Buying your first home is a huge financial decision. It requires the investment of time and research to make sure that the choice is made.
Your first home is more than just an economical gamble. Rather, it is the foundation upon which the years of your life are expected to build. Therefore, before buying your first home, it is essential to meticulously consider every aspect of the process.
While some individuals choose to place their finances in a flat, others are drawn towards houses. The decision behind each choice ultimately depends upon the needs of the family, as well as their budgets.
However, in the case you choose to place your money in a home, there are a plethora of additional options that must be considered.
For instance, you have the option to buy a pre-built home or a new-build home that can be customised. Additionally, you can also invest in detached or semi-detached homes, or you can place your money in a bungalow or a cottage.
The ensuing guide will tell you all that you need to know about purchasing a new build home. In addition to discussing the pros and cons of new builds, the blog would also provide a detailed new build snagging checklist to make sure that you get your money’s worth.
Types of homes you can buy
Before making the decision to purchase new-build homes, it is important to learn about the types of home you can buy. The following enumerates the investment options available for potential homeowners.
Flats are mostly found in urban areas, such as London or Birmingham. They provide the unique facility of accommodating a large number of people within a single building. However, each building features multiple flats, thus providing you with privacy and space. If you have a small family, or if you plan to live alone, investing in flats is ideal. Additionally, this type of accommodation is relatively cheaper, which makes it a fitting option for someone on a budget.
- Two-Storey Flats
If you are looking for a relatively bigger space, the two-storey flats are the perfect option. They are popularly known as a maisonette or a duplex flat. Typical of a traditional flat, the maisonette includes a few units in a single building. However, each unit comes with two floors, which means that there is a built-in staircase that divides the living space into two separate floors. If you want to accommodate a slightly bigger family on a budget, the two-storey flats would be the right choice.
- Studio Flats
A studio flat is a perfect option for a single individual, or a couple looking to purchase their first property together. This type of living space amalgamates a kitchen, bedroom and living area into one large open space. While studio flats are typically smaller, they provide an aesthetic appeal. However, as there is no segregation between rooms, this type of accommodation is not well-suited for someone who enjoys privacy.
- Converted Flats
Converted flats are not traditionally flats, rather they are old and large homes that are divided into different floors. This process is called a period conversion. The number of units available in a converted flat depends upon the original size of the property. For instance, a smaller property may only feature two units, whereas a large property can include up to three to four units. The disadvantage of living in a converted flat is that it can be quite noisy, as the original building was intended to be a home for a family. Considering this, if you are thinking of investing in a converted flat, choose an option that comes with sound insulation.
- Detached Homes
Detached houses are private homes that are not connected to another building. They offer homeowners privacy and space; however, this option is quite expensive. A detached home typically includes a front and back garden, along with a driveway. This type of accommodation is typically chosen by large families who enjoy a serene and private space for themselves.
- Semi-Detached Homes
Unlike detached homes, semi-detached houses are only connected to another property via a wall on one side. This type of accommodation provides more space for the road. In contrast to detached homes, semi-detached properties are relatively cheaper, as they fail to offer the same amount of privacy.
- Terraced Houses
Terraced houses are attached to other homes on both sides. They are seen in a row of homes, connected to each other but divided by a wall. Terraced houses are quite popular in larger cities, as they save a lot of space. Additionally, they are more affordable than detached and semi-detached homes.
- The First and Last Terrace House
The initial and the last terrace house is quite similar to semi-detached homes, as they are only connected to another property on one side. However, as they are limited in number, it is difficult to find these properties on the market.
Cottages are more popularly seen in the countryside. These charming homes are relatively smaller and not as updated as some of the modern homes. Cottages are available in either single storey or double storeys, however, in the case of the latter, the ground level is slightly more spacious than the first floor. The quaint accommodation comes with thick and robust walls, which makes it ideal for the winter season. While cottages are now commonly bought as vacation homes, they can also be used all year round by families who wish to live in the countryside
Bungalows are detached homes that are only available in single-storey. They appear to be smaller, however, some bungalows provide space inside the roof area. However, this type of accommodation is more expensive than detached homes.
- Mansions and Conservation Properties
Mansions and conservation properties are the most expensive accommodation, they are luxurious, high-end, and extremely spacious. Certain mansions come with a rich history, which is classified as ‘historical locations of interest.’ However, due to their historical significance, these properties face a lot of restriction in the addition of new construction. Traditionally, mansions include several rooms, multiple floors, gardens, pools and multiple acres of lands.
