How different is the buying process for a New Home?

Angela Ellis

In most ways, the process for buying a newly built or converted home is no different to buying any other home. The two key differences are in the timescales and the fees.

Whether you’ve already viewed or seen the plans if the development is not yet built (off-plan), here’s our step-by-step guide to buying your new home through us once you’ve made an offer.

Affordability check

Our mortgage adviser will be in touch to ensure that you can obtain funding, at that level. There is no obligation for you to use our adviser but as part of our terms with the developer, we need to check your affordability. It’s a 5 – 10-minute chat.. They’ll be able to guide you on the best mortgage rates and deals for your personal circumstances. Essentially, this is free financial mortgage advice and could save you money! 

Instruct your solicitors

If you don’t have one already, we recommend 3 different solicitors who specialise in new homes purchases and offer our clients competitive rates. Having a new homes specialist is vital for you due to the timescales involved when buying a new property.  You cannot conclude the reservation process without having a solicitor.

Time to reserve it!

Once the financial affordability ‘thumbs up’ has been given and your offer has been accepted, you will then receive a reservation form via email. This needs completing, signing and scanning back to us by email. At this stage, a reservation fee is required. The average reservation fee is £2,000 (or £500 when using The Help To Buy Scheme), and this reservation fee will be deducted from your deposit on exchange. You will instantly need to put your solicitor in funds for the searches and disbursements in order for them to be applied for. The results from these searches can often take around 2 weeks to arrive.  

Sale Agreed

As soon as your fully completed reservation form and fee have been received, the property will be taken off the market. A ‘sales memorandum’ is sent to the buyer, developer and both sets of solicitors. You are expected to exchange within 28 days (this is the norm within the new homes industry) from when your solicitor receives the contract papers from the developer’s solicitor.  

Exchange of contracts

You will receive the contract from your solicitor to sign and send back. The deposit, as cleared funds, will need to be in your solicitor’s bank account in order to exchange contracts. This will be 10% of the purchase price, or 5% if using the Help To Buy Scheme. The completion date will be decided upon exchange of contracts between the buyer and seller but is usually set within 4 weeks post exchange date unless the property is not yet built. Assuming the property is now built, you will then be invited back to your new home to check for any issues which will usually be resolved before completion day. This is called the ‘snagging’ period.

Completion Day!

Once you have exchanged contracts, this effectively means the property is now yours subject to legal completion/balance of funds. The balance of the money owed will come from either your mortgage lender or cash or a mixture of the both. Once we have received a call from the developer’s solicitor to confirm the funds have been received, we can legally release the keys to you, where we then hope you can start to make your new property a happy home.