There are a number of benefits to buying a new build home. With more choices available in a new residential development, no seller chains, new build warranties and energy-efficient features, buying a brand new home can be an appealing alternative to purchasing a period property which can come with a number of hidden issues.
However, new build conveyancing can be complex and it is important that an experienced property conveyancer is involved in the process to ensure that all proceedings are legally sound.
What is the difference between new build conveyancing and regular conveyancing?
Because new builds are often still in the construction phase when purchased, there is a higher risk of things going wrong, such as delays caused by extreme weather, developers failing to comply with planning regulations or NHBC inspections not being passed from builder to buyer.
There is often a large amount of documentation required, tight timescales to meet and numerous searches and checks that need to be conducted by a conveyancer to ensure that the property is compliant and that the buyers are protected.
What does a conveyancer do?
New build conveyancing is concerned with the process of legally transferring ownership of a new build property to the buyer.
A conveyancer specialising in new builds will:
- Conduct local authority searches
- Check the property to confirm drainage, water, electricity and gas access
- Ensure that all building control and planning permissions are approved and accessible
- Provide clarity around restrictive covenants that could prevent future development on the property
- Make sure that your mortgage offer is valid upon completion
What is the new build conveyancing process?
At the start of the process, in most cases, you will be purchasing a property without actually seeing it as it has yet to be constructed. You will have to rely on CAD images, build specifications and show homes to help visualise what your home will look like. This is called an ‘off-plan’ purchase. Below is the process you can expect when purchasing a new build property:
1. You make a reservation
The first step is reserving your chosen property. In order to do this, you will need to pay a non-refundable reservation fee. With most new builds, the property is reserved for 28 days.
2. You select an experienced lawyer
The next stage is instructing a conveyancer. You will need to make sure that they are specialists in new builds, as the required documentation needs to be submitted accurately and to a tight deadline.
3. Conveyancing checks are arranged
A number of checks and searches need to be carried out in order to ensure that the property is compliant with planning regulations. This can include a local authority search, a water search and ordering an environmental agency to conduct an environmental search to ensure that the property is not being built on contaminated land.
4. The property’s market value is specified
Once searches have been completed and no issues have been identified, you will be able to secure your mortgage with the lender. If the new build is unfinished at this point, the mortgage lender will be able to determine the property’s market value based on the average property prices in the area, the demand for new builds, and the plans and specifications of the property.
5. Your mortgage deposit is paid
Once the contracts have been exchanged, it is time for you to pay the mortgage deposit. The deadline for paying the deposit is usually within 28 days of reserving the property.
The completion date is typically 10 days after the developer has confirmed that the property is structurally complete. This will be the day that your conveyancer transfers ownership of the property to you and they will arrange for your mortgage funds to be ready to complete the sale.
New build homes can offer a fresh and exciting prospect, particularly if you are a first-time buyer and are seeking a chain-free property that you can easily customise to suit your needs.
Working with reputable developers and/or builders and using a conveyancer who is a specialist in new build conveyancing can help mitigate the risks involved with purchasing a new build property.
At Peter Ross, our residential conveyancing team has extensive experience in new-build conveyancing and can support you through the process.
Contact our friendly team for further information.