New build homes are popular with first time buyers, but it's easy to get a raw deal if you're inexperienced and unaware of the potential pitfalls. If you're thinking of buying a new build home, read on for more information on what to look out for
Benefits of New Build Homes
Aside from being affordable, new build homes have a number of other 'draws' which make them attractive to aspiring homemakers. First of all, it's appealing to know that you're the first person to live in that property, and as it's newly built, no redecoration or renovation is required. On top of that, new builds have to pass a certain energy standard, and as a result should cost less to heat and power. Many developers also let buyers choose from various fixtures and fittings, and generally offer a guarantee, warranty or inclusive insurance for a fixed number of years. There are also government schemes to help first time buyers with a purchase of a new build home.
Pitfalls of New Build Homes
With the good points out of the way, lets now look at some of the potential problems.
New Build by Bad Developers
Whilst there is competition in the marketplace, developers don't seem to compete with each other in terms of customer service. That's to say that you may end up paying hundreds of thousands for your house, then be messed around when any issues arise. Before making any purchase, make sure you do your research first into the developers, and find out what sort of reputation they have. This may simply require some internet searching, or chatting to other residents on the site you're looking at.
While you're at it, you should also visit the developer's other sites to take a look at how they are. Do they look finished? Do the residents in that area speak highly of their new homes and the development company?
Don't be fooled by any developers own promotional materials. Any testimonials included there have been carefully selected to present the company in the best light.
Pricing and Depreciation of New Build Homes
As with vehicles, the value of a new build home with depreciate significantly as soon as you move in. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the rise in property prices will automatically combat this as there is no guarantee that you'll make that cash back.
Take a look at similar older properties in the area to try and get an idea of their valuation. This will at least give you some estimation as to the possible resale value for your property further down the line.
Lots of developers offer various bonuses as an incentive to buying from them. Make sure you shop around, and don't be afraid to try to haggle with the developer of any property you're interested in; generally they listed price isn't the cheapest you can get it for.
You need to be aware that you'll need to stay put for a few years to hopefully recoup the value depreciation. Does the property have enough space for your future requirements?
Finally you should think about how much scope there is for adding value. Maybe you can build a conservatory at the back, or convert the loft into a spare room – any such improvements will drastically increase the value of your home in the long term.
New Build Moving Delays
If you're buying 'off plan' (before the development has been completed), you may experience problems moving in in the development runs over schedule. If this applies to you, look to have a 'long stop' completion date, which will mean that you are due compensation if your home isn't ready by the agreed date.
Workmanship/Finish of New Build Homes
Don't rely solely on the representation of the show home – you need to ensure that you take an active interest during the build of the property, so you can monitor the quality of the build before completion. Furthermore, the developer should provide you with properly prepared plans and specifications, and it's your responsibility to make sure that you have these in hand – if not or if they aren't detailed enough, the developer can get away with building a lower specification house, than you initially thought you were getting.
We'd love to hear from you about your experiences of new build homes. Were you pleased with the completed result or did you have to endure repeated conversations with developers to get things right? Were your expectations exceeded or did the dream home become a nightmare? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments below or on our Facebook page.