It seems like one of the easiest ways of getting on the property ladder these days is to buy a new build. There seems to be developments popping up all over the shop and with a percentage of properties dedicated to the Help To Buy scheme, it encourages first time buyers to look at what they have to offer. If that’s the route you’d like to go down, here are a handful of tips for buying a new build.
Five tips for buying a new build property
Enquire about Help To Buy properties
The beauty of new builds is that you’re always going to get shared ownership and 5% deposit properties which is ideal for first time buyers. If you’re income is low or you’ve not got a huge amount of savings but you desperately want to get on the property ladder then it’s worth asking the estate agent whether there are any Help To Buy properties available.
Prepare yourself for a premium
You know when you buy a brand new car and its value depreciates as soon as you drive it out the showroom? Well a new house is like that. You’re essentially paying a premium for a ‘brand new’ property so just be aware that if you’re on a strict budget, you may get more bang for your buck elsewhere.
You can still negotiate
New builds aren’t cheap so don’t be scared to try and negotiate. I think it’s a bit of a myth that you can’t be flexible with your offers on a new build although, we had zero room to negotiate as so many other people were interested in our property. Just make sure you do your research beforehand and budget for the asking price just in case.
If the property you’re looking for sells, ask if they will replicate the plot
With our development, they built it in stages which meant if the property you were originally looking at suddenly sells, you have the opportunity to buy the same property off plan in another location. We were originally going to do this so we had more time to save but in the end, we just went in all guns blazing!
If you buy before it’s built, you can have a say in the fixtures and fittings
We bought our house a few months after it had already been built so unfortunately we didn’t get the opportunity to have a say in any of this but I believe if you buy a property off plan or before its built, you can choose some of your fixtures and fittings. This can include kitchen worktops, cupboards, tiles, door handles, taps, etc. but it depends on your developer so don’t just assume, you’ll need to ask! It’s a great way of being able to tailor your home to your taste before you’ve even moved in and for no additional cost (although this could change).
Write every single snag down
With new builds, you get a year from when it was built to report snags to the developer which they will come and fix free of charge. Once you know you’re serious about buying it, you’ll need to jot down any snags you see, no matter how big or small. Whether it’s a door that’s fitted wonky, patchy paintwork or the garden gate doesn’t shut properly, the developer will have to fix it. We had a few major snags which had to be completed before we moved in (as agreed with our solicitor and the housing association) and then as it came up to the snag deadline, we sent off the list to the housing association so they could get the developer to come back and fix them.
Surveyors can also contribute to the snag list (and are the professionals let’s be honest) but it’s up to you if you want to hire an independent one or leave it to the solicitors.
Do you have any tips for buying a new build?