New build homes

Buying a New Build Home – Pros and Con

A new build home is usually considered one that has been built in the past two years but has never been owned or lived in. Some lenders have different definitions of what qualifies as a new build home, often regarding how long ago it was built, so make sure to find out what your lender considers a new build. Buying a home that is brand new has benefits that older houses may not.

THE PROS

Affordable

New build houses can be more affordable than older houses. Only a 5% deposit is required for a new build property under a certain price threshold, meaning you are more likely to afford a bigger house for less money, thanks to the Help to Buy scheme.

Energy Efficient

Since new builds incorporate modern building methods, you will often find that they are built with insulation and energy-saving features in mind. This means energy bills will be lower and the house will be more environmentally friendly.

Made Just For You

If you buy off-plan (before the house is built) you can sometimes be given the choice of choosing fixtures and fittings, meaning your home can be built with you in mind.

Homebuilder Offers

Depending on which homebuilder you buy your new build off, they will sometimes have a variety of offers to help you out. These include armed forces discounts, part-exchange and some may even boost your deposit or cover your estate agent fees if moving home.

THE CONS

Quality

Some housebuilders have been accused of rushing or missing vital building work, meaning homeowners move into an incomplete property or one where they must create a snagging list, which describes everything in the house that needs fixing.

Hidden Costs

Always check the small print of your contract with your conveyancer or solicitor, as some new build houses are known to have clauses or covenants that say you have to pay a fee to alter your home or for maintenance of a shared area of the estate, such as a green or pathway. Some of these costs have been known to go up, so you should make sure you’re aware of all costs associated with your new build estate.

Leasehold

Some new builds have been sold as a leasehold property, meaning you don’t own the land your property is on and must pay rising ground rent to the freeholder. Propertymark has campaigned against this and the Government is looking to prevent new builds being sold as Leaseholds. Avoid any new build house that is sold a leasehold for now. If you’re buying in Scotland, this is not an issue, as leaseholds were abolished in 2004.

Find out more about Leaseholds and what we’re campaigning for here.

Unfinished

You may purchase an off-plan new build and find that it isn’t completed when the housebuilder said it would be, even though the mortgage is being repaid. If you’re one of the first people to buy a new build on a developing estate, you could also find yourself moving into a house that is surrounded by houses still being built.

TIPS AND USEFUL LINKS

  • Do your research; use Trustpilot and the Home Builders Federation to see what others think of your chosen house builder
  • Look at your chosen house builder’s website to see what offers they have
  • Ensure you have insurance such as the one offered from the National House Building Council to ensure any problems are covered
  • Always view the house or estate in person; make sure the building sites look professionally maintained and that the house you’re interested in suits your needs
  • Consider using a conveyancer or solicitor of your choice, not one that is recommended by the housebuilder, as they may not always have your best interest at heart
  • Always thoroughly read your contracts and query any parts you are unsure about.

 

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