With the number of new build developments under construction at present I am sure you are aware of the fact that the show homes and Site Sales offices are generally completed first encouraging interested parties to take advantage of ‘Early Bird’ schemes along with the ‘Help to Buy’ government scheme.  Whilst the development is under construction many developers will offer you the option of buying off plan.  It is important to understand the process along with the pro’s and con’s and what you need to be aware of before you proceed.

What does buying off plan mean?

Buying off plan means you purchase your home before it is built.  For a small deposit you can reserve your home and in many cases often get a say in the design and second fix items such as white goods if you wish to use the developers team to install these or worktops, tiles and units of your new kitchen. Check the options available to you.

What do you need to do first?

Before you sign up to the home of your dreams check with a mortgage broker what you can afford to borrow as it is important that you consider carefully costs such as living, lifestyle and commutes to work as livings costs can go up and well as down.  The NBRA recommend that you undertake your home work and approach a few mortgage brokers as the high street banks may not be able to cater for your needs and it is important to have a comparison.  Don’t automatically use the mortgage provider being offered by the sales staff of the development as you may not get the best deal.  Speak to friends and relatives as they may be able to recommend brokers to you.

Get Legal assistance

Again, as with the mortgage broker do your homework and appreciate that the service you receive is closely in line with amount you will asked to pay. It is important to get a good deal but working with an internet conveyancer may leave you let down whereas a local solicitor is someone you can make an appointment with should you have any concerns.    When instructing your choice of solicitor or conveyancer make sure they get all of your buyer requirements, this is everything you expect to be included in the property written into the contract for example white goods, extra outside tap and even down to the correctly constructed sub soil and turf in the back garden. Asking for feedback about any cable or internet connections as you don’t want to be left for months waiting for services to be plumbed in.  Other services you may want to check are bin collections and postal deliveries.

Make your reservation

After these steps have been achieved and you are happy with your choices and the advice you have been given for a small fee you can reserve your property or plot as the developers refer to it. It is now time to contact your mortgage provider and have your mortgage agreed and in place to complete the paperwork you will receive.

Exchanging Contracts

Once you have completed all the required paperwork you will be able to exchange contracts and pay your full deposit. This process doesn’t take long, usually within 28 days of paying your reservation fee.  This is now the waiting part whilst the property is being built.  Take this time to check and double check everything is coming along well to the schedule you have been given and the property is being built to the specification you have agreed.  It is a good idea to be proactive at this point and by creating good relationships with the site sales staff make regular calls every couple of weeks to check progress and maybe arrange a visit to see progress.  Don’t make a nuisance of yourself as this may create tension.

Check you are happy before you move in

Don’t feel under any pressure to move into your new home before it is complete to the standard you agreed to in the specification.  Many developers will not allow you to access the property to undertake your own snagging check or use the services of a professional company but always challenge this as you want to re-assure yourself that you are happy with the standard of finish before you move in.

Completion Day

The developer will in many cases offer you two dates the first is a short stop date, which is the day they expect to be completed and the long stop date is a date when they have to complete by.  Ensure that your removal company is aware of this as you don’t want to have to rearrange a date especially if you are selling a property and are in a chain or have to leave rented accommodation.

The NBRA team hope you have found this short guide useful and should you wish to undertake further research check out these websites and ask members of our Forum for their experiences. 

Home Owners Alliance – https://hoa.org.uk/Which – https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/new-build-homes/buying-off-plan-a9dt35d6m2hn

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