Questions to Ask When Buying a New Build

In this guide you can find some helpful advice on the key questions to ask when buying a new build property – in order to make sure you get the home you deserve without the hassle.

Is the property leasehold or freehold?

Most of the time, if you’re looking at buying an apartment or a flat, it will be a leasehold, and if you’re looking at a house it will be a freehold. The difference being that leaseholds have a specified amount of time you will own the property and freeholds mean there is no limit and the property and land are entirely yours.

Are there any restrictive covenants?

Restrictive covenants just means anything in the contract that limits or forbids any changes or modifications you make to the property, whether it be structural or cosmetic. Finding this out will ensure any modifications you make to the property won’t get you into any hot water.

What are the additional costs?

It is tempting to believe that once you have bought your new build property then you are financially free. However, this is not always the case, and even more so when it comes to leaseholds as there can be costs such as ground rent or service charges.

Can I use my own solicitor/conveyancer?

Sometimes the developers will recommend their own solicitor/conveyancer and convenience may be persuasive, but it’s important to do your own shopping around as not only will impartiality be invaluable, but you may just find that impartiality can be better value.

Is the developer open to offers?

It is a common assumption that new build property prices are fixed and you must pay the asking price, but remember it is just an asking price. Some reasonable offers and negotiations could save you some money.

What do I get with my new build property?

This question may seem a little silly, but getting a full list of all the features and items included could save you some trouble, especially after having viewed a show home, for example, it may be tempting to assume that certain white goods or appliances will be included. This is something you can also often negotiate with the developer about – for instance you might be able to get upgraded furnishings as part of the sale. 

You should also receive confirmation of who carried out Building Control and also details of your New Home Warranty. Be careful to read and understand the cover provided for your new home and who is responsible for what and when, there will usually be different sections of cover which will be in place for ten years following completion.

Are there any plans to extend the development?

Remember that it’s not just the house you’ll be living in but the area as well. What may be a view over lush green meadows now might be a view over a neighbour’s front yard in five year’s time. So, ask the developers if they have any plans for any more developments in the area.

What other projects have you worked on?

You will get much better sleep in your new home if you could physically see another project your developers have worked on, and better still would be getting the chance to talk to a homeowner if possible!

What’s the completion date?

With most mortgages lasting six months after approval, it leaves a relatively short window for the property to be completed, and if it isn’t completed in this timeframe then your mortgage could potentially run out. So make sure you get a long stop completion date off the developers in writing.

Additional advice

Unfortunately, problems and issues can occur with new build properties once you’ve bought them – and knowing the right people to contact to resolve these problems can be a huge help. Here at Defect Assist we can offer guidance, support, services, and even advice on what questions to ask should you encounter any issues in identifying or resolving the issues you find. 

Learn more about how we can assist you here

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