Q. I am considering buying a ‘New Build’ home off plan but do not have much experience in this field, previously I have only ever dabbled in the re-sale market, can you give me some basic information to ensure I don’t make any huge mistakes?
A. While buying a new-build may seem appealing as the property will meet the latest building codes and satisfy high energy-efficiency standards, purchasing a brand-new home comes with its own raft of issues, such as dealing with developers, buying-off-plan, and problems with ‘snagging’. At the outset it’s worth making sure you know and understand all of the developers operating locally to you, carry out some research to compare the best value deals available on new-build properties in your area, it is also imperative to ensure the location is as good as it can be. Think about transport links, parking, and the distance to nearby facilities, visit the site regularly so you get a feel for the location, and don’t rely on the images provided by the developer, show homes can be extremely enticing and are meant to sugar coat the purchase to the highest degree. When considering a new-build, make sure you check the price with that of a second-hand home, as new-builds are generally heavily over-priced and usually for much less sq. footage than its second hand comparable. In some cases, buyers could find themselves paying a premium of as much as 25%, new property is only ‘new’ for a brief period of time, It’s always worth comparing similar ‘old’ properties in terms of value, space, rental value and so on to ensure you’re going into the purchase with your eyes fully open. Negotiating with developers too is always worth a shot particularly when they are coming to the end of their financial year. Crucially, the very best deals are likely to be had at the beginning – or right at the end – of a development build. Bargains can often be found by looking to purchase one of the last few units when the developer is finishing off and keen to move to the next project, the best way to improve your chances of striking a deal is by having both a deposit and mortgage agreement in principle in place. Developers often offer incentives such as a payment towards the stamp duty or legal fees, but getting cash reduction, such as a £10,000 discount, will make the biggest difference. If you can’t get the price down, you may want to try your luck at getting fixtures and fittings and other freebies added instead. These extras will be worth more to you than the developer; these include flooring, turf, white goods and tiling. Snagging is an important part of buying a new-build property. This involves inspecting the property with a fine-tooth comb and checking for anything from chipped tiles to faulty electrics or faulty plumbing, so that minor work can be remedied. Most large developers will fix anything you spot before you move in, though sometimes faults only arise once you move in and begin using the plumbing and heating. Faults are often fixed quickly while a developer is still on site but, once they have finished, problems can take longer to get solved so bear that in mind when considering which stage of a development to buy at.