What are the benefits of buying a new build home?

In an effort to solve the UK’s housing crisis, housebuilding was touted as a top priority by Rishi Sunak, Kier Starmer and Ed Davey at the recent political party conferences. With this in mind, we consider the benefits of buying a new build home – and some of the potential disadvantages – and shed light on snagging inspections versus home surveys.



The benefits of buying a new build home

  • Modern design and features: New build homes are designed with contemporary lifestyles in mind. They often incorporate the latest architectural trends, energy-efficient technologies, and smart home features. This means you can enjoy a fresh, up-to-date living space with all the conveniences of modern life.


  • Quality assurance: Developers of new build homes must adhere to strict building regulations and standards. This ensures that your new home is constructed to a high level of quality, reducing the likelihood of structural issues that can plague older properties.


  • Energy efficiency: New build homes are typically more energy-efficient than their older counterparts. They are constructed with modern insulation materials, efficient heating and cooling systems, and double-glazed windows, helping you save on utility bills while reducing your carbon footprint.


  • Warranties and guarantees: New build homes often come with warranties and guarantees from the developer. These can cover structural defects, appliances, and other aspects of your home for a specified period, providing peace of mind for the buyer. Your new home will typically be covered by either a 10-year new home (NHBC) warranty or a 6-year architect’s certificate, both of which mean that the cost of rectifying any structural defects within this period fall to the developer of the home and not the homeowner.


  • Lower maintenance: Older homes may require costly repairs and renovations. New build homes, on the other hand, have lower maintenance costs in the initial years, allowing you to allocate your budget elsewhere.


  • Customisation: In some cases, developers offer buyers the opportunity to customise certain aspects of their new build home, such as paint colours, flooring, and fixtures, allowing you to tailor the property to your preferences.


  • Shared ownership: Many new build homes also come with the option of shared ownership if you are not in a position to buy a property outright on your own but still want to get on the property ladder.


So, are there any disadvantages to buying a new build home?   


  • Potential complications getting a mortgage – Mortgage lenders can be wary about placing a valuation on a new build home, since the main advantage of a new build property is that it is brand new and comes with a warranty. There is therefore the expectation that the property will come down in value once it is no longer brand new, and a buyer may need to pay a higher percentage for their mortgage to compensate. To mitigate the risk of overpaying for your property, always make sure you do your research on new build properties in the local area to see how well they hold their value if you are considering a new build purchase.


  • Buying off-plan – Whilst buying off-plan can allow you to have an input into the fixtures and fittings in your new home, if the property hasn’t been built yet then there can be some potential disadvantages. First and foremost, your completion date is dependent on the build schedule, which can be subject to delays. You also need to rely on the show home and CGI software to give you an idea of what your finished home will look like, which can be tricky. To avoid any disappointment, make sure you have viewed plenty of finished properties by the same developer which are the same size as your own. Also make sure you know the layout and number of homes on the development so you know how close your neighbours will be and how many near neighbours you will have. If your home is one of the first to be built, you may also have to prepare for some disruption once you have moved in, so always find out the size of the development and the building timeline before you sign on the dotted line.


  • When size IS everything – New build homes are known to be more bijou than older properties, since developers will be trying to fit as many homes as they can into the space available. Whilst you may think you are gaining an extra bedroom or bathroom, always make sure you have measured up the actual square footage since you may not be increasing the space you have in real terms.


  • Quick completion date – Some developers request a speedy turnaround from paying the deposit to completing the purchase. This doesn’t leave you with much time to get your mortgage in place or ensure all your local searches have been conducted, so make sure you are in contact with mortgage providers and conveyancers prior to paying your deposit to make sure the timescales are realistic.


  • Lack of character – If character and charm are a priority then a contemporary, linear, new-build home may not be the right option for you. On the plus side, buying a modern home makes decorating and furnishing said home a lot easier when you don’t have irregular walls and flooring or unusual layouts to work around. Many very old properties are also listed, which means you are restricted on the kind of maintenance you can do or any changes you wish to make.


  • Leasehold vs freehold – Many new build houses and flats have been sold on a leasehold basis over the years, subjecting homeowners to ground rents and restrictive and/or expensive lease requirements which have the potential for escalating and unexpected costs down the line. Thankfully, after much campaigning by leasehold property owners, proposals are finally due to be considered by the government to scrap the sale of new build houses on a leasehold basis. However, it is unclear at this stage whether this will also apply to new build flats in future.


Snagging inspection vs. a homebuyers survey


Even though they are brand new, new build homes can sometimes have minor defects or issues that need addressing. This is where a snagging inspection comes in.


 A snagging inspection is a comprehensive examination of a newly constructed property to identify any defects, imperfections, or unfinished work. It is typically carried out by a professional snagging inspector hired by the buyer. The purpose of this inspection is to compile a list of issues that the developer must rectify before the property is considered complete.


On the other hand, a home survey is a broader assessment of a property’s condition, including structural integrity, potential issues, and valuations. Surveys are more common for older properties, and you are unlikely to need a comprehensive full structural survey for a new build property, which should already adhere to strict building regulations. However, it is always useful to have a separate, qualified surveyor undertake the most basic home survey, known as a conditions report (or RICS Level 1 survey), and we would not recommend purchasing any house without a survey first.


So, whilst buying a new build home comes with numerous benefits – including contemporary design, hassle-free living, quality assurance and energy efficiency – there can be disadvantages as well. Much like any house purchase, if you decide to buy a new build home you should always do your homework and instruct qualified professionals to avoid any headaches down the line.



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