It’s been a few months now, so I thought it was time to share my top tips on buying a new build home. Buying a house is an extremely stressful thing to do. It’s complicated, messy, and emotional, and that’s just the packing! I have moved a lot in my life, and my husband and I have bought houses, sold houses, rented houses and even built a house before. We recently purchased a new build home, and I won’t lie, it’s not been smooth sailing. We have had several ups and downs, surprises and disappointments along the way, but it’s definitely worth it!
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that buying a new build home is like having a baby. There’s the excitement and eager anticipation before the birth, the same as before you move into your new home. Then the big day arrives, and everyone’s hyped up. Then after the first few days, you start to look around and realise that some bits are a bit broken and not quite what you expected! Lol, You’re still happy of course, but the reality is a little different to before with you had those rose-tinted glasses on!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.
So here are my Top Tips on Buying a New Build Home
Expect delays before completion
One of the most important tips on buying a new build home that I can’t stress enough is to expect delays before completion. The housebuilder will try to manage your expectations but take it from me; your eager anticipation will likely not match the reality of building contractors abilities. Your moving in date can be affected by anything from a delay of building materials to a worldwide pandemic! Nothing is certain.
Another factor to consider is where you’re moving from – are you going to be selling in order to buy? If so, you’re in a chain and the other parties in the chain will have an impact on your completion date, it’s not only building contractors.
If you’re using the Government’s Help To Buy Scheme, that WILL also play a part in the timing of your completion date going forward.
Advice on Solicitors & Legal Fees
Many of the new build house builders encourage you to use their solicitors. These are often large law firms with 100s of applications going on at the same time. If you’re expecting a personal touch, you won’t get one. You’re an application number, and they are swamped. At the time, you might think to yourself that using their recommended solicitor will help ease the process. It won’t. You might find that they are cheaper at the time of getting quotations too; however, I would urge you to get a detailed quotation if you do end up going the cheaper route.
Get a details quotation of services and fees before you start the legal process. One of the main issues buyers of new build homes face is discrepancies in the legal fees. When the time comes to complete, on the actual day of completion, there won’t be an opportunity to dispute legal fees. If you don’t pay on the day, your completion won’t go ahead. However, you will be able to dispute this afterwards if there are any problems, but only if you have a full itemised quotation in advance. Don’t accept things like ‘sundries’!
Make Sure You Get Insurance sorted!
We were one of the first to move into our new build home on our new street, so our postcode did not exist on the usual price comparison sites! Let me say that again … our postcode did not exist! I can’t tell you the frustrations this caused on so many levels! And insurance was one of the worst! Here’s a simplified breakdown of what types of insurance you might need:
- Buildings Insurance – this is for the house and the land you purchase.
- Contents Insurance – this is for the inside contents of your home (furniture and electronics, appliances, etc.).
- Mortgage Insurance – If you have a mortgage, you need this is to cover the mortgage, should anyone named on the mortgage die. You have to have this so that the mortgage company don’t end up without someone to pay them. Or, worst-case scenario, they get your house, and your loved ones lose it. There are different types of mortgage insurance, you could get a life insurance policy (to cover the value of the mortgage if you die), or you could go for income protection insurance (which covers you for loss of income). I’d suggest using a broker to help you navigate this one.
One of the biggest surprises for us was when it came to car insurance. When we contacted our car insurers to change our address (even though we had only moved 2 blocks away from our previous address), they refused to insure our vehicles. They gave us five days to find new insurers before the contracts were to be cancelled by them. This threw us, and we really did struggle to find new car insurance at an affordable price at our new address. This might not be such a big deal if you move into your new build home towards the end of the estate build completion, but if you’re one of the first, it’s not fun!
Don’t kid yourself into thinking you’re moving into a perfect property just because it’s a new build and you spent good money on it. No. There will be snags. Accept it before you even set foot in the house because otherwise, it can be extremely upsetting and disappointing.
When it comes to snags, here is some advice from myself and my new neighbours (who are all so lovely – another bonus to add to the list!):
- Try to maintain a good relationship with the site team who will be attending to your snags.
- Be firm in asking for fixes to be made.
- Try to get them to provide you with realistic, concrete dates and times to address each issue on your snag list.
- Ascertain the correct communication channels and the team who will be dealing with your snag list.
- Building contractors seem to have a high turnover of staff so keep a written record of all snags, dates and anything that is agreed on between you and the building contractor, site team and customer services department. You will need to be more organised than they are.
Other Advice and Tips on Buying A New Build Home
Here’s some extra advice and tips on buying a new build home in the UK:
- Order your blinds/curtains in advance – new build homes are basically a blank canvas, so there won’t even be curtain poles up when you move it. The contractors usually let you go in a few weeks before to measure up for blinds or curtains. Make sure you plan this at least a month in advance of your estimated move-in date. Our first night in we had nothing, but fortunately, the blinds arrived the day after.
- Brush up on your DIY and flat packing skills! Become comfortable with terms like, what’s a dell, did you charge the drill, where’s the tape measure, and quite possibly, the most important tip in this whole post … purchase an electric screwdriver with adjustable heads! You will thank me later!
- Do some digging and ask around about the reputation of builders you’re considering. Remember to balance this with reality – everyone will have a good and a bad opinion, so you need to hear more than one story and then weigh up what you are prepared to accept or not accept. And then balance this with your budget too.
- Have a look on social media for people who are documenting their journey about buying a new build home, specifically looking for ones who are on your new estate, or who have bought with the same housebuilders as you are. Reach out to them too; most of them are very kind and helpful and will gladly share their experiences and tips. Like this lovely lady who is one of my new neighbours and has the most instaworthy home ever!! #homedecorenvy
- If you are one of the first people to occupy your new home, you will most likely be living on a building site. Typically they release a few houses at a time. At the time of writing this, we were the 4th people to move in on our new street, and there are 4 houses occupied behind us. The rest of the estate with a planned 50 houses in total means that we have to put up with heavy construction traffic, a lot of banging and clanging, and I won’t lie, it’s extremely disruptive. Roll on July 20201 when we are hoping it will all be complete. This is definitely something that I knew was going to be a reality, but when you’re in your home and have to put up with it, it’s not pleasant.
I hope this has given you some of the answers you were looking for when it comes to advice and tips on buying a new build home. It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s exciting, fun, exhausting and emotional. But it’s yours, it’s an investment, and it’s you investing in your new home, your new life. Enjoy it.