The new homes market can be a daunting place for a consumer. In 2015, the government pledged to build 1 million new homes by 2020, but this was quietly retracted in January 2017. However, large-scale projects such as Thames Gateway to the east of London aim to regenerate huge areas with the construction of new homes.
It’s certainly a booming sector of the property industry: and there’s plenty of choice for the consumer. There are many different new home developers in the UK, and whether you know what you’re looking for or not, it can be difficult to plough through the many different options as you search for your dream home. This guide will hopefully make that process easier!
Who are the new home developers?
In short, if you want to buy a new home, these are the people you’ll be dealing with. There are many different companies in the UK, offering everything from affordable housing to luxury apartments. The choice might seem bewildering at first, but when you’re buying a new home there’s more to consider than your budget and the area in which the home is located. What can the developer do for you in the house-buying process?
So what should I look for?
Buying a new home can be a lengthy and difficult process. To make things easier, there are a few important things to look for.
What sorts of guarantees are offered by the developer?
New home developers who are registered with the National House Building Council (NHBC) provide a 10 year warranty. The NHBC is the standard-setting body and leading warranty and insurance provider for new and newly converted homes in the UK. Most developers are registered with the NHBC, but it is a good idea to check, as this ten year warranty is very comprehensive.
It protects your deposit if your builder goes bust before the work is complete, covers any unforeseen problems breaching technical standards that occur within the first two years, and provides wide-ranging cover for many structural problems thereafter.
The NHBC also carry out independent inspections. This is a good deal, although it doesn't cover everything, so be sure to check what is, and perhaps more importantly what isn’t, included. Some new homes developers offer similar guarantees to the NHBC one, but from other providers. Find out exactly what’s on offer.
What customer services does the house developer offer during the buying process?
Viewing a property is important. The house developer may be able to provide showrooms so that you can have a good look at what the new home will look like, and developers might also provide tours and demonstrations in the new home so that you know where everything is and how it works. Some developers might also provide virtual tours, which could save you the hassle of travelling.
Developers might also provide services to help buyers through the complexity of the buying process, with step-by-step advice, progress reports telling you exactly what happens and when, explanations of the jargon of home buying, and checklists to help ensure your purchase goes smoothly.
You want to be getting as much information as possible on the property you are buying.
When purchasing a newly built home, the developer will have to provide such things as: a general description of the property and who is selling it; a copy of the title deeds; information about the property held by local authorities; information on such things as water, drainage and the environment; copies of any planning, building regulations consents and the like; a seller’s property information form which will give details, for example, of fixtures and fittings in the property; and copies of guarantees and warranties.
What comes included with the home?
Most new homes come with advanced security features, such as circuit breakers, fire and smoke alarms. Find out what’s included. Developers are also keen to provide ’green’ housing that helps to protect the environment. New homes have excellent insulation and the latest energy saving devices and are on average up to four times more energy efficient than second hand homes.
Find out just how eco-friendly your home will be, as saving energy will save you money in the long term.
In terms of fixtures, fittings and appliances, new homes very often come with carpets and curtains, fridges and freezers, and all kinds of other things, thrown in for free. These are often offered as incentives to buy: find out exactly what the developer is offering, and why. Even if they aren’t on offer, it always worth asking. Sometimes extra features are included in the price of the property, so always check what you are paying for.
How much say do you have in the building process?
A brand new home means a blank canvas, and you can often customise certain aspects of the house to fit your own tastes. Some developers give you the option of designing your new home before it's built. You might be able to have a say on the layout of your home in accordance with your tastes or needs. Have as much input as you can in the decorating process.
The small cracks and faults that appear as a new house settles in mean that it is best not to decorate until at least a year after you’ve moved in, so make sure everything in the house is as you’d want it to be before you do. You’ll be able to enjoy your new home a lot more if it’s decorated to your liking.
What about the cost?
New home developers offer everything from the cheapest flat to the most expensive and luxurious apartment, with a whole range of different types of property in between. Find out what’s on offer that best suits your financial situation. In any case, the developer may be able to provide some financial assistance.
Ask what’s on offer in terms of financial services offered by developers for their customers. There are many ways in which they may be able to assist you, such as helping with legal and mortgage arrangements, offering cash-back on the sale price, and creation of tailor-made purchase plans.
The more help you can get, the easier it makes things money-wise in the short term. It might be a considerable weight off your shoulders to know that there’s a guiding hand seeing you through the complicated house-buying process, particularly if you’re a first time buyer.
Key questions to ask
- Will I be able to play any part in designing the house?
- When will I be able to view the house or a showroom?
- Will I be given step-by-step reports on the construction of the house and on the progress of the sale?
- What financial assistance can I expect?
- What fixtures, fittings and appliances come included with the home?
- What say do I get in the decorating process?
- How long before I can move in?
- What guarantees are available on my home and on the fixtures, fittings and appliances within it?
- What will be the total cost?
Conclusion: a dream home for the future!
Waiting to move in to your new home can be a long and frustrating process. Make sure you’re making the most of all that your developer can offer you. Who knows, you might even be able to enjoy the process of fashioning your new home for the future!