Posted in: Buying Guide, 2nd December, 2019

Buying a New Build Home

Finding the perfect home can be very exciting and can also come with its own unique challenges.

Selecting the perfect location and choosing the right property for you and your family is a big decision and if you are thinking about buying a new build home, it’s not always obvious where to start and what steps you need to take.

So, to provide a little helping hand, we’ve put together a checklist for buying a new build home.

1 – Do your research

Buyers often know the town or community they want to live in, but it’s worth looking around the area especially if you are considering buying a new build home. Making the most of the benefits of a new development could make that next town over even more attractive than previously thought.

Once you’ve narrowed down the area for your new build home, search online and put together a list of local developments. Housebuilders’ brochures should provide a wealth of information about the development, the specific properties they offer, and the local area – in fact a good brochure can actually be a handy introduction to a new place. It’s also worth checking out the developers themselves, ensure they have a good reputation and track record.

At Russell Homes, for example, we have been building beautiful homes in great locations across the North for almost 20 years. We pride ourselves on our customer care, both before and after the sale, aiming to provide you with a stress-free journey from start to finish.

2 – Ask all the right questions

When you have selected your developer and development, make sure to ask the right questions to ensure everything is as you expect it to be, especially if you are looking to buy off-plan.

  • Know what you are buying – make sure you know exactly where on the development your house will be, known at this stage as the Plot. Make sure you know which way it will be facing, how many parking spaces, the size and orientation of the garden, and what else will be built around it.
  • Find out what is included in the price, and ask if it is leasehold or freehold (all Russell Homes developments are now freehold). Ask what is included as standard and what extras you may be able to purchase. It’s worth noting Russell Homes offers a higher specification as standard than many other housebuilders.
  • Ask what the construction schedule is, find out the key dates in the housebuilder’s programme. When will you be allowed access to the property? Are you able to visit prior to completion in order to measure up for furniture and curtains? And, of course make sure you know that all-important handover date.

3 – Arrange your mortgage

Once you have all this information, you’ll be able to start organising a mortgage. Knowing the construction schedule will be important because you must make sure the mortgage company knows when your home will be ready and that the mortgage offer will extend to the handover date and not expire before the house is even built.

With ever more options in the current mortgage market, it may be worth speaking to a mortgage advisor to make sure you are getting the best deal and have considered all of your options. As we’ve been around for a while, we know some of the best in the business and we can put you in touch with local new build mortgage specialists on request.

4 – Reserve your property

Once your finances are in order, you can go ahead and reserve your property with the developer. The developer will charge a reservation fee.

Once this fee is paid, you should receive a written document outlining a number of details including the fee, the property, any service charges, when the reservation agreement ends, and any terms and conditions - such as what happens should the sale fall through.

I,f for whatever reason, the sale falters after this point, the developer may well keep the reservation fee, which is why it is important to organise your mortgage in principle in advance of reserving the property. However, once the sale has completed, the developer will deduct the reservation fee from the final price.

Next steps:

Once you have reserved your new home, appoint a conveyancing solicitor who will advise you through to the exchange of contracts and eventually completing the purchase of your new build home. During this time, you will also need to secure your mortgage and pay a deposit for the property.

Once again Russell Homes can provide recommendation for solicitors who are specialists in new build homes in order to make the process as easy and hassle free as possible.

Between the exchange and completion, you should also walk around your new build home and make a snagging list, a record of minor issues which may need fixing by the developer ahead of the completion.

Then it’s just a matter of looking forward to completion day and getting that new set of keys in your hand. Good luck!