Buying a New Build: A Definitive Checklist For Homeowners

With more housing developments appearing all over the country, many buyers are opting to buy a new build when moving house. A popular option for first-time buyers especially, new builds come with the appeal of starting out from scratch and putting your own stamp on things. 

However, as with buying a property, buying a new build has several factors to consider. As with any purchase, there’s a lot to be considered making sure that the decision you make is the right one. 

Today, Best Move has put together the complete guide on buying a new build, including factors that will help you make your decision, and your checklist for before, during and after moving day.

What are the pros & cons?

It goes without saying that purchasing a property is a huge financial commitment, so it’s important to make sure that you consider purchasing a new build from all areas before deciding. So, let’s look at the pros and cons you can expect.

Pros of Buying a New Build

It’s certainly easy to see the appeal that comes with purchasing a newly built property. The idea of a fresh canvas to decorate and the prospect of starting out from scratch is often the factor that sways most buyers, but there can also be benefits on the financial side too.

Lower Maintenance Costs

Beneath the aesthetic appeal of having brand new appliances and a shiny new kitchen, you also have the financial appeal.

According to The Home Guide, having new appliances, carpets, plumbing, windows, and garden space means that you won’t need to spend money on upgrades or repairs, which you can, of course, invest into other areas of your house move.

Lower energy bills often come with a hefty amount of maintenance in order to get there, but with a new build, energy-efficient properties will already be put into place. New builds today come with new electrical items, improved insulation, double glazing, and a brand new boiler, meeting the criteria for energy efficiency.”

Buyers Input

Depending on what stage of the build the prospective property is at, you may choose features such as carpets, tiles, kitchen units, and sometimes finer details like doors and storage space. Even better, these features will be completed by the time you move in, so the sooner you’ll be able to unpack and enjoy your new home.

Lower Cost Energy Bills

Lower energy bills often come with a hefty amount of maintenance in order to get there, but with a new build, energy-efficient properties will already be put into place. New builds today come with improved insulation, double glazing, and a brand new boiler, meeting the criteria for energy efficiency. 

Builders Warranty

Most new build properties will come with a 10-year builders warranty from the National House Building Council (NHBC) or from the company that has completed the build, giving you additional peace of mind if certain things go wrong.

Incentives

There are several incentives available from the government that help first-time buyers and home movers, the most common being Help to Buy. This is an equity loan aimed at first-time buyers where only a 5% deposit is needed and the government lends the buyer up to 20% the property’s value, which has the added benefit of being interest-free for the first 5 years.

Ultimately, the Help to Buy loan means that first-time buyers require a smaller deposit and a mortgage of as little as 75%.

There is also the starter homes initiative, aimed at first-time buyers aged between 23-40, allowing them to step onto the property ladder. This involves building homes that are sold at a discounted price from their market value, allowing buyers who qualify to purchase properties up to £250,000.

Starting From Scratch

As mentioned earlier, buying new builds brings with it the appeal of a blank canvas for prospective buyers, and for first-time buyers, this can be a refreshing prospect if they’ve lived in rented accommodation with decorating restrictions previously. Additionally, others will find the prospect of living in a house that no one else has lived in before a more appealing one.

Cons of Buying a New Build

With making a financial decision as huge as this one, it’s important not to ignore the setbacks of purchasing a newly built property. 

Higher Prices

There’s no denying that the benefit of owning a new build can come with a premium price tag. Starting out from scratch can mean that you must purchase basic fixtures and fittings such as curtain rails, coat hooks and bathroom cabinets, so it’s important to factor in these costs.

Living on a Building Site

Depending on the building phase of the housing development, you may live on a construction site until the work is complete. This won’t phase some people, but it’s a factor to consider if you have young children or pets. Additionally, it’s important to realise that the chances are you’ll be having to put up with noisy, dusty, and muddy surroundings for a few months after you move. 

Dates and Delays

In most cases with a new build, you’ll be given an estimated completion date – but remember, this date is provisional. Depending on the phase of the property and your current living situation, this can incur additional costs – for example, if you need to stay with friends or relatives temporarily and need to pay for storage space in the meantime. Not forgetting the added stress and anxiety that can come with it.

Buying a New Build – Your Ultimate Checklist

Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a new build, the number of tasks that need to be done before, during and after moving day can be daunting. However, by careful planning and staying organised, you can ensure that nothing gets forgotten.

Before You Move

The most important thing before you move into your new home is to arrange for a handover/new home demonstration. This is so that your builder can show you how things such as appliances, central heating and smoke alarms work, and it also gives you an opportunity to go around the property and check things over. This should be arranged before your moving date, so that ideally, any issues you flag can be rectified before you move in. 

Handover

The key thing with the handover is to take your time and be thorough. Bring a notepad and pen with you so you can make a list of anything you spot and don’t be afraid to take pictures of anything that needs to be dealt with prior to moving day. To some, it may seem like overkill, but it’s also a good idea to check on the basics – flush toilets and run taps to ensure that plumbing works correctly, check that doors and windows open/close/lock as they should, and ideally familiarise yourself with how any appliances work. Once the handover is complete, you can present your builder with a list of concerns or issues you’ve spotted, and ideally, these should be rectified before you move in.

