When it comes to buying a first home, an increasing number of people are opting for a new build. This is largely due to government incentives such as the help-to-buy scheme as well as the perceived ease of purchase.
As with everything, buying a newly-built property also has its downsides. There have been several high-profile horror stories in the news and this has caused some concern for first-time buyers. To help you decide whether a new build is right for you, we’ve had a closer look at the pros and cons:
Government Incentives – The UK’s help-to-buy scheme was introduced in 2013, and has helped thousands of first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder. There are two options in the form of a mortgage guarantee and an equity loan, both available on new-build homes. The scheme does have its problems and, as with any investment, involves an element of risk. It is recommended that you speak with an independent advisor before committing to the scheme.
You can find a breakdown of the different help-to-buy options in this handy explanation via Money Supermarket.
Guarantees – Newly-built properties come with a 10-year structural warranty, protecting the buyer from any defects in the property’s structural integrity. This means that for the first decade (if you stay in your new home) you will have peace of mind in knowing that any structural issues will be covered.
Minimal Running Costs – Generally speaking, a brand new home will be more energy efficient than an older one. This will mean that your energy bills should stay relatively low, provided you’re conscientious when it comes to power consumption.
You are also less likely to encounter any repair costs, as fixtures and fittings should be in perfect condition when you move in. As long as you care for the property, maintenance and running costs should remain low for several years.
Ease of Purchase – Since you are purchasing a new home with no current tenant, the process tends to be a lot faster to complete once the property has been built. Since there’s no chain, you can be in your new home in as little as 6 weeks! Of course, this is no guarantee and you may experience delays.
Personalisation – In some cases, purchasers are able to choose the fixtures and fittings that will finish their new home. This gives you a fantastic opportunity for personalisation and some people see this as a huge benefit, especially if they plan to remain in the property for a long time.
Buying from a Plan – Often when purchasing a new build, you are buying a proposed property, not a bricks-and-mortar home. It can be difficult to visualise what the finished product will look like and the show home will rarely be an exact copy of the property you are buying. This can occasionally lead to feelings of disappointment if it doesn’t meet initial expectations.
Delays – Inevitably, most new-build projects experience delays. This can cause a problem depending on the length of validity on your mortgage offer. If the build is not complete by the time your offer expires, you will have to apply again.
Sizing – New builds are generally smaller than older homes; this is something to consider before committing to purchasing. Whilst your belongings may fit into a small space in theory, in practice it can be a whole different story!
You might also want to think about whether you have any plans to expand your family in the near future. A small home may be cosy for a couple, but add another little person into the mix and you could be struggling for space.
Living Conditions – Buying a property on a new development comes with another (rather noisy) price – you could find yourself living on a building site. It’s rare that all houses in a development are completed at the same time, so if yours is one of the first, you might be moving in whilst construction continues over the road.
After-Sales Service – If something does go wrong with your new property, you’ll likely want it repaired fast. Unfortunately, not all contractors are quick to respond to repair requests, despite having an obligation under warranty. This will largely depend on the contractor you choose, so it is definitely worth researching a company’s customer service record before buying from them.
If you’re interested in purchasing a new-build property or would like to discuss the pros and cons in more detail, Key Mortgage Advice are here to help. One of our independent experts would be happy to provide you with more information and assist you on your journey to purchasing a new home.
You can contact us via phone, email, or pop into our offices in Preston and Garstang. All contact information can be found here.
The government has promised to build a million new homes by 2020, making it likely that more and more people will be buying new build properties. In most cases, applying for a mortgage on a new build will be no different from any other property, but there are a few things you should be aware of.
With a new build, you’ll usually pay the price advertised and it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to negotiate. New homes are often considered to be more expensive because, obviously, any fixtures and fittings included are also brand new, and in some cases, you can choose elements within the home which are personal to you – a bit like buying a new car. Be aware that if the first phase of a development sells well a developer may put up the price of the next phase. By the same token, if it sells slowly you may be able to negotiate extras or discounts. You’ll also need to put down an initial deposit to secure your plot, usually £1,000-£2,000.
One of the key things to be aware of when buying a new build is that the timescales are incredibly tight. It’s likely that you’ll be expected to exchange within 28 days which can sometimes be a challenge for mortgage lenders. The best thing to do is to make sure you have everything in place for your mortgage application in advance so that you can move quickly once you’ve secured your plot.
The mortgage offer period
New builds can be bought off-plan (before the home has actually been built), but this shouldn’t present a problem for lenders. Mortgage offers are typically only valid for six months though, so be wary if the property is going to take longer to complete. In those cases, there will probably need to be a re-assessment and if there’s been a change in circumstance since your initial application the lender could refuse to extend your mortgage offer. Some lenders do offer longer validity periods, a mortgage broker such as Key Mortgage Advice will recommend the best product for you.
It’s less common nowadays, but some developers offer freebies to incentivise buying a house on their development, such as paying your stamp duty or legal fees for you. Lenders will take this into account and it may affect how much they are willing to lend.
Help to Buy
If you’re a first time buyer purchasing a new build, you may wish to consider the Help to Buy scheme. The government will provide a 20 per cent equity loan to help those who are struggling to get a deposit together. You must put down a five per cent deposit, and the remaining 75 per cent will be funded through your mortgage. The loan is interest-free for five years and most lenders will have specific products available for Help to Buy – again, this is something Key Mortgage Advice will help you with.
If you would like to discuss getting a mortgage on a new build property, or how we can help with any mortgage queries, please get in touch.