- New Builds
As the name suggests, new build homes are houses that are under construction or were constructed two years back from the current date. New build homes provide homeowners with the liberty to customise the building to accommodate their families- or their own, individual needs. This type of accommodation has several advantages and disadvantages, so if you are interested in getting a new build property, keep reading!
Pros of a New Build Home
As stated earlier, new build homes have several benefits. You can enjoy the following perks if you choose to invest in a new build home.
- Liberty to Customise the Living Space
When investing in a new build home, it is beneficial to buy off-plan. Buying off-plan means making the payments before the developer has completed the construction project. However, just to be on the safe side, it is recommended to invest during the mid-construction phase. At this stage, you can still get customised finishing and still gauge an idea of what the end result would appear to be. You would have to pay a small deposit to benefit from a brand-new home that can be personalised to your liking. Some of the changes that are made include choosing the number of storeys, the number of units you want, the type of floor plan preferred, as well as any other feature that you may find appealing.
- New Builds are Chain-Free
If you are buying an off-plan property, there wouldn’t be any hassle of a chain influencing the time period in which you can move into your home. Chain-free homes are those in which the seller is not looking for a new home, prior to selling their old one. As a result, you can save time and make the decision to move in whenever it is feasible for you.
- New Build Warranty Included
When placing your money in a new build property, make sure that a warranty is extended by a Home Warranty Body. The warranty functions as insurance to protect your financial interests, in the unfortunate case that the home encounters problems in the future. Some of the warranty provides are:
- National House Building Council (NHBC): The National House Building Council (NHBC) extends protection to home buyers by providing a ten-year Buildmark warranty. The organisation aims to elevate construction standards of newly constructed homes in the UK. This warranty is the most popular, as it covers up to eighty per cent of the new-build market.
- Local Authority Building Control (LABC): The Local Authority Building Control offers a range of structural warranties for developers, contractors, self-builders, as well as housing associations.
- Checkmate Warranty: Checkmate also extends up to ten to twelve years of new home warranty insurance policies to freshly constructed or converted homes.
- Premier Warranty: Premier Guarantee Structural Warranty further extends protection for a period of ten years, following the completion of the home.
Essentially, the type of warranty you choose, as well as its coverage would depend on its provider. Considering this, it is crucial to thoroughly research and study the options available, as it can largely impact the decision of purchasing a new build property.
- Energy- Efficient
A vast majority of the new build homes utilise contemporary building methods to create energy-efficient homes. These houses are constructed after taking the energy-saving features into consideration. As a result, with a new-build home, you can not only reduce your carbon footprint, but you can also cut the cost of energy bills.
- Low Heating Bills
As stated earlier, new build homes are constructed using energy-efficient techniques. This means that they are able to retain heat during the winter season, thus cutting the cost of heating.
- Relatively Affordable
Most people wonder, “are new builds overpriced?” On the contrary, this type of accommodation is significantly more affordable than investing in older homes. In most cases, you are only required to pay a five per cent deposit for a new build property, after considering the benchmark price.
Additionally, if you are a first-time buyer living in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the Help to Buy scheme can make the process of buying a home more affordable. This scheme provides assistance to first-time buyers and existing homeowners by offering them the opportunity to pay a reduced deposit than what is normally required.
Instead, the government offers a loan that covers a certain share of the property. However, as a homebuyer, you are still required to pay the mortgage that covers the remaining cost. Often, Help to Buy schemes are also called Equity Loan Schemes.
However, the criteria for the Help to Buy scheme vary in terms of location, therefore, it is recommended to learn about its requirements in accordance with your location.
Cons of a New Build Home
There are certain disadvantages that come with purchasing a new build property. However, you can avoid some of these issues by creating a snagging list. The following problems can be encountered while purchasing a new build property.
- New Builds are Not as Spacious
This type of accommodation tends to lack space. For instance, you may have to settle for a smaller garden or deal with rooms that are not as large as you would want them to be. However, if you invest in off-plan property, changes can be made to accommodate larger rooms. With that said, you would still have to compromise on space in a different area of the home.
- They Lack Character
Unlike Bungalows, Cottages or Mansions, new build homes do not have the same quaint charm as some of the other homes.
- Lack of Privacy
In some cases, a large number of new build properties are fit on the same land, which reduces privacy for the homebuyer. This is often done to benefit the developer. Taking this into account, you must inquire about the number of properties featured on the land before making an investment.
- Chance of Purchasing a Low-Quality Home
While it is very rare, some developers tend to finish the project quickly, without giving many regards to the quality of the construction. Considering this, it is essential to hire reliable contractors and developers to ensure that quality assessment checks are carried out on a routine basis. Moreover, it is also important to sign up with a ten to twelve-year warranty to safeguard your financial interests.
