BBC Radio Nottingham feature New Homes this week!

publication date: May 2, 2014
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Join Now

BBC Radio Nottingham feature New Home this week!

BBC Radio Nottingham featured New Homes this week and I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the things we have been chatting about.

When you buy a new home, you basically get somewhere to live that no-one else has been in or touched with all mod cons, built to the latest safety standards which should be, lovely and warm versus most existing homes.

What’s included in a new build?
Often it’s down to what you can negotiate and how long the plot has been for sale and how early you agree to buy in the build process. Often carpets and freshly painted with a landscaped garden is what you would ask for, through to a kitchen and bathroom.

However, if you fancy buying the show home, they might include all the furnishing too.

Some properties will come with all the appliances fitted, others will allow you choose some of the fixtures and fittings, especially wardrobes, kitchens/bathrooms, tiles/carpets.

What about warranties
These are a tricky subject as they haven’t always worked in your favour, but remember when you buy an existing home, you get hardly any warranties at all, so something is better than nothing.

The key warranty is the NHBC, Zurich or Premier guarantee. This protects your property for 10 years – although the developer is responsible for the property for the first two years of this guarantee. This is sometimes where things can go wrong as in the first few years it’s down to the developer to sort problems, some are good, some aren’t!

To find the good ones, look for builders who support the New Homes Code of Practice.

Things that it covers you for are if your builder goes out of business after exchange and the property should still get built or you should be offered something else. And it covers part of the property from 3 to 10 years of ownership, mainly things like the floors, roof, drains, windows, doors and staircase.

What it doesn’t cover, which can make things confusing is:-

  • Wear and tear
  • Damp/condensation problems if NOT caused by the builder 
  • Normal shrinkage after a property has been built 
  • Damage caused by things like storms, flooding, fire etc 
  • Work done post and without the builder’s help/knowledge
  • Getting work sorted if you are the second/on-going owner and have already had money knocked off for the problem.

It is estimated that around one third of new homes have 100+ defects. Most are minor things like poor paintwork or dirty windows; some though can breach building regulations – even if they have been passed by NHBC. So have a read of the Guardian article before you buy so you can quiz your builder and make sure you don’t have any problems

What’s Part exchange and is it worth considering? 
This can be a great, stress free way of moving where they sell your property for you and co-ordinate you moving in when the chain has worked together. It isn’t given on all properties and in some cases you have to sell at maybe a 10% discount, while in other cases you actually get quite a good deal on your own home.

Check the small print on a new build and have a legal expert on YOUR side! 
You really can’t do this yourself – it’s much better to have an experienced legal company do it for you who knows what to look for. You have to watch the contracts you are asked to sign.

A good legal company will know what to look for eg what happens if prices rise when you have already exchanged? What happens if it’s finished early or late, is there any compensation? What happens if you have a dispute on the property being ‘ready’ when you move in eg do they landscape the garden/provide fencing etc?

Pitfalls of buying a new home
You do have to make sure they have done everything properly. Back at the start of the credit crunch, OFT research suggested 32% couldn’t move in when they wanted with 3% having over a year’s delay. 70% finding faults with 2% waiting a year for them to be fixed.

New builds too can be up to 20% higher for the space than an existing home and may not be the ideal location – especially if satellite to a ‘town’ and when built, no shops/restaurants etc move in until some years after you have bought.

Pros and Cons of Buying a New Build 

Pros of a New Build Pros of an Existing Home
Support of Help to Buy 5% deposit scheme Can offer better value per square metre
Everything is new – so maintenance cost a lot lower  Possibly better/more location choices
Often more flexible accommodation  Usually easier to extend/add value eg bigger
gardens/outside space
Can choose your fixtures and fittings  Sold with history/character features which make
them individual 
Safe and built to high specification eg gas/
electrics signed off 
Garages and garden tend to be more spacious
Warranty provided for most things for 10 years. 
Far more green, so typically higher EPC rating eg 'A'
versus average of a 'D' so utility bills can be a lot less
Few surprises unlike an existing home eg damp
 patches/poor heating system/dry & wet rot 
Fitted with latest technology eg wiring/cables/
sockets for internet and TV etc
The developer is keen for you to move in on the
date you want to, no ‘chain’ 
Can move in and settle in within days


So if you haven’t thought of buying a new build before, things have changed a lot since the 1980s and 1990s new build sprawling estates where all the properties were built the same, so it’s worth a look at certainly worth working out the benefits if of Help to Buy where you can pay with just a 5% deposit.

For FREE, independent and up-to-date advice on buying, selling and renting a home, sign up for FREE at Property Checklists. Join now to access our FREE checklists, including:-

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
This website is Copyright © Designs on Property Ltd and protected under UK and international law.