Buying a new home

This page is a general summary for all the pages you can find under this main menu heading - BUYING A NEW HOME

Initial Considerations

When buying a house consider the costs and your reason for moving. Perhaps an extension would be a better option.

Location - where would you like to move to. The risk of flooding, council tax levels etc.

Budget - what is your price range?  affordability and value

Accommodation - what you need from your new home.

Advice on visiting housing developments and show homes - what to be wary of when visiting house builder’s show homes. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding area , you don’t want to find a railway line at the bottom of the garden.

The dos and  donts when buying a new home.  Be aware of the regulations to protect consumers which became law in 2008.

Types of new homes available

There are several types of new home available. Each one has advantages and disadvantages aimed for a certain market and buyer. Micro homes  Studio Apartments  Apartments Townhouses  Mews houses  Terraced houses and traditional  Detached houses.

Buying an apartment

The advantages and disadvantages of apartment living. Leasehold explained - How long should a lease be, ground rent etc. Restrictive Covenants - What they are and why they are necessary. Annual service charge or management charge, how much is reasonable and what it includes.

Retirement Developments

These may appear on first impressions to be a great idea - built with security and peace of mind for elderly residents.  However they have a sting in the tail in the form of sky-high annual charges and exit fees levied when the property is eventually sold on. They also lose value faster than a second-hand car! Be especially cautious if part-exchange is suggested.

Considerations when buying an apartment

You should look for a maintenance free construction, availability of reserved car parking, and avoid timber frame construction. The location of the apartment and size of the rooms is also important. Be mindful of buy to let, buying off plan and re sale values.

Advantages of new homes

New homes are built to the latest regulations and have higher specifications. You also have the benefit of a ten year warranty and better energy efficiency. New homes require less maintenance and in most cases offer better security. When buying a new home, you have more choice and the buying process is simplified, as you are the end of your property chain. Indeed, with part exchange there is no chain at all. New homes also tend to command a higher re sale price.

Disadvantages of new homes

There are many more drawbacks than advantages to buying a new home. New homes are generally more expensive. New homes have smaller rooms, nearby social housing and are usually in high-density developments. This can mean a lack of parking, especially for visitors. Depending on when you buy, you will also be living on a building site for a period of time. The rear garden will also be bare and require planting. Why 75% of UK home buyers avoid any home built after 2001.

All new homes have water meters, which depending on usage can be more expensive. New homes are also fitted with Condensing Boilers, which are prone to breakdown, have a short working life and are expensive to replace and repair. It is also generally agreed that new homes lack the character and style of older properties. Some developments are even built on low grade brownfield land or land that may be at risk of flooding.

Living in a new home could actually be bad for your long term health Low levels of natural light, poor design and small living spaces can contribute to have a profound adverse effect on a person’s physical and mental health.

The buying procedure

House builders impose strict time limits for exchanging contracts. After reservation, you will need to instruct a solicitor, arrange your mortgage, and exchange contracts usually within 28 days. You will also have to make your selections and decide on any builder’s extras you may want. Lastly you will need to plan your move and arrange for removals before legal completion.

On completion day, the builder will give you a home demonstration. You should inspect your new home for any defects and read the meters and record this on the house builder’s Key Handover certificate. After occupation there will be a customer care procedure you should follow if you find any problems with your new home.

Questions to ask the house builder

It is vitally important that you ask the right questions before you sign the reservation form. The house builder has a legal obligation not to make misleading or false statements. Ask for a copy of the New Homes Quality Board Code of Practice launched in February 2022.

You should ask about discounts, part exchange, the location of social housing, the completion date, and what specifications and choices are available.

It is also useful to know who the energy suppliers are, the level of Council tax, what the postcode and postal address will be, and what are the site manager's professional credentials. Has the site won any NHBC awards?

Legal issues and Title Deeds

You need to be aware of exactly what property you are buying and whether there are any restrictions, charges, rights of way or covenants that are in the title deeds. Never use the house builder’s nominated solicitor or any firm they recommend.

What to look for in a new home

First of all do not get taken in by the show home. House builders use many tricks to make them look bigger and brighter than they are. When visiting a sales centre on a development try not to give too much information away, especially if you are just looking.

What to look out for when buying a new home. Is the site tidy? A good sign it is well managed and you will get a good quality home. Location - a property with a west facing rear garden is generally easier to re sell and at a higher price. Avoid shared driveways and plots near social housing or electrical sub stations. Check parking availability, room sizes, and buy to let numbers.

Watch out for sales gimmicks. Find out about nearby roads or railway lines. What is the use of adjacent land (if any). What is the location of streetlights and street furniture and public open spaces. Establish who is responsible for the fences and boundaries. Be aware what materials your new home is built in and what your home will look like.

Timber frame new homes

Why house builders prefer them. How to spot if a home is timber frame.

What you should know about timber frame homes

Durability, rot and pests. Insurance, noise and condensation issues, energy efficiency, security.

Fire risk and timber frame new homes

Quality issues with timber frame new homes

When to buy a new home

The best time of year to buy.  House builder's year-end, buying in a recession, buying off plan and the best time to sell your existing home can be critical factors.

Builder’s optional extras

Don’t be taken in with the show home. Why builder's optional extras are usually poor value. When it is a good idea to ask for something as an extra.

Buying in a recession

Quality issues, buy to let investors, getting a good deal, sales gimmicks, part exchange and shared ownership.

New home warranty

The NHBC Buildmark warranty explained. The first two years and years three to ten.

NHBC standards, claims and Pride in the Job Awards.

New home owner’s forum

This is a link to a popular forum that not only enables you to share your experiences with others, but we also try to answer any question relating to new home problems and any technical building queries you may have.

Test your knowledge with our new homes crossword puzzle.

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