Triangle Legal Services

The New Build Buying Process: What to Expect

If you’re thinking about buying a new-build home, whether you’re a first-time buyer or you’re already on the property ladder, the process can seem daunting as it’s a bit different from a standard property purchase. 

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire new-build buying process, from finding your dream home to settling in after the purchase is complete.

What You Need to Know Before Buying a New Build House

Finding the Right Home

One of the most exciting aspects of buying a new build is choosing your dream home from the ground up. However, it’s important to research locations and developers beforehand to ensure you find the perfect property.

Start by exploring potential locations that fit your lifestyle needs and budget. Factors you should be thinking about include:

  • Commutability to work and school – Check how easy it is to commute to your workplace and school. Look for good transport links, such as buses, trains, and major roads.
  • Planning applications in the surrounding areas – Is anything new being built nearby? Investigate any planned construction or developments, as these can affect property value and quality of life.
  • Availability of local amenities – Does the area have necessary amenities like supermarkets, chemists, restaurants and petrol stations?
  • Schools and health care – If you have children or plan to, look into the quality of local schools and their catchment areas and check for the availability of local GP practices and dentists.
  • Check the local crime statistics – Research the local crime rates to ensure the area is safe for you and your family. 

Look into the reputation of developers in those areas by checking reviews online and on social media. People with previous experience with the developer can let you know how easy the process was, whether the property was finished to a high standard and how good they are at resolving issues once the work is done.  

Go to show home viewings to get a feel for the quality of their builds. This is your chance to inspect the properties up close, ask questions, and decide on the features and specifications that are must-haves versus nice-to-haves. 

Don’t rush this decision—take your time evaluating all the options until you find a new build that meets your and your family’s needs.

Financial Preparation

Before falling in love with a particular property, you must check what you can realistically afford. An affordability check with your bank or building society will assess your finances and provide an estimate of how much mortgage you may qualify for.

We highly recommend speaking to an independent mortgage adviser to support you at this stage. They can guide you through the process, explain the various mortgage products available for new builds, and help you obtain a mortgage in principle to strengthen your position with developers. 

Having your finances in order from the start will make the next steps much smoother when you find your dream new build home. It’s also important to remember the other costs of buying a newly built house, such as:

  • Legal fees
  • Property valuations and surveys
  • Upgrades to house finishes like flooring, kitchens and bathrooms
  • Potential stamp duty 
  • Moving costs 
  • Possible estate management fees on communal areas 

Reserve Your New Home

Once you’ve found the right property, you’ll typically need to pay a reservation fee to the developer. This fee amounts to a percentage of the purchase price and essentially takes the property off the market for an agreed period while you complete the legal process.

Before paying the fee, it’s essential to thoroughly understand the terms of the reservation agreement. This agreement outlines necessary details like the reservation period, what happens if you need to withdraw your reservation, under what circumstances the fee is refundable, and any other conditions the developer sets. A conveyancing solicitor can help with your new build purchase

During the Buying Process

Appointing a Conveyancing Solicitor

Hiring an experienced conveyancing solicitor like us at Triangle Legal Services is essential when purchasing a new-build home. We will handle the legal aspects of the transaction and ensure your interests are protected throughout the process.

As your conveyancing solicitor, our role includes:

  • Reviewing contracts
  • Conducting searches and checking relevant paperwork to ensure the home has been built to standard 
  • Dealing with the developer’s solicitors
  • Transferring funds
  • Registering ownership
  • Checking the local authority has agreed to take over the estate’s roads and footpaths
  • Assuring all legal requirements, guarantees and warranties are met prior to the completion date.
  • Making sure all rights of way, easements and water drainage information have been correctly documented 

If problems occur during completion, it is delayed, or there are some inconsistencies between the plans and your finished home, we have seen it all before and know exactly how to resolve it. 

Securing your Mortgage

Now is the time for your mortgage broker to submit your full application and provide all required documentation to your mortgage lender. This includes proof of income, bank statements, evidence of deposit funds, and any other financial information requested.

Once your application is processed and approved, you will receive a mortgage offer outlining the terms and conditions. Review this carefully with your solicitor so you understand the details before accepting the offer.

Having your solicitor, broker and mortgage in place allows you to proceed confidently with the remaining steps.

Paying the Deposit 

After reserving your new build property, the next major step is paying the deposit. This is typically 10% of the purchase price, though the percentage can vary by developer. 

Your conveyancing solicitor will advise you on the deposit amount required and the payment timeline specified in the contract. You must pay the deposit by the agreed date to keep the purchase moving forward. Missing this deadline could potentially allow the developer to withdraw from the sale.

Exchanging Contracts

Once all checks are complete and both parties are ready to proceed, your conveyancing solicitor will draft contracts outlining the full terms and conditions of the sale. You and your solicitor will carefully review these contracts before signing.

