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Questions To Ask When Buying A New Build House Or Apartment

Buying a brand new home comes with many advantages, but it is also important to make sure you avoid the potential pitfalls to ensure you really get the best deal and can enjoy being in your new home from day one! Here are our top questions to ask when buying a new build house or apartment:-

  1. Does the developer come under the NHBC’s warranty? Check that the developer comes under the National House Building Council warranty or similar insurance, this will help ensure you are protected if something goes wrong with the developer/development before you move in or once the property has been built.
  2. Is the property incentive really a good deal? Ensure that any property incentive or discount really is a good deal by making sure you know the real market value of the property before discounts/incentives – not the value a developer says it’s worth, but what a qualified surveyor says!  See the RICS website for further information, you can also check the official sale prices of similar properties in the area over the last 12 months+ by using the UK House Prices website. You can also find out current selling prices in the area by speaking to local estate agents and/or checking local papers – if you find the property is over-priced, you can ask them to negotiate on the price!
  3. Have you taken independent professional advice? Get professional independent advice on any deal that would mean committing to any financial products, make sure you know the interest rate(s) and redemption penalties.  With some incentives you may have to agree to a financial agreement that will mean having to pay a significantly higher interest rate or penalty charges, especially after any fixed rate period is over.   Be careful of any complex financial set-ups that can be offered (i.e. bridging finance or paying the deposit by taking out a loan/credit-card), especially through investment groups/clubs.
  4. Will you have a mortgage in place in time? Make sure you see a mortgage adviser early so that you can get a mortgage and for how much -otherwise you may lose your reservation fee/deposit if you can’t get a mortgage in place by the required completion date.  The BBC Mortgage Calculator  and similar online tools are helpful as they can give you an idea of how much you would have to pay monthly at different interest rates, also how much your repayments would be if interest rates increased.
  5. Will your solicitor be in place in time? Ensure that you have a solicitor in place to start the legal proceedings after you have put down a reservation fee.
  6. Does the contract have provision for a pre-completion inspection? Make sure that the contract provides for a pre-completion inspection by your surveyor and a mechanism (both financially and practical) for dealing with outstanding ‘snags’. This is a thorough inspection carried out on the completed property to ensure the developer has completed their work to the required standard and specification.
  7. Have you researched your plot? Choose your plot wisely, a little extra space, a garden or an outward aspect (ie not facing internally into the development), can add thousands to the resale value.
  8. Are there any more phases in the development? Check how many phases there are to the development, if you are in the early phases you can benefit from good capital growth, but the other phases may not be completed until a number of years later so you might end up living there while building is still going on.
  9. What is the property tenancy? Confirm if the property will be leasehold, freehold or common-hold, and thoroughly checking out any associated costs – maintenance/service charges and any ground rent charges could add hundreds of pounds to your yearly costs.
  10. If a buy-to-let, what is the local rental market like? If buying an investment buy-to-let, research the local rental market to ensure the rent you can charge will cover the monthly mortgage repayments and all costs (including any maintenance or ground service charges!). Some guaranteed rental yield incentives may just be camouflage a poor rental market, so check the property is in an area where there is a healthy demand for rental property and it has not been flooded with excess buy-to-let investment properties.

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