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What to consider when buying a property off plan

by John Saunders
23rd Apr 20 2:58 pm

New builds and developments are always going to be popping up in your area and for many homeowners, they have a lot of advantages. The opportunity to live in a brand new means that it could be tailored to your requirements, you can avoid being caught in a property chain and have the pleasure of living in a house that no one has lived in before.

Buying a new build off plan is very common, especially in these times of coronavirus where you cannot visit a site beforehand. Buying off a plan can avoid the property being taken by someone else – but before rushing in, there are a lot of considerations and things you need to check to ensure it is a worthwhile.

Have you visited the site?

New builds are usually presented in a brochure, online in a showroom, with the option to see an example property whilst the new ones are being built.

Whilst you can get a good idea from models and graphics, nothing beats going to site and seeing the builds, finishes and location first-hand.

You may find that the development is in an undesirable area, overlooking a motorway or far from local amenities such as a supermarket or train station. Sometimes, only visiting the site first hand can give you this experience and is often overlooked by buying off-plan.

What is included?

It is important to know what is included in a new build property. The showrooms can often be fully furnished and have appliances included, but this may not necessarily in the purchase.

The opportunity to include things like white goods, furniture, fittings, curtains and carpets can provide a huge saving and this is something that you should raise and try to negotiate.

Other things to raise include warranties and guarantees, such as what happens if there are any issues. A good example is a renowned developer, Griggs Homes, that offers a 10-year guarantee on new homes and a 2-year warrantee on any materials and workmanship.

Market conditions

Market conditions can sometimes inflate or deflate the price of a new build property, especially in these uncertain times of the coronavirus.

You may find that the property developers are driven and motivated, or need to close a certain number of sales so that they can repay their bank.

This should be taken into account when purchasing a new build, since you want to avoid overpaying for a property and maybe getting a good discount if you can.

What can you negotiate?

Larger property developers often come with incentives to help shift all their remaining units. For some developers, it is not uncommon to pay for your stamp duty, which on a £500,000 home can be around £15,000 in savings.

If you are getting on the property ladder and are part of a Shared Ownership Scheme, you may be able to receive up to 3 months of rent, for free.

Some developers have even said they will include free railcards worth £1,800 per year to any new buyers in commuter areas.

You should always ask the developer what benefits and discounts may be available when buying a new build.

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