Thinking Of Buying A New Build Property?

Thinking Of Buying A New Build Property?

With a shortage of housing, and affordable housing, there are more new housing developments springing up across the country than ever. Locally, the new town of Sherford promises 5,500 new homes over the coming years, with 600 new homes being delivered in the first phase which is expected to take three to four years to complete.

So, you may ask what makes buying a brand new home different to buying an already well-established property and are there any additional factors you should be aware of? Furthermore, do you need a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with new build properties? The answer, in short, is simply ‘yes’.

Most buyers assume that as a property is new, there should be very little to think about in terms of the legalities of the purchase. After all, the property has no ‘history’ yet. In fact, there are more issues for your lawyer to check than if the property was well-established. However, the purchase can still be a straightforward one, as long as your lawyer is experienced and knows how to deal with it.

As the property is new, your lawyer should be checking:

  • Whether valid planning consent exists, relating to the correct phase of the development of which your individual new property forms part, and that the planning conditions have been adhered to.
  • That there is evidence of compliance with building regulations for your new property
  • That the property benefits from an adequate builder’s warranty and that it is valid and of a type that is acceptable to most High Street mortgage lenders.
  • That there are agreements in place for the new roads and sewers/drainage system to be adopted by the local authority or whether you will be personally liable to contribute financially towards the cost of future maintenance of the same
  • That there is appropriate protection in place if the developer goes bust
  • That you are covered if defects are found in the property after completion

If you cannot afford to purchase your new home outright, and you cannot afford a mortgage to cover the whole balance of the purchase price less the deposit you have available, you may wish to consider the following options:

  • ‘shared ownership’ scheme which enables you to purchase shares in your new home and pay rent to a Housing Association for the un-acquired portion
  • ‘shared equity’ scheme which allows you to take an equity loan (under which you will not be required to make regular repayments but you can legally own 100% of the property and repay the loan at a later stage).

In 2013, the Government introduced the Help to Buy scheme in response to rising house prices and more recently the Government launched the Help to Buy ISA, offering savers a bonus for use towards the purchase of their first home. The most recent initiative, being the Lifetime ISA was launched in April 2017, and can be used by those aged 18-39 who are saving for a deposit for their first home.

You will need to ensure your lawyer is well-versed in the requirements under the various schemes to avoid your purchase being delayed unnecessarily.

At Wolferstans, we have specialist lawyers with many years’ experience of dealing with new build property transactions and we would be delighted to hear from you and guide you through your purchase.

We can offer flexible appointments at any of our 3 offices; based on North Hill and in Plympton and Plymstock. Call us today for more information on 01752 663295.

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