How New Build Conveyancing Differs From Standard Transactions
new-build-conveyancing

How New Build Conveyancing Differs From Standard Transactions

 

New Build Conveyancing – How Is It Different From A Conventional Conveyance?

What are the main differences between buying a new build home and a used property? Buying a new build is increasingly popular, especially with first time buyers. This is primarily due to the government’s financial assistance schemes available. Also, due to the more recently proposed changes in planning application guidelines it seems likely that there will be more new homes available in the future. There are many differences, between new builds and used homes, but here we are looking at the differences when it comes to the conveyancing procedures. We will also look at how completion arrangements in particular are different with new build conveyancing than that of standard transactions. 

Reserving Your New Build Home

Competition for new builds is increasingly high. Therefore, it imperative that if you find the house in the location you are looking for; you reserve the home as quickly as possible. This often feels strange to a new buyer as there may be nothing to see. This is called buying off plan.

When you agree on the style of house and the plot, you will be asked for a reservation fee, often between £500 and £1000, by the builder. This reservation fee will be deducted from the final payment price. Upon reservation, the builder will require exchange, normally within four weeks. If you pull out of the purchase before completion you will most likely lose this reservation fee as it is non-refundable.

It is therefore best to put your legal team on notice as early in the house buying process as possible that you may be putting a reservation fee down and will require the exchange to be executed quickly, usually within four weeks. If you fail to exchange in the agreed time scale you could lose your reservation fee but more importantly, you could also potentially lose the agreed house or the plot you want.

Even more important is that you have a mortgage offer ready, so again, whilst you are looking at properties, make an appointment to visit one or more mortgage providers and obtain a mortgage offer in principal. If you explain to the mortgage provider that you are looking at new builds and may need the offer extending, then you have prepared them for this possibility also.

A mortgage offer is usually valid for six months. Since the predictability of when a new build property may complete is not always an exact science, ensure you know when your offer is coming to an end and request that the offer be extended in plenty of time.

Your legal team will carry out all of the property searches required for a new build, which may differ from those required on an existing home. One consideration to be given for new builds is that many developers put covenants on the property which prevent certain paint colours being used, or that you must obtain the builders permission if you decide to extend the property in the future or that only a particular style of window can be put in. Sometimes these covenants may extend to add things like no caravans can be parked in front of the property. It is always best to ensure you are happy with these types of restrictions. Also ask your conveyancer what these restrictions mean if you are unsure.

When you exchange, ensure that what you agreed with the builder is detailed in the exchange, for example if you agreed the larger corner plot, or a larger garage then this must be reflected in the exchange documents. It is also important that any incentives you have agreed with the builder – be it financial or non-financial are all reflected on the contract.

If you agree to purchase the show home, ensure that all of the furnishings and fixtures are clearly detailed in the exchange documents. This way, there will be no unpleasant surprises or bills on completion.

Part Exchanging and How It Makes New Build Conveyancing More Appealing 

Many builders offer a part exchange service for buyers with a home to sell. This prevents the chain from breaking and sales falling through at the eleventh hour. It also offers both the builder and the buyer certainty of timings and gives a financial undertaking to the buyer so that mortgages and dates can be set without worry of delay.

This, however, can make the process more stressful and complex. A builder will normally have a criteria which the part-exchange property must fit to offer a part exchange. Most builders require the part exchange property is at least 30% less in value than the new build being purchased. They will, usually, instruct two estate agents to give a value and make and offer within the value range. There is no estate agents fees to pay and you then have certainty of a purchase and the price being paid.

Up to date EPC certificates will be needed for the builder, along with electrical and gas certificates. Many builders require you leave curtains, carpets and light fittings so that when vacant, the property is ready to be placed on the market.

This arrangement prevents delays for both the builder and the buyer and when ready, completion can go smoothly.

Completion

When you exchange on your new build property, the difference between buying a used home and new build becomes clear. With a used home, you will be given a completion date. With a new build, there is usually no completion date. Completion will be carried out based on Notice being served on your conveyancer, by the builder’s solicitor, once the property is ready. The ultimate date by which completion must take place is known as a long stop date. The notice, when served to you by the builder, generally gives you ten working days to complete, though liaising with the builder nearer the time will generally give you a good idea when to expect the property to be finished and ready for Completion.

Also ensure that the builder passes on the benefit of any guarantees such as NHBC, and on any appliances or boilers installed. What is also worth remembering is that you need to confirm with the builder that the Building Control Certificate for the property will be issued on completion. On some instances, the New Home Warranty Provider may be carrying out the building control aspects themselves, but you cannot assume this will always be the case.

There is a recent instance noted on the Press where lenders have valued some properties at an estate in Bradford at zero pounds, a number of years following completion as it has transpired the buildings have not been signed off as structurally sound.

When completion goes through, you will be the proud owner of a new house, but here are a few matters which may be helpful once the move has taken place.

Evidently, the purchase of a new build property comes with completely different conveyancing challenges to the purchase of a used home. It is vital that you choose a conveyancing solicitor that is experienced in new build homes so that the whole process moves forward in a smooth and risk free manner, leaving you free to enjoy living in your beautiful new home.

