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What should I be aware of when buying a new-build property?

  • Buying a new-build home can be a complex process, but your solicitor will make sure things run smoothly.
  • You’ll need to be aware of what additional costs you’ll have when buying a new-build home.
  • Ensure your mortgage company is kept up to date should there be delays to the build.

Buying or selling a home is an exciting but often complex process. There’s a lot of legal work to be done that must be completed by a professional.

Sometimes buyers put down a deposit on a new-build home after only viewing a show home or floor plan, which is why it’s important to instruct a property solicitor who will make sure the process runs smoothly and there are no errors.

Why does my new-build home need to be NHBC registered?

Builders and developers should be registered with the National House Builders Council (NHBC), or the property should have the benefit of a building guarantee under a scheme that complies with the Council of Mortgage Lenders requirements. These schemes provide buyers with protection if structural defects arise.

To sell homes with NHBC Buildmark cover, all registered builders must comply with the NHBC Standards which set out the technical requirements for design, materials and workmanship in new home construction.

What is a service charge?

A service charge is where you must pay costs to maintain communal areas such as gardens, stairways or lifts.

Service charges have the potential to be costly over time, particularly if the legal documentation is not drawn up properly by the builders’ solicitors. Legal advice is crucial in getting things right from the outset. Your solicitor will seek to amend the documentation to protect your interests.

What if I change my mind and want to pull out of the transaction?

This will be determined by general legal principles and how the sale and purchase contract is drafted. Your solicitor will look to add provisions in case of delays with the new-build property, which can give you the ability to withdraw from the transaction. 

Once contracts are exchanged, your purchase becomes legally binding. You cannot pull out of the transaction or change the amount you are going to pay for it. If you do, there are serious implications, and you also run the risk of losing your deposit.  

What if there are delays with the build of the property?

Mortgage offers usually have time limits, and delays inevitably arise when buying a house. So if completion drags on and you have arranged finance early on you could lose your initial mortgage offer or it may end up being on different terms. 

You should keep your mortgage company and your solicitor updated with what stage of completion you are at when buying a new-build house.

Will fixtures and fittings be included?

Check and double check what is included in the sale. Usually, a fixtures, fittings and contents form (FFC form) will be attached to the sale agreement. You must let your solicitor know if there is anything in the FCC form that is incorrect as this must be addressed before contracts are exchanged.

Some builders offer additional incentives to buyers, but these may be plot or house purchase price specific.

The show-house may be furnished with top quality items. However, the reality can be very different for other plots on the estate where items can be of poor quality, or even missing. Your solicitor will add contractual provisions to the sale agreement to ensure that items included in the sale are of a similar quality and standard. 

Our expert property lawyers can answer any queries you may have regarding the conveyancing process. If you’re looking to buy or sell a property, contact our team today or get a free conveyancing quote.


If you’re buying or selling a house, find out what you need to know during each stage of the process in the links below:

Stage One: Initial steps for buyers and sellers

Stage Two: Surveys and searches

Stage Four: Exchanging contracts and deposit

Stage Five: Completion

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