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10 steps to buying the right new-build home

Avoid the pitfalls of buying a new-build property

New house

Make sure that you don’t overpay on your new house

Buying a new-build property can be quite a complicated process. We’ve put together an easy-to-follow checklist to make sure you get a good quality home at the right price.

1. What’s included

Investigate what type of warranty your home comes with, and exactly what it covers.

Specifically, find out if your new-build property is covered by the National House-Building Council (NHBC).

Under its 10-year Buildmark warranty, for the first two years builders are responsible for fixing any defects caused by failure to build to NHBC standards.

2. Fixtures and fittings

Check which fixtures and fittings are included in the price of the property before you commit to buy.

Floor coverings, fitted wardrobes and appliances are often not included in the advertised price.

3. Part-exchange

Consider part-exchanging your existing home if it’s been on the market for a while.

This may make the moving process quicker and easier. Just be aware that builders are likely to offer you less than you could get if you sold your property in the usual way.

4. Incentives

If a builder offers you incentives to buy a property, consider what they’re actually worth.

Perks – like a deposit being paid or free fixtures and fittings – may seem appealing. However, it’s important to consider the true financial value of such incentives, and whether the builder is offsetting them by charging you more elsewhere.

5. Special lending criteria

If you’re thinking of buying a new-build home, find out what you can borrow based on any special lending criteria.

For example, lenders often set lower LTV limits for new-builds than for older properties. This is because new-builds are less likely to hold their value, as they are sold at a premium for being new.

6. Mortgage advisors

Don’t automatically use a mortgage adviser or solicitor recommended by the builder. Instead, do your own, independent research.

Which? Mortgage Advisors are impartial and analyse the whole of the market, helping to find the right deal for you. Or to search for an alternative broker, visit www.impartial.co.uk.

7. Regular updates

If you’re buying an unfinished property, get regular progress updates from the builder.

You may have little control over when the property is completed, but at least this will help you prepare for any delays.

8. Identify problems

Check over your new home for problems on the first day you move in.

If you find any, inform the builder in writing as soon as possible. This will give you evidence of your complaint, to refer to if the issue isn’t resolved immediately.

9. Snagging survey

Consider having a new-build snagging survey done before or after you move in.

This should identity any construction defects, so they can be addressed as quickly as possible.

10. Consumer Code for Home Builders

Finally, choose a builder that follows the Consumer Code for Home Builders.

This also offers a dispute-resolution scheme, which can be useful if you have a problem with a builder.

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