OK, so you’ve wandered around the show rooms, ogled at the glamorous décor and you’re ready to go talk business with the sales representative and secure your home… You’re going to spend a couple of hours with them talking through different elements so here’s a handy guide.
Before you get started
Speak to the sales representative and ask if there are any completed (or almost completed) empty properties you can take a look at, this allows you to see the house without the millions of upgrades they have provided in the show home and get a real feel for the space and what your house will actually look like when you move in.
Leasehold vs Freehold
Traditionally, when you bought a property it would be freehold. This means you own the house and the land that it’s built on, however it’s more common now for builders to sell a leasehold to the property, so you own the house but not the land it’s built on and you’re then then given a lease (usually for a term of 999 years) to the property. If you’d rather have the freehold there is no harm in asking the builder, I asked mine and they handed this over without any debate.
If it is a leasehold please take a look at this article
Understanding Service & Maintenance Charges
Ask the sales representative if there will be a management company in place for the estate, a management company will look after any shared access-ways, lampposts, roads, children’s play areas etc and you’ll be expected to make regular payments to them for this under maintenance charges. If you have a leasehold property you will also pay an annual service charge for the lease.
The amount this is varies across areas, however it’s good to understand full costs so there are no surprises later down the line.
On the day you will be asked to pay a reservation fee, this varies from builder to builder but check how much it is as you usually have a limited amount of time to pay it before the plot will be offered to someone else.
Don’t be shy and make sure you ask the builders what they are going to throw in if you buy the property. Most offer some incentives and what they are will vary from builder to builder, this can typically include:
- Paying your stamp duty
- Paying your solicitors fees
- Carpets in all rooms of your house
- Offers to turf the garden
- Vouchers to pay towards option upgrades
Whatever it is that they offer you, make sure you understand the value. For example, my builder offered to turf the garden (which is tiny and would cost £180) or pay my stamp duty (which would have been around £4k) – can you imagine if I’d picked turf the garden?!
It also can’t hurt to ask them if they will come down on the price at all, don’t be scared to ask (particularly if the development is well progressed).
Most builders will give you a financial advisors details, for me I used a brilliant financial advisor (who was recommended by my builder) that helped me find the right mortgage and insurance, they got paid through the banks/companies that you take out a policy with, so for me it didn’t cost anything to use the service.
Good luck! If you’ve bought a new build and have any tips to offer please put them below!