- Discovering Hidden Costs
The contracts of some new build houses include minor clauses or covenants that obligate you to pay a fee to get any modifications done. Additionally, these clauses also extend a feature that charges a fee for the maintenance of shared areas, such as a pathway. Oftentimes, these costs inflate with the passage of time, thus becoming more and more expensive. Taking that into account, be sure to read the entire contract thoroughly. You may also hire a solicitor to ensure that you are financially protected.
- Buying Leaseholds
If you are not careful, you may end up purchasing a property that is sold off as a leasehold. This means that while you have ownership of the home, the land on which the home is built is not yours. In this situation, you would be required to pay rising grounds rent to the freeholder. Considering this, it is imperative to avoid purchasing any new build that is sold as a leasehold.
- Investing in an Unfinished Property
If you invest in an off-plan new build, there is a possibility that the project is not completed within the time frame specified by the builder. Despite that, the mortgage would still have to be repaid.
On the occasion that you are one of the first buyers in the developing site, it is possible that you would have to move into a home while the surrounding houses are under construction. This can be quite inconvenient for a lot of families.
- Dealing with Defects
In new build homes, there are certain defects that you may have to deal with. Typically, these issues are not that grand and can be resolved easily.
As stated earlier, there is a possibility of finding defects in the new build. In such a scenario, it becomes essential to create a snag list to carry out an inspection.
A snag list highlights a number of defects with the property and allows you to get these errors fixed by the developer. You can either carry out this inspection yourself or get it done by a professional.
The latter is more advantageous, as these individuals carry out home inspections on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, they know exactly what to look for. Although hiring a professional inspector is costly, it can prove to be cost-effective in the long run.
However, if you are not willing to pay for a professional, creating your own snag list would be required.
Create A Snag List
To make a snag list, you would be required to investigate every nook and cranny of the home. It is important to examine every room to check for elements that may be faulty. Essentially, the snag list should consider every single factor that goes into the creation of the home. You can consider the ensuing features while creating your list.
- Are there plastering and plasterboard finish in ceilings and walls?
- What is the quality of the paint job?
- Are the window frames installed proficiently?
- Is the safety glass fitted adequately in doors and windows?
- Do the windows open and shut properly?
- Are they keys to the locks provided?
- Are there “fire-escape” windows in all bedrooms that abide by the modern building regulations?
- Are trickle ventilators fitted in the windows?
- Are the doors well-fitted and do they work properly?
- Are the doors drought-fitted?
- Is there any damage to the doors?
- Is there any cracking in the string/ wall junction of the staircase?
- Is the staircase fitted adequately?
- Is the gap between the staircase spindles less than 100mm?
- Does the height of handrails exceed 900mm?
- Are the staircase treads level?
- Is the staircase developed proficiently and is there any damage to it?
- Are the floors flat?
- Is there any observable creaking on the floors?
- Is the floor junction sealed with clear silicone to prevent draughts?
- Is all the plumbing up-to-date and complete?
- Are all the electrical requirements met?
- Are the radiators and fireplaces properly installed?
- Is the construction in the bathroom completed?
- Is the kitchen up-to-date?
- Are all the appliances installed?
- Do all the appliances work?
- Is the gas safety certificate provided?
- Is the home sanitary and dust-free?
Who Can You Talk to About Defects?
Once the snag list is compiled, it must be forwarded to the developer direct, who can take the issues into account, and subsequently, rectify them.
What to Do If the Developer Doesn’t Give Regards to Your Snag List?
On certain occasions, the developer’s fail to give any regards to your snag list. However, sometimes even when the issues are deemed resolved, they fail to meet your original demands.
In the unfortunate case that your snag list is given little to no regards, it is essential to get the issue resolved by involving an independent dispute resolution service. In this case, this would be the organisation that provides the home warranty.
It is recommended to contact this organisation within twelve months, following the developer’s final response to the complaints.
Investing in new build homes has its pros and cons. While you are able to purchase an affordable home that can be personalised to your liking, there are certain problems that you may encounter. To overcome these issues, it is imperative to thoroughly research your options and comprehensively go through the contract. This way, you can protect yourself from any problems in the future. Additionally, you must also get a new build warranty to protect your interests.
In the case you experience defects with the new build, creating a snag list to rectify the errors is essential. This list can compel the developer to fix all the issues and return you with a safe and secure home.
If you take the aforementioned into account, a new build can turn out to be your dream home!