Six tips for buying new build properties

With developments popping up all over Bristol, the new build market has never been hotter

Amber Simpson, new build paralegal at Barcan+Kirby, shares her advice for buying property from a developer.

You have 28 days to exchange contracts

Most developers set a standard time frame of 28 days from receiving your papers to exchanging contracts. This isn’t much time at all.

Whilst the time frame is non-negotiable, a good solicitor will keep in contact with the developer’s conveyancers and smooth over a couple of days’ delay with them if needed.

The property won’t be ready

Most exchanges on new builds happen ‘on notice’ – meaning the property isn’t finished yet. You’ll pay your deposit when exchanging contracts and then wait until the developer confirms your completion date. In general, they give two weeks’ notice.

This presents complications if you’re in a chain, as the whole chain needs to know that someone is buying on notice. Proper communication between the whole chain’s conveyancers is essential to ensure that it doesn’t break down.

Get your finances right

Ideally you’d have your mortgage offer before you exchange contracts and well in advance of completion.

However, you don’t know when you’ll complete on a new build and therefore when you’ll need the mortgage. Most offers last for three to six months – check when yours expires and ask your provider at the very start what their policy is on extensions.

Use the recommended solicitor

The developers can’t make you use their preferred conveyancer – however, it has advantages, as they’ll be familiar with the development and able to proceed quickly as a result.

They’ll also only need to do the same set of searches and checks once for all the transactions they handle from the development, saving you money compared with a different solicitor who would have to commission the searches again themselves (and not necessarily quote for them up front).

Be organised

This tip should go without saying, but it’s the key to stress-free conveyancing. Return your solicitor’s paperwork as soon as possible, stay in contact with your lender and keep your diary as clear as possible for a few months.

For further information or to speak to Abi, call the team on 0117 325 2929 or

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