Gaddes Noble’s Helpful Guide to Purchasing a New Build Property

Buying your ‘brand new’ home is an exciting time and comes with many benefits including choosing your own fixtures and fittings as well as shopping for contents, while not having to worry about repairs and redecoration. The conveyancing legal process can be daunting, especially if you are a first-time buyer and we are here to guide you through it ever step of the way.

Our New Build Property team at Gaddes Noble, are highly experienced in new build property law. We have the knowledge and expertise to simplify a complicated process, ensuring the legal work and processes are explained to you and dealt with efficiently.

The new build conveyancing process involves complex and numerous lengthy legal documents and agreements. Our lawyers are here to interpret those documents and explain them to you in easy to understand straight forward way, answering any questions you may have and raise any enquires with the builder on your behalf.

Your Guide to Purchasing a New Build Property

Buying a property ‘off-plan’. 

Buying a property “off plan” means you are committing to purchasing a property without actually seeing the finished property. You are therefore often only relying on having viewed the show home, looking at the specification and visiting the site.

It is therefore important when viewing the site that you ask as many questions you feel are important before committing to reserve your chosen property, such as whether floorings are included, whether the builder intends to turf the gardens and whether they have any incentives available should you agree to reserve a plot.

New build estates often have incentives, so there is no harm in asking what incentives are available, especially if you are also a first-time buyer.

What is a reservation fee? 

Is it is usual practice with new build properties that the builder will require a reservation fee before accepting your offer. The amount of reservation fee is usually between £500 and £2000 and is usually non-refundable, if you decide to pull out before exchange of contracts.

You will be asked to exchange contracts in a limited time period.

With most new build properties, the builder will usually expect you to exchange contracts within 28 days. Exchange of contracts, is a legal term which means that you are contractually bound to purchase the property once the property has been fully finished by the builder. However, unlike when buying a property which is not new, the builder does not usually give you a date for completion of the purchase, instead the builder’s solicitor will serve you with 14 days notice of his intention to complete the purchase. Giving you time to make arrangements to move into your new home.

Instruct a conveyancer as soon as possible.

As the time limits for exchange of contracts are 28 days, it is important that you instruct a conveyancer with experience in dealing with new build properties as soon as possible after reserving your home.

Completion and Keys

This is usually 10 days after the house has been finished and signed off by a building inspector. During this 10-day period, final inspections are made, and we always recommend that you attend at the property and prepare your own snagging list and check on any final points with the site agent or builder direct. This will give them time to remedy any issues before you move in.

Our Guide and the Steps We Take on your behalf:

As part of our conveyancing work with your new build home, we will:

  • Check the title and plans for the property you are buying, so you can be reassured all the legal technicalities are covered.
  • Carry out searches and further due diligence.
  • Deal with the formal mortgage offer and all the conditions on your behalf.  Mortgage offers on new-build properties generally have special procedures, and you should check the terms of any mortgage offer especially to ascertain whether it could be extended in the event the estimated completion date is delayed by the builder.
  • Discuss with the developer’s solicitor the planning permission implementation, building control, road and drainage adoption, ensuring everything is in place.
  • Talk to you about the ‘new build guarantee’ and explain how this warranty will protect your interests This is usually aten-year guarantee often provided by the National House Building Council (NHBC), Buildzone, Premier Guarantee or another specialist warranty provider, so you have peace of mind should there be issues with the property later down the line.
  • Liaise with you regarding the terms of the contract for the property you are purchasing, so you know exactly what you are buying.

We will ensure an exchange of contracts can be achieved in 28 days. This is important as many reservation agreements state that if contracts are not exchanged in 28 days, the builder can pull out of your deal, meaning you would lose both your reservation fee and the house. If the development you are buying into is very popular, builders can be particularly ruthless when it comes to hitting timescales. We know how important these time limits are and so we always endeavour to ensure you are on track with your purchase.

Our New Build Conveyancing Team at Gaddes Noble Property Lawyers are here for you. We offer a direct service offering nationwide coverage with personal contact throughout. We liaise regularly with the on-site sales teams and ensure efficient communication with all parties and we use the latest technology in conveyancing to maximise efficiency.