New build homes are highly attractive to buyers due to their modern design and energy efficiency. In addition, there is a limited property chain. However, contrary to popular belief, buying a new build property can be more complex and time-consuming than a standard property.
In this article, the Langley Wellington property team explores some of the factors that may cause a new build property purchase to be longer and more complex.
Legal Considerations from Developers
Compared to a regular property purchase, new build properties typically incur additional legal considerations, such as clauses introduced by property developers that differ from traditional sales. This might be about:
- Completion dates
- Developer obligations
Developers are now required to comply with the New Homes Quality Board Code of Practice. This sets out the developers requirements with regards information they must provide to a buyer at the time or reservation and realistic time scales for exchange and completion along with after sales service. Further information on the code can be found at For Homebuyers (nhqb.org.uk).
Off Plan Purchases
It is possible to purchase a new build home before construction is completed or, in some cases before it has even commenced. This is commonly referred to as an ‘off-plan purchase’. Although exciting, buying a house off-plan can be daunting as the purchaser must rely on architectural drawings, specifications and promises from the developers rather than physically inspecting the property themselves, much as they would on a house viewing. For off-plan purchases, it is essential to instruct an experienced residential property solicitor to review all of the relevant documentation to ensure that your expectations will be met.
Delays in Development
New build properties are often subject to unforeseen delays that may be caused by a variety of factors. Therefore, it is possible that completion dates may be altered, which can affect the moving date. It is sensible to instruct a solicitor to assist in negotiating any necessary safeguard or clauses for compensation in your contract with the developer to protect yourself in the case of any significant delays.
Upon completion, it is not uncommon for defects to arise within the property, from incomplete finishes and cosmetic issues to faulty installations. Depending on the contract between the buyer and developer, the developer is likely to have obligations regarding these issues that should be addressed before the completion of the property is finalised.
All house purchases involve extensive paperwork. For new builds, there is often additional documentation specific to the development. This often includes transfers, estate service charge deeds, planning documentation, building regulations and new build warranty i.e. NHBC certificates. Instructing a solicitor to review this documentation is sensible to ensure that it covers all bases and that you, as the buyer, are protected should issues arise with the property in the future. Your Solicitor will normally send you various documents with the contract paper to sign, some will need sign/witnessed and sent back to the Solicitor. Other documents will be for your retention. Sometimes a CD or USB stick with the information may also be sent. Please ensure that you keep this information in a safe place, as it will be required when you sell the property in the future.
Service Charges and Shared Amenities
In the UK, it is becoming increasingly common for new build properties to have access to shared amenities such as communal spaces, parking facilities, gyms or gardens. A buyer of a new build property may be required to pay service charges/rent charge for the maintenance of the facilities. During the conveyancing process, a solicitor should review the details of the service charges/rent charge, ensuring that they are compliant with relevant legislation and lender requirements and that the buyer is clear on their responsibilities and obligations.
Conveyancing Lawyers Near Me for New Builds
At Langley Wellington and the Cotswold Conveyancing Centre, we have extensive experience supporting clients in purchasing their new build property. Our team understands the complexities associated with these transactions and will do all they can to ensure that our clients are protected.
Cotswold Conveyancing Centre became the first legal practice in Gloucester to secure the Law Society’s CQS Accreditation from The Law Society – the mark of excellence for the home buying process.
To find out more about our new build property service, please click here. Alternatively, to speak to a member of our specialist team today, please call 01452 545678 or email email@example.com.
This blog is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors.