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  • Gareth Bale

Looking to buy a new build home

New build homes are a great option for first time buyers, a growing family or downsizing in later years. G Williams has written an article on some of the common pitfalls and tips to avoid them.

When looking into buying a new build property many people like the fact that they will be the first to live in the property. Often Repairs and redecoration costs should be minimal. Added to this If the property is built to the correct standard, homeowners can enjoy lower running costs and energy bills.

Although you are spending thousands the after sales care can vary. It is worth doing research on the developer online using review sites and forums. Another trick, if the development is partially completed other home owners already leaving there.

Much like buying a new car, a new build house will depreciate in price the minute you turn the key in the door. You may not get your money back if you have to sell within a year or two. Therefore it's worth considering if buying the property fits with your personal plans for the next few years. Could your new partner move in? Could you comfortably fit a new baby in?

Always Negotiate with the developers. Using online sites such as: Zoopla and Rightmove, Find out what other properties on the development have been sold for on Zoopla or Rightmove. There can often be deals to be done at the end of their financial year, or when there are only a few properties left to be sold.

Many developers offer incentives to differentiate them from other local developers, such as free furnishings, a car parking space, or by paying your legal fees or stamp duty. If you can’t negotiate money off the price, the offer to pay your stamp duty is probably the best freebie to take up as it will probably save you the most money, but be aware that any incentives offered by the developer over about 5% will impact on how much your lender is willing to hand out.

Whether your new build home is freehold or leasehold is fundamental. Leasehold means that you have a lease from the freeholder to use the home for a number of years. The leases for new build are usually long term – often 90 years or 120 years and as high as 999 years.

There are often certain conditions attached to a leasehold property. Restrictions can include obtaining your freeholder’s consent for alterations to the property, sub-letting and owning pets. Some can be reasonable and sensible especially if you are buying a flat. Leaseholders are responsible for paying for maintenance and buildings insurance, and usually also have to pay an annual ground rent, as well as fees to the freeholder, such as when you remortgage or wish to do building works. Although ground rent may be nominal, it can escalate quickly (doubling every 10 years) and make your home unsaleable.

If you are buying a new build flat you will have no choice but to buy it on a leasehold basis. You need to ask the developer and your conveyancing solicitor to walk you through the terms of the lease, what restrictions are included and what charges apply now and in future years.

There is a campaign at at the moment to ban leasehold. So watch this space.

Always check the workman ship of the property itself and check the specifications. Often the show home will be the top specifications on offer. Developers offer a "snagging period" therefore it is worth make a note in you diary of when that period ends.

when it comes to your white goods – such as cookers, dishwashers, fridge freezers, hobs and washing machines and dryers – you have specified in your new home, you should ask the developer to hand over guarantees to you on completion. You’ll want to have this stipulated in the contract.

NHBC and similar guarantees are supposed to give peace of mind for the first 10 years after construction of the property. The policy attaches to the property, so that it benefits successive owners during the 10 year period. You should be aware however that the NHBC is an insurer and the guarantees are in reality insurance policies. If you make a claim, NHBC may use the small print to avoid paying for or carrying out remedial work.

Moving into a new build? Feel free to contact G Williams for a free no obligation quote.

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