What our clients say

Great value for money. Everything went smoothly and I was very pleased with the service provided
Rachel Whitfield
Rachel Whitfield
20:59 12 Oct 18
Excellent! Very responsive, and really helped to push the purchase. There were unexpected delays during the process, but Anthony really helped to reassure me that he was doing everything he could to progress the sale. Ultimately, it all worked out in the end, and I would highly recommend! I would also recommend for auction purposes.
Sean Stevens
Sean Stevens
09:14 21 May 18
Very happy customer. Understanding of our needs and recommended a really fantastic solicitor.
Jack Hearne
Jack Hearne
17:49 12 Oct 18
I have just completed the purchase of my flat with them. They were recommend by the estates agents Phillip Arnold and they were fantastic. My case was handled by Milena who was really helpful and always available on the phone. The online system is also really easy to use. If I buy or sell a property I will definitely be using them again.
Sharon Kelly
Sharon Kelly
18:27 20 Dec 17
I used this service following a recommendation. The online case tracker worked really well. I would recommend this service as it's vital in the coordination between Estate Agencies and between Solicitors. The service proved invaluable in helping progress the conveyancing work efficiently and effectively. Completed the transaction just before Christmas having instructed the Solicitors on the 4th.
Shelly Harrill
Shelly Harrill
16:30 19 Dec 17
Excellent Service. Final Price same as quoted.
A Google User
A Google User
14:26 19 Dec 18
Have used them twice. Both times completion happened in less than 4 weeks, even over Xmas! Totally amazing. They take the stress out of the whole process.
Daniel West
Daniel West
13:04 21 Dec 18
Excellent Service. Final Price same as quoted
Parsa Khamooshi
Parsa Khamooshi
15:54 21 Dec 18
Being a first time buyer they guided me smoothly through the whole process of moving into my first home. Very professional and economical.
Uday Seth
Uday Seth
12:31 24 Dec 18
Express Conveyancing have been excellent in the handling of my recent house sale and purchase. Would highly recommend
James Ellis
James Ellis
11:43 30 Apr 19
Express Conveyancing have been excellent in the handling of my recent house sale and purchase. Would highly recommend
Michelle Preston
Michelle Preston
12:20 30 Apr 19
ThanksThanks for handling my sale and purchase. No complaints from me. Rebecca was regularly on hand to help with my queries and deal with issues.
Claire Miles
Claire Miles
17:48 07 May 19
I bought my first home in South London with Express Conveyancing . Great professional service, I was regularly updated and looked after. Top marks, 100% recommendation from me!
Dale Griffiths
Dale Griffiths
15:58 02 May 19
Good service and happy with the conveyancer
Chris Jenkins
Chris Jenkins
22:01 17 May 19
Great service from start to finish. Was great being able to see progress online! Very quick and efficient! All staff were helpful. Highly recommend
Reece Moseley
Reece Moseley
06:20 30 May 19
I would highly recommend them. They deal with any queries promptly and efficiently. Would definitely use them again.
Sahar Dalini
Sahar Dalini
09:13 10 Jun 19
Fair prices good efficient service
Sue Batchelor
Sue Batchelor
18:46 01 Jun 19
I would highly recommend them. They deal with any queries promptly and efficiently. Would definitely use them again.
Sahar Dalini
Sahar Dalini
09:14 10 Jun 19
This company does not provide conveyancing services directly, they are an introductory company, paid by solicitors to get clients for them. Once you engage with a conveyancing solicitor suggested by them, they don't interfere, and how quick or slow the process is depends on that solicitor that paid them to recruit you. In our case the solicitor was pleasant and corteous, but a bit relaxed, and the whole process took about 9 weeks - about average, but there was nothing "express" about it.About the app to track progress, it is updated by the conveyancing solicitor, so its its usefulness depends on how much he engages with it. In our case, not so much.
Pedro Silva
Pedro Silva
18:27 02 Oct 19
Absolutely outstanding service provided by Rebecca. She really got things moving when they came to a halt. I was moved within 9 weeks. If it wasn't for Rebecca, the move wouldnt have happened that quick. Definitely use EC again in the future.
Sara Kawsar
Sara Kawsar
11:35 03 Oct 19
we purchased a new build flat. The staff at Express were very helpful in finding us our solicitors who was great.
Carl Devenport
Carl Devenport
14:48 26 Sep 19
great service. Completed quickly as promised
Mark Slavinski
Mark Slavinski
16:52 24 Sep 19
Was looking for a modern solicitor with an online website status page so you can live track your progress. The service was fast and they assigned us with a solicitor firm, which was very fast, efficient and pleasant to deal with. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Cedric Tomas
Cedric Tomas
21:29 13 Mar 20
Express provided me with an excellent firm (WYM Legal) and had a good portal for keeping me updated during the process. The portal did lack detail but nonetheless meant slightly less chasing.
Sarju Shah
Sarju Shah
10:50 11 Apr 20

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