Buying a new build home: what you need to know

Buying a new build home comes with its own set of rules. Before you view, make sure you know what to look for

couple buying or selling their home
(Image credit: Getty)

It's May, which means it's officially time for the property rush – the spring-summer period between May and August where, according to government statistics, more people buy new homes than throughout the rest of the year. Within the property world, houses in new developments remain popular, especially with young couples. 

Eloise Robins, Director at SiteSales Property Group, says, 'During the late spring surge, potential homeowners will see lots of competition when looking to snap up a property in a brand new development. 

'With this in mind a little practical preparation can go a long way to help potential buyers best prepare to secure their dream home when looking at show homes and marketing suites.'

If you're looking for a new home, this can be an exciting time to explore what's out there – but before you dive in, consider whether you've got the tools and knowledge you need to get the most out of your search. And if not, thanks to property sales and development agency SiteSales Property Group, this handy checklist of the steps you need to take before investing in a new home, will be invaluable.

Book an appointment

'Call ahead to book an appointment to guarantee one-on-one time with a sales consultant,' Eloise advises. 'Having an appointment means the viewing can be tailored towards your requirements.'

Ring ahead

Before your appointment, make sure you have everything you need for every eventuality, and ring ahead to check. 'You may fall head over heels for the property and want to reserve on the day, so there's no harm in bringing identification, proof of address and a payment card,' Eloise says.

Ask about tenure

'Tenure refers to the type of financial arrangement that the property is being sold under,' Eloise explains. 'This could be private sale, shared ownership or shared equity. Before you visit, find out what's available and what you are eligible for.'

Take a tape measure

Sticking to the theme of always being prepared, make sure you can visualise how you'll be living in your new home. 'If you have existing furniture or you want to find out what will fit, you will want to get an idea of the space in the show home or apartment,' Eloise says. Measure up your favourite items and bring a list of the details with you to check.

Take notes, photos and a brochure

Most people need some time to think about a potential property after the viewing, so make the decision as easy as possible for yourself by documenting the visit. 'There is a lot to process, so taking notes and a brochure, as well as requesting that the consultant emails additional information, will make it easier for you to reflect on your visit in hindsight,' Eloise explains.

Don't be hasty

Summer is the busiest time of the year for the property market, but that doesn't mean you should rush into a sale. Eloise agrees. 'If you're unsure about any element of the property, you can book a follow-up viewing and bring friends and family along for a second opinion,' she says.

Ask questions

It can be intimidating when faced with a determined property expert who's trying to sell you a house, but this is your chance to get the important details and ask anything that's on your mind. Some questions you might ask include:

  • Can I make changes to the property?
  • When is the completion date of the development?
  • What are the deadlines for exchange from the day I reserve?
  • Who are the recommended solicitors?
  • Are there extra costs such as service charge and ground rent?
  • Is the property freehold or leasehold?
  • Is the property pet friendly?
  • Is there parking on the development?
  • How far is the nearest station or transport links?
  • Is there a residents' association?
  • What facilities are on site - e.g. bike store, gym, communal areas and concierge?
  • Are there any subletting restrictions?
  • How much is the deposit?
  • How much stamp duty do I need to pay?
  • Is there a new build warranty and what does it cover?
Ellen Finch
Former deputy editor

Formerly deputy editor of Real Homes magazine, Ellen has been lucky enough to spend most of her working life speaking to real people and writing about real homes, from extended Victorian terraces to modest apartments. She's recently bought her own home and has a special interest in sustainable living and clever storage.