The signed contracts are then exchanged between the buyer’s and developer’s solicitors on an agreed-upon date, legally committing both sides to the transaction. After this point, neither party can back out without facing penalties like losing the deposit or remedies outlined in the contract, so it’s important to be 100% sure before exchanging.

These properties typically come with a warranty, like NHBC or Premier Guarantee. They are designed to protect your deposit after the exchange in case anything goes wrong with the building development. These warranties provide peace of mind, ensuring your investment is safe even if problems arise. Your solicitor will be able to explain the details of these warranties and how they safeguard your deposit. 

Final Steps

Completion

Completion is the last major milestone when you buy a new home, and your solicitor will guide you through all the necessary steps.

Closer to legal completion, you will be invited to the property for a new home demonstration to check that it meets your expectations. 

The completion day marks the legal transfer of ownership from the developer to you as the new homeowner. A few things happen during this final stage:

  • Your conveyancing solicitor will conduct final checks so all legal requirements have been met and mortgage funds are in place.
  • You’ll need to pay the developer the remaining balance of the purchase price.
  • Once payment is received, you’ll be handed the keys and can finally move into your new home.

Snagging

Even with new construction homes, there may be some minor defects or incomplete items that need addressing. Soon after moving in, you’ll want to thoroughly inspect your new property and compile a snagging list of any issues found, no matter how minor they seem. 

Common snags can include:

  • Scratches or scuffs
  • Unfinished paint/plaster
  • Sticking doors/windows
  • Appliance defects

Report this list promptly to the developer. Under the warranty, the developer is obligated to resolve any legitimate snags within the first two years of buying your home and to your satisfaction. 

After Moving In

Settling In

Once you’ve completed the purchase and have the keys to your brand-new home, there are still a few important tasks to take care of as you settle in:

  • Organise buildings and contents insurance to protect your new property and belongings from day one.
  • Set up utilities like electricity, gas, water, and internet by contacting the relevant providers and arranging for accounts to be transferred into your name.
  • For the first few weeks, take time to get acquainted with your new home and community, such as finding your nearest shop, learning about the bin schedules and attending community events. 

Process of Buying a New Build FAQs

How long can you reserve a new build for?

The reservation period for a new build home typically lasts between 4-6 weeks, although this can vary regionally or by development. During this time, the property is held for you and not actively marketed to others. You will need to pay a reservation fee, which is deducted from the purchase price if you proceed with buying the home. However, if you pull out or reach the end of the agreed reservation period without paying the deposit, you will lose the reservation fee.

What are the benefits of buying a new build?

Purchasing a brand-new home offers several key advantages:

  • Lower maintenance costs initially, as everything is new
  • Higher energy efficiency compared to older properties
  • Compliance with the latest building regulations and codes
  • A blank canvas to design and decorate as you wish
  • New appliances, fixtures, and finishes included
  • An up to 10-year warranty from the builder covering structural defects

How long does the final stage of buying a house take?

The final completion stage usually takes 1-2 weeks from the point of exchanging contracts. This can be quicker if you don’t need to rely on a chain of buyers or sellers. During this period, your conveyancing solicitor conducts the final checks, arranges the mortgage funds transfer, and handles the remaining legal processes before you receive the keys.

How much deposit do you need for a new build?

Typically, you’ll need a minimum deposit of 10% of the purchase price for a newly built property. Some developers may accept 5% through government schemes like Help to Buy, but the requirements can vary from lender and development. The exact deposit amount required is specified in your contract.

How long does it take to buy a new build?

On average, the new-build buying process usually takes 2-6 months from reservation to completion. However, this can be longer or shorter as timeframes can vary based on factors such as the stage of construction, legal requirements and the mortgage application process.

Can I part-exchange a new build?

Each developer has their own set of rules, but some offer part-exchange options where they will purchase your existing home from you, allowing you to use the sale proceeds as the deposit for your new build purchase. 

To part exchange, you need to own a home that you can sell, which should be worth 65%- 75% of the asking price for the new build. This can help simplify the process, but be sure to get your home independently valued. 

Need help with buying your dream home?

Navigating the new build buying process can be complex, with many legal requirements and potential pitfalls to avoid. Choose the experienced conveyancing team at Triangle Legal Services to guide you every step of the way.

Our specialists have in-depth expertise in new-build transactions, from reviewing contracts and conducting searches to handling negotiations with developers and ensuring your interests are fully protected throughout the purchase.

Buying a newly constructed home is a significant investment and life milestone. That’s why we go above and beyond to provide exceptional service, clear communication, and peace of mind, knowing true professionals handle your legal matters.

Take the first step towards your dream home today. Contact Triangle Legal Services today to discuss your new build purchase and receive a free, no-obligation quote tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.