10 F.A.Q's When buying a new build property!
Updated: Apr 9
1. Is the plot cost included? When you’re exploring new construction options, you’ll see that each plan comes with a base cost. The structure's fee includes the base interior and exterior features (we’ll get into those soon). What is not included in the land cost, so be sure to ask if the plot cost is figured into the base. If the plot cost is included, ask if there are premium costs for specific plots. It’s possible that the base cost does include the lot, but the remaining lots in the development all have added fees for particular features that you can’t opt-out of, such as look-out windows in the basement or more expansive yards. If the plot cost is not included, ask what it is (and whether there are additional premium costs) and factor those into the house's base price.
2. How long will the building take? It’s important to know what you’re getting into timing-wise with a new build property. If you have a house to sell first or you’re, plan on staying with family or renting. The building process is prone to delays, and you will be unable to get a finite schedule for how long the build will take. You will get a general idea of what you can expect. Find out if the build time includes the time it takes to get the permits. This could take up to 45 days to obtain.
3. What warranties are provided with the house? Just because a home is new doesn’t mean there are no problems. This is why new homes come with a few warranties that protect you in the event of a mishap early on, including a short term whole-house warranty and a longer-term structural warranty. Ask your developer what warranties are included and their expiry date. It is possible to buy your home warranty, but why should you when the builder should cover you for at least the first several years.
4. What are the standard finishes? Ask what types of finishes are included, go through the model unit with the sales representative, and ask them to point out what’s standard and what is not. It is more common for you to meet with the designers after you’ve gone under contract. So get your designer cap on and start thinking about what finishes, i.e. carpets and worktops you want and appliances; otherwise, you could find that there is a difference in the price you wanted to pay and what you are requested to pay.
5. Are you allowed to purchase your appliances or materials? Had your eye on an Aga MasterChef? You may be able to have it, and the builder installs it. However, builders will allow you to purchase your appliances, but you cannot buy your materials like paint. Keep in mind that you probably will have to make some purchases in terms of machines, such as dishwashers and refrigerators.
6. Will you get credits if you bring in your materials or appliances? For example, if the base price of your new construction home includes a fridge worth £400, but you’d like to upgrade and purchase the fridge of your dreams, an American style fridge, costing £800. Will you get £400 off the purchase price for not having the refrigerator that’s included in the base price? Some builders offer credits for any upgrades or self-purchased materials or appliances, while with others, you will need to negotiate the included item initially. Credits are a nice touch, but they’re not usually standard, so it’s best not to go in expecting that you’ll get money off the base cost for purchases like these. In general, builders don’t like to lower the base cost, but if they do offer credits, that’s a win for you.
7. Is landscaping included? Depending on the size of your garden, landscaping, including sodding and putting in trees and plants, can set you back a fair few pounds. Is that a cost you’ll have to factor in on top of the home purchase? Some builders include your essential garden work, while others leave you with unfinished land that becomes your responsibility to do the landscape. There is also a set amount of time, per the contract to complete this work. Ask what is included in the landscaping and the warranty on the materials so if your grass dies or something else occurs, you’re not responsible for fixing it.
8. Does the contract include a cost escalation clause? New builds are renowned for last-minute hiccups. To avoid being on the hook financially, it is wise to ensure your contact does not have a cost escalation clause that allows the builder to charge you for any unanticipated costs that arise as a result of necessary labour or materials. So, if timber prices go up before the builder has purchased the materials for your flooring, or an unexpected delay adds a few weeks onto the build, you’re liable for those costs. If you want peace of mind and would rather not deal with the stress of unanticipated expenses, find a builder that doesn’t include a cost escalation clause.
9. Are there any homeowners rules or regulations? Even if there is no homeowner’s association for the development, the builder may still set some guidelines for what is allowed and what is not on your property. For example, you may not be able to use a particular type of fencing or install a shed in your backyard. It’s better to ask these questions early on and have peace of mind rather than move in and find out that you can’t turn your house into your dream home.
10. Are there any financial incentives for using the builder’s preferred lender? Some builders offer discounts on closing costs if you obtain your mortgage with a lender they have a working relationship with. Enquire if these sorts of financial incentives are available, making sure you shop around and get the best advice from a financial advisor before making your decision about where to get your mortgage. Do not base it on a discount alone – you may still be able to find a better deal through other lenders. However, it’s still good to know if there are benefits to working with the builder’s preferred mortgage company, make a note of precisely what they are, and then compare before choosing.
If you would like some more information on our new build service, click here.
Read online or download our New Build Buyers Guide. Click here