Home > News > What to know before buying a new build property | Plaza Estates
What to ask before you buy a new-build property off-plan

Things you need to know before buying a new-build property

By Maurice Shasha  //  Thu 22nd June 2017
If you're thinking of buying a new build property off-plan, there are certain things to know before you do. We list the questions you need to ask.
With such a wide selection of properties available, many people entering the property market as first-time buyers often find themselves spoilt for choice. This can be overwhelming, so some opt for what they see as a safe choice: a new build property.

However, although buying a new build property, especially off plan, does offer many advantages, there are things the buyer should keep an eye open for and ask questions.

If you're thinking of buying a new build property off plan, here's some of the questions you should be asking.

Is the property freehold?

This may seem an obvious question but one you should ask before you are too advanced in the buying process. If you are buying a flat in a new build, have your solicitor check it thoroughly. Many people have been trapped into a lease where the ground rent doubles every year.

Buying a house is another matter. Many large national builders are putting houses on the market as leasehold, and many buyers have been unsuspecting of this aspect of the sale. Buying a house attached to a lease should be avoided at all costs. There is no reason why a house cannot be sold as a freehold. If your builder refuses to sell you the property as freehold, look elsewhere.

Ask about the builder’s end of the year figures

The end of the builder’s year is when many builders have to report to their head office to inform them how many buildings have been completed and sold. If the builder fails to reach a target they may suffer serious consequences. To avoid this, some builders will rush to achieve their targets and this results in a low standard of construction and a rushed or reduced time for drying out. You want to ensure your home is not one which has been 'rushed through'.

Check your builder's credentials

It is important the builder you choose is a member of the National House Building Council (NHBC). Members of the NHBC are required to build to the high standard required by the council. You will also receive a ten-year guarantee and an insurance policy to cover any major problems regarding the new building. So make sure you ask if the builder of your choice is a member of the NHBC.

Who will be responsible for maintaining the roads?

It is vital you ask this question. You can no longer take it for granted that the local council will maintain the roads around a new development. It is not uncommon for roads around new developments to be privately owned, and this means you will be responsible for the repair and maintenance of the roads. This is usually collected through an annual management charge. If the builder does not know who is responsible for road maintenance, ask your solicitor to find out.

When will it be finished?

There are two questions to be asked here. The first is your completion date. Your builder should be able to give you an approximate completion date, but this may be subject to delaying conditions the developer has no control over. The weather being the main culprit. However, it is important to get a date to focus on. It would be a good idea to visit the site regularly to see how things are progressing as this could affect you if you have a mortgage with a deadline.

The second question is when the development will be complete. This will let you know how long you will be living in the middle of a construction site and having to contend with all the noise, dust, and mud that go with that environment.

As the above questions illustrate, there are many pitfalls to be avoided when buying a new build property. However, the good news is you do not have to deal with them alone. We have years of experience in dealing with new build properties, and are here to help you. Contact us today.