Free 12-step guide available for publication in British press
Buying a home is perhaps the most important purchase you will ever make, so it’s not surprising many opt for the apparent advantages of a new build.
Those choosing new-build homes, lured by the low running costs and high specifications, may believe they have chosen the safe option. But recent research shows there is a high chance they will move into a home riddled with defects, or ‘snags’, costing them a lot to put right.
New Build Buyer’s Guide
1. Check how well the site is managed. Ask whether the Site Manager has won any industry awards and speak to the people who have already moved in to get a feel for the quality of the workmanship and customer care.
2. Check that the house has a warranty from Zurich, the NHBC or Premier. However, these do not guarantee that your home will be free from defects and are primarily insurance schemes for the developer not the home owner.
3. Check if there is an affordable housing provision on the site. If there is, find out whether these homes will be managed by a housing association. Although this is unlikely to cause problems the developer may try to hide this from you, which affects your ability to make an informed decision about your purchase.
4. Measure your property including ceiling height to determine whether your furniture will fit. Pay particular attention to the stairs and don’t forget the garage, these are often designed for “average” cars.
5. Check the site and house plans carefully, especially if you are buying off-plan. Remember that the marketing material may use artist impressions and should not be regarded as accurate. If you feel your property has been misdescribed, contact your local Trading Standards Office, who may prosecute the developer under the Property Misdescription Act 1991.
6. Make sure you negotiate. The developer is unlikely to reduce the price, but flooring, landscaping, fencing and curtains are all up for grabs. Try not to appear too keen, if you want to get the best deals.
7. Extra care is required at the end of the developer’s financial year, as targets have to be met and corners may be cut to meet them. You could be moved you into a property that is not complete with significant remedial work required. However, developers may offer generous incentives at this time of year to meet their targets, especially if they have unsold homes which are build-complete or nearing completion.
8. Instruct a conveyancing solicitor with a track record of negotiating retentions and delaying completion due to defects and snags. The developer may recommend a solicitor to “speed things up”, but there may be a hidden agenda.
9. If you need to be in your new property by a particular date ask your solicitor about getting the completion date written into the contract.
10. Get your house professionally inspected by a professional snagging company, such as New Build Inspections Ltd (www.newbuildinspections.com), before legal completion, so that the developer will have time to address the defects and snags identified before you move in. If you cannot afford this and you plan to do it yourself, use one of the Snagging Checklists available on the Internet (www.snagging.org has one for £14.99).
11. If you have an NHBC warranty re-inspect your house every six-months during the first two years and notify your developer in writing of any faults you discover. The developer is obliged to fix them, if they don’t the NHBC will. However, faults caused by normal shrinkage and drying out are not currently covered by this warranty.
12. Don’t skimp on your insurance. Get a home and contents policy which includes legal protection which will be useful if you need to take the developer to court.
Notes to editors:
The New Build Buyer’s Guide is provided by New Build Inspections for free publication in full by British press. The reference to New Build Inspection in paragraph 10 may be deleted if elsewhere the source of the guide is acknowledged as “New Build Inspections, www.newbuildinspections.com”.
For more information contact:
Director and Founder
New Build Inspections Ltd
0845 22 66 486
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