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Buying a brand-new home can be an exciting prospect, but it also comes with its own set of challenges. Here are our top tips to help you through the process.
Buying off plan means you purchase your new home before building has been completed (or sometimes has even begun) It’s worth doing your homework by comparing prices with similar developments in the North London area and seeking advice from your local estate agent. Once you have all this information its down to negotiating, no sale price will be set in stone. Don’t immediately assume your property will be worth more money once it’s been completed.
Find out exactly what you’re getting
When your buying off plan there is often nothing to see, so make sure you find out exactly what you’re getting for your money. Does the price include landscaping for the garden, a parking space or even white goods? If you are buying a flat or an apartment within a block, then consider the annual service charges and ground rent.
Look beyond the show home
Builders and developers build show homes as a selling tool, but this only gives an indication of what you’re buying so take this with a pinch of salt. Your own home will be on a different plot or even a different floor or building all of which will alter things like light and noise levels considerably. Although developers do dress show homes the furniture tends to be minimal which will make it appear more spacious.
Find out how many other new builds have been sold and to whom.
You don’t want to be surrounded by a building site for twelve months, so find out how much of the development has been sold. Ask also about the ratio of owner-occupiers to investors as you may soon tire of being the only permanent resident among a revolving door of tenants.
It is important to check the builder or developer is signed up to a warranty scheme. Whether you’re buying off plan or new a warranty scheme is crucial. NHBC’s Buildmark is the largest of these schemes but others such as Premier Guarantee and LABC Warranty do also exist. A warranty scheme will protect your deposit if a builder or developer goes bust. As deposits can be around 30% of the property value without it, you stand a lot to lose. It will also ensure the home has been built to agreed standards. Never proceed with a sale if your builder or developer does offer a recognised warranty.
Do your homework on the Consumer Code for Home Builders, launched in 2010 many people are unaware of the code but its sole purpose is to protect buyers of off plan and new-build homes. One of the most useful parts of the code is that it forces builders to provide realistic information on when your new-build will be completed.
Don’t Change Jobs Before You Complete
Mortgage offers tend to have a three to six month shelf life and if yours runs out before your home is completed you will have to reapply. If your circumstances have changed a lender is within their right to refuse your mortgage the second time round. So stay put and steer clear of any additional financial contributions.
See What Extras You Can Get
You may only buy a new-build home once in your life, so see what extra’s you can get thrown in, additional light fittings or plug sockets for example. You may even be able to choose the colour schemes or flooring, but if you don’t ask, you won’t get.
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