to pay your Stamp Duty Land Tax, or your estate agent fees or conveyancing fees. They might offer a cash incentive or top up your deposit.

WHAT WARRANTIES ARE INCLUDED?
Your newly built home should come with a ten-year warranty that covers structural issues arising in the ten years after you buy it. This also includes a two-year guarantee for fixtures and fittings. Ask the homebuilder to confirm that this warranty is included. If your new home comes with white goods included, such as a fridge, freezer and washing machine, find out the warranty details for these and what period they are covered for.

CAN I VISIT A FINISHED DEVELOPMENT?
If you’re considering buying a home in the early stage of construction, you’ll only see the finished condition once your sale is complete. So that you can assess the quality of construction, you should arrange to see a development built by the same homebuilder.

WHAT IS THE NEIGHBOURHOOD LIKE?
Unless you already live locally, you probably don’t know much about the amenities close by. Newly built developments are often located in up-and-coming areas, rather than established areas, so it’s worth checking how far you’ll need to travel for schools, health services, shops and restaurants, etc. Bear in mind that these amenities often appear after the development is finished, so you might need to look at future plans to see what’s coming soon.

HOW MUCH WILL THE BILLS COST?
Utility bills are often cheaper for newly built properties than for older homes of a similar size, because new builds are more energy efficient. Still, it’s important to know how much your monthly costs will be. Find out from the local council how much council tax will be and ask your homebuilder how much they’ve estimated that electricity, gas and water will cost. You can also check which phone and broadband providers cover the area and how much their packages are.

CAN I GET ADVICE?
Homebuilders often have a network of specialists they can connect you with, including sales advisors to help you decide which unit is best for you and conveyancers to help you navigate the sales process, often at a special rate.

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