What to know when buying a new build property
October 28, 2021
Buying a new build property is more complex than buying an older home. Most new builds are bought off plan, without sight of the final home you are going to buy. You may also have to wait many months for it to be completed and, in the current climate, completion dates are being extended as builders struggle to get the supplies they need to finish your home. In this article we take a look at the things you should consider when buying a new build property, and why it is important to choose the right new build conveyancer.
Getting your finances ready
Developers giving discounts, incentives or reserving the plot you want will almost always require you to exchange contracts within about four weeks of paying your reservation fee. That means you will have only a short time to get your mortgage, Help to Buy, or other financing in place.
Your conveyancers will need to be ready to achieve a quick exchange of contracts to secure your new property. It helps if they know the people involved with your new build property, such as the sales team and the developer’s solicitors, so they can work together to adjust deadlines when they can’t be met – for example, if your mortgage is taking a little longer than expected.
Buying and selling
If you’re selling a property, you will have to agree with your buyers that they will exchange contracts and wait until the developers are ready to complete your purchase. To avoid this, some people choose to complete their sale and move into rented accommodation, however many don’t. In both cases this will need to be managed by your legal team.
The legal work involved in a new build is generally much more complicated – developers will have bought a massive site (sometimes from more than one seller so there are multiple titles and conveyancers to consider) and their legal title documentation will be very extensive. Your plot will be only a very small part of this and needs to be separated out and registered in your name at HM Land Registry after completion – this will be handled by your chosen conveyancer.
In addition, your new build conveyancer will have to check that the infrastructure and planning requirements of the local and planning authorities have been fully complied with – i.e. will the roads and services all be adopted and maintained by the local authority, or will each plot owner end up paying a share? If you’re buying a property on an estate with common areas – such as estate roads, car parking, bin stores, etc. – how much will you have to pay towards the costs of these and who will sort out any problems if other owners don’t pay their share? All these issues need to be checked and explained to you so that you know exactly what you are buying and what your running costs might be.
Preparing for completion
When the property is ready for occupation, the developer’s solicitors will give 14 days’ “notice to complete”. This means you will have to be ready to move within a very short time. Your conveyancers will need to be geared up to get your mortgage advance, Help to Buy funds, LISA or Help to Buy ISA funds ready quickly, as well as give notice to complete to your buyer.
You may find that the developer you are buying from has a shortlist of solicitors they suggest you use. You don’t necessarily have to use them, but it is usually sensible to talk to them and ask for a fee estimate. Marsons Solicitors LLP has a team dedicated to new build purchases and we’ve been helping people move into their new homes for many years. We act for a number of developers and because they know our expertise this helps transactions complete smoothly to the benefit of all parties. But don’t forget, we are only acting for you, and we will always put your needs first.
Conveyancers who only do the occasional “one-off” new build property work face a time-consuming job to check the legal title. We are already familiar with the contractual documentation of the developers we work with regularly, so we are able to get what we need quickly, asking exactly the right questions of their solicitors to make sure the legal title you buy is what you expect. By acting on similar developments, and usually on several different plots on each of them, we are able to achieve economies of scale by putting in the hours it takes to check the title and all the local planning agreements and requirements, so you get the best possible advice and service. All that expertise enables us to give you the time you need from us to explain what you need to know and get you into your new home as soon as it’s ready.
To find out more about our new build conveyancing service call Melanie Lobina on 020 8313 1300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained in this article is intended for general guidance only. It provides useful information but it is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice as the articles do not take into account specific circumstances. So do please Contact US for legal advice on the issues raised.