New Build Properties

In any purchase of a property, situations arise that you may not have considered. With a new build property they are often quite specific.

Purchasing a new build can slightly lengthen or complicate the purchase process due to the additional work required to investigate the planning permissions and complete the necessary legal documentation. However, our teams of new build experts are well versed in the process they will undertake. In regards to the legal documents, instead of transferring the title of a pre-existing property, your Solicitor will need to create a brand new title along with the necessary rights, definitions and covenants.

These transactions usually come with additional work for the Solicitors, with pressure from the Developers to exchange within 28 days of receipt of draft contracts. Whilst four weeks is the target, it can take longer in certain cases particularly if waiting for a mortgage offer. Extensions to the exchange deadline will always be requested by the Solicitor and for a valid reason, such as not having received the mortgage offer.

A further difference from purchasing a pre-owned property is, if you are buying a property in the course of construction or off plan, the Builder may not be able to offer a fixed completion date. This is because the property is not yet habitable, and this can be for any number of reasons; the electricity, gas or water not being connected is one of the main reasons. In these circumstances the contract will provide for completion to take place "on notice". It is possible that it may be more than six months before completion can take place which raises additional complications regarding mortgage offers.

In some cases the mortgage Lender (if required) may be required to carry out a re-valuation once the property is habitable, therefore they must be notified that the property is ready for re-valuation. You may have to pay a re-valuation fee and the re-valuation usually takes place 7 to 10 working days before the completion date, so it is imperative that the Lenders are advised of an expected completion date as soon as possible. The Lender will not release the mortgage advance until the property has been re-valued and is satisfactory.

In addition to any Lender's valuation, you should inspect the property yourself. You are normally invited by the Developer to inspect the property two or three weeks before they are due to serve notice to complete to check for any minor works which require finishing, this is called 'snagging'. There are companies available to do professional snagging checks in the property if you don't feel confident in doing it yourself.

Some professional snagging companies available to Norfolk and Suffolk are:

The contract will normally contain clauses stating that you cannot delay completion of your purchase if there are minor snagging defects, this can include:

  • minor hairline cracks in plaster work
  • minor defects of damage in paintwork or decoration
  • normal shrinkage or expansion of timber
  • defects in plaster work or damage occurring by reason of the improper operation of any central heating system by the purchaser
  • damage or defects caused by the purchaser or their servants' agents, or licensees or invitees (on moving in)
  • damage or defects caused by fair wear and tear
  • items covered by a separate guarantee issued to the purchaser by any manufacturer
  • wooden flooring (if any)

It is normal for the Developers to insist on a completion taking place with these items outstanding.

New Build Properties Frequently Asked Questions

Contacting Us

The Residential Property Team at Fosters Solicitors have a wealth of experience and knowledge to assist you in relation to any legal property query or matter you may have. Call us on 01603 620508 or complete our and a member of the department will be in touch very soon.