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Buying a New Build Property in the UK?
- AuthorAbdul Mutallib
What you need to know when buying a New Build Property in the UK.
Buying a new build property in the UK can be an exciting venture, offering modern designs, energy efficiency, and the opportunity to be the first owner. However, purchasing a new build comes with its own set of considerations and unique aspects that buyers should be aware of. From understanding warranties and contracts to navigating snagging issues and managing completion dates, being well-informed is crucial.
In this article, we will explore key factors to consider when buying a new build property in the UK.
Researching the Developer
Before committing to a new build property, it is essential to research the developer and their track record. Look into their reputation, previous projects, and customer reviews. Establishing the developer's credibility and understanding their commitment to quality construction and customer satisfaction can provide reassurance about the reliability of the project.
Comprehensive Inspection and Snagging
While new build properties are expected to be in pristine condition, it is important to conduct a thorough inspection and snagging process before completion. Snagging refers to identifying and rectifying any defects, minor issues, or unfinished work in the property. Engaging a professional surveyor can help ensure that all necessary repairs and finishing touches are addressed before you take possession of the property.
Understanding Warranties and Guarantees
New build properties typically come with warranties and guarantees that provide protection against structural defects and substandard workmanship. The most common warranty in the UK is the NHBC Buildmark warranty, but other providers, such as Premier Guarantee and LABC Warranty, also offer similar coverages. Familiarise yourself with the details of the warranty, including its duration, coverage, and any additional guarantees provided by the developer.
Reviewing the purchase contract thoroughly is crucial when buying a new build property. Pay close attention to the payment schedule, completion dates, and any contingencies or conditions that need to be met before completion. Ensure that the contract includes provisions for potential delays, penalties, and dispute resolution mechanisms. Seeking legal advice from a property lawyer specialising in new build transactions can help clarify any uncertainties and protect your interests.
Completion Dates and Delays
Completion dates for new build properties can sometimes be subject to delays due to construction issues or external factors beyond the developer's control. Maintaining open communication with the developer and staying informed about the progress of the construction can help manage expectations and ensure a smooth transition to your new home.
Ongoing Development and Amenities
Consider the surrounding area and any ongoing development plans that may impact the property and its surroundings in the future. Research the local amenities, such as schools, transportation links, shops, and recreational facilities, to ensure they meet your requirements. Being aware of any planned infrastructure projects or changes in the vicinity can help you make an informed decision about the long-term prospects of the area.
Maintenance of Road / Communal Areas
Majority of new build property is subject to an estate rentcharge / service charge, which is a contribution payable to a management company for the maintenance/repair of communal areas within the development, that are not maintained or repaired by the Local Authority.
If the property is subject to such payments you should carefully consider this and be aware that you are required to pay the estate rentcharge / service charge on a regular basis, and in addition to your other outgoings on the property. The estate rentcharge / service charge is subject to increase in future.
Any contribution towards the costs of the provision of services, carrying out maintenance or repairs, and insurance of communal areas is increasingly common with new build properties. Developers set up their development on the basis that a management company is appointed to organise the maintenance of shared facilities, and the individual property owners covenant to share the estate costs.
Whilst the charges are often not a large sum annually, there is no "cap" on expenditure and charges that can be made. Protections that would apply to leaseholders in respect of service charges from landlords do not apply to freehold owners paying rentcharges. You must therefore obtain advice from a property lawyer specialising in new build, who can advice the impact this will have on the property and the requirements of lenders.
Everything you need to know
Buying a new build property in the UK offers many advantages, but it requires careful consideration and due diligence. Researching the developer, conducting comprehensive inspections, and understanding warranties and guarantees are crucial steps to ensure the property meets your expectations. Thoroughly reviewing the purchase contract, managing completion dates and potential delays, and staying informed about ongoing development in the area will contribute to a successful purchase. By being well-informed and seeking professional advice when needed, buyers can navigate the process of buying a new build property and embark on their homeownership journey with confidence.
Contact our experts for further advice