Measure Up

Before moving day, head over to your property and take your measurements. Measure up for curtains, furniture and anything else you’re planning on purchasing. Of course, it’s important to mention that you shouldn’t make any bigger investments until you have exchanged contracts and you have an official move-in date.

Arrange Removals

Hiring a removal company is a great way to take the stress out of moving house. Best Move has several services available that can help things run smoothly on moving day, such as packing services providing boxes, bubble wrap and everything else you need to pack up your belongings, and a professional domestic removal service where a specially trained team will take care of the heavy lifting for you.

That’s not all either. Best Move also has services that can make things easier for you even after you move. This includes flat pack furniture assembly to efficiently put together those pesky pieces of furniture for you, even getting rid of the cardboard boxes and packaging at the end too; and professional end of tenancy cleaning for if you’re moving out of a rented property.

Internet Installation

Depending on the availability of the company you use, it can sometimes take weeks to get your internet set up, so make sure you get things sorted early and book your internet installation as soon as possible. Sometimes, the company will arrange a date for your internet to be switched on and you’ll be able to get your router delivered in the post to your new address and it’ll just be a case of plugging it in. 

If you’re also looking at saving money on your move, now can also be a good time to see if you can get a better value deal on your broadband

Check Your Postcode is Registered

New builds will come with a brand new address and postcode, which when you first move in, may not be found in many firms’ databases, which can be problematic when you arrange a mail redirection and start changing addresses. It’s up to your builder to get the postcode registered with the local council, and once Royal Mail is notified that mail can be delivered to it, it’ll go live. You may still find it takes a few months for databases to get updated with certain companies though, so be prepared to give delivery drivers and guests directions!

Order Your Bins

It can sometimes take weeks for your bins to be delivered, so getting your general waste and recycling bins ordered in plenty of time is a must. Contact your local council as soon as you can to get them ordered, and it’s also worth doing your research to find when your bins will be collected so that you don’t end up with a backlog after you move in.

Finer Details

Purchasing the finer details of your new home is something that can be done before you complete, so it can be a good idea to get these things out of the way to save time for the bigger things. This includes smaller pieces such as:

  • Toilet roll holders
  • Coat hooks
  • Curtain poles
  • Bathroom cabinets
  • Additional storage if required
  • House numbers

Check Your Solicitor Has Received the Relevant Documents

Go through your paperwork before you move to make sure that everything is all in order. Your solicitor should receive all of the paperwork before you complete, so double check they have the following:

  • A copy of your new home policy and warranty documents
  • Instruction manuals and guarantees for your appliances
  • Details of who receives payment for ground rent or service charges
  • If you’re a leaseholder, a copy of your lease

Moving Day

So this is it – the big day. So much happens on moving day that it can be difficult to know where to begin. By opting for a professional removal service such as Best Move, you can take out a great deal of the stress and heavy lifting, leaving your time free to tick the following off of your list for the day.

Check Everything Again

You may have already checked everything twice prior to moving day, but there’s certainly no harm in checking everything again. Make sure all the relevant paperwork is with the right people and has been dealt with, and check all of the finer details of your new home once you’re in. Again, if you spot anything else that needs rectifying, make sure that you notify your builder as soon as possible. 

Read Your Meters

It’s an obvious one, but you would be surprised how easily forgotten this task can be. Not only should you read your meters when you leave your current property, but also when you arrive at your new one. Not only does this ensure that your energy provider will have the correct numbers for your meters, but in a lot of cases, it’ll mean you can avoid a large bill arriving for utilities you haven’t even used.

Locate Your Stopcock

If you haven’t already, make sure that you locate where your stopcock is. It’s unlikely, but in the event that you need to turn your water off in an emergency, you’ll be glad that you did!

Check Your Appliances & Familiarise Yourself with User Manuals

If you didn’t get a chance to do this at your handover, now is the time. Once you’ve got the bulk of your things moved into the new house, run your appliances to check that everything is in good working order. You should have been given your user guides to your appliances at your handover, so give them a good read through if you haven’t done so already.

After Moving In

Anyone who has ever moved house before will know that once you’re in your new home, the work doesn’t stop there. In addition to all of the unpacking that lies ahead, there are a few other factors you should know. 

Let Things Settle

If you’ve heard a few horror stories on dodgy building work for new builds, it can tempt to worry about every tiny little thing you spot. However, some of these things can be perfectly normal and will usually go away by themselves.

The most common can be condensation, caused by your house drying out and efflorescence appearing on brickwork. Both appear naturally as the house dries out so they’re usually nothing to worry about – opening windows and vents to let air circulate is a good way to help with condensation, while efflorescence can be easily brushed or wiped away. Just be aware that if you keep spotting efflorescence on your internal walls, get in touch with your builder to investigate.

Arrange Your Snagging Survey

Most firms won’t complete a snagging survey until your purchase has completed so it’s important to book this in as soon as you move into your property. Ideally, this should be done within the first year of you living in your new home.

Go Easy on the Heating

Remember that your house is still drying out at this stage, and this can lead to shrinkage resulting in small cracks. This is often exacerbated by excessive heat, so avoid turning your thermostat right up if you can.

Indeed, there is certainly a lot to remember with moving house, but with a newly built property, there are extra things to factor in. By keeping organised and staying on top of everything, you can make the entire process a much less stressful experience.

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