Earlier this year, the government revealed ambitious plans to build 200,000 new homes in a bid to ease the housing crisis. The plans involve constructing new garden villages and towns which will each have between 1,500 and 10,000 new homes.
In addition, thousands of ‘starter homes’ will be built this year, with first-time buyers between the ages of 23 and 40 receiving a discount of at least 20% below market value. The launch of the new lifetime ISA in April should also help to make the process easier for aspiring homeowners. This all points to good news for those struggling to get on the property ladder, and will hopefully make stepping onto the first rung that much easier.
Whether you’re buying your first home or selling up and moving on from your existing property, the appeal of a brand new property is easy to understand. After all, who wouldn’t want a property built to modern standards: energy-efficient, high-spec, low running costs – and chain-free to boot!
However, whilst you might expect the conveyancing process of a new build home to be a simple one, the process is very different from that undertaken on an existing property, and often far more complex.
Conveyancing of a New Build Property
When buying a new build home, the actual property you plan to purchase may not even be built yet and you may commit to the purchase based on the viewing of a show home. This is what’s known as buying ‘off-plan’.
Things initially move quickly in the world of new build conveyancing. When you decide that you are ready to make an offer on a prospective property, the developer will require a reservation fee before accepting. More often than not, this is non-returnable. You should also make sure you have a mortgage offer in place before committing to paying the reservation fee as these can take a long time to come through and can risk delaying the process.
Once this fee has been paid you will have a limited amount of time to exchange contracts – usually around 4 weeks. You should therefore have researched experienced new build conveyancers and be prepared to instruct them as soon as the reservation fee has been paid. Unfortunately, developers can be strict when it comes to deadlines for the exchange of contracts, particularly if there is a lot of interest in the property. If these aren’t met, then you are at risk of losing your would-be home and your reservation deposit.
Whilst those initial stages of conveyancing for a new build can be a hasty business, you can rarely expect to receive a completion date from the builders once your new home has been secured. The date between exchange of contracts and moving in could be many months, if not years!
The developer’s conveyancers will give your conveyancing lawyers notice of when the property is ready. Completion must then happen within a specified period, usually 2 weeks.
Due to the strict deadlines and complexities of new build conveyancing, it’s important that you choose a solicitor who has significant experience in this field. Our team of expert conveyancing solicitors have decades of collective experience in this specialist area and are committed to delivering a smooth and stress-free service.
If you would like to discuss new build conveyancing in further detail, call us on 01702 477106 to arrange a free 30-minute consultation with one of our team.