At Elite Law Solicitors, we have a dedicated team of specialist new build solicitors who can expertly navigate you through the process of purchasing a new build property.
Buying a new property has a lot of advantages. Up-to-date building techniques including energy-efficient insulation means your new property will be comfortable and cheaper to run than an older building. Maintenance issues should not be an immediate worry, and neither will any of the usual signs of age in a property, from damp and subsidence to general wear and tear.
However, the choice between buying a new build and an older house is far from clear cut. In most instances, you will be agreeing to purchase your property before it is finished, and there are many things that can go wrong before completion, from extreme weather and shortage of materials to non-compliance with planning regulations and incomplete agreements for sewers and roads. That is why it is essential to instruct experienced new build solicitors to oversee the purchasing process and provide guidance along the way.
Our team have extensive experience in all forms of conveyancing for properties. New builds are no exception, and our specialist knowledge allows us to handle all the nuances and additional details involved. We possess the expertise to assist you with completing the new build purchase process quickly, efficiently and with the minimum of fuss.
In addition to office meetings, we offer remote meetings via telephone or video conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype and can assist you wherever you are based.
New build conveyancing refers to the specific form of conveyancing carried out on properties that have been freshly built, or those that are due to be constructed and completed post-purchase.
While some of the same concepts and requirements apply across all kinds of property conveyancing, new build conveyancing is often considered the most complex. This is because you are purchasing a property before it is completed, and as such, additional input and work go into ensuring all the appropriate measures and compliances are in place.
Whether you are building a new home yourself through a service or purchasing from a housing company, the new build conveyancing process ensures all avenues that would not be a consideration in pre-existing properties are covered.
What is different about new build conveyancing?
The process for buying a new build property is different in many ways from buying an older house. You are buying a property that does not exist yet, and you will exchange contracts months or even years before you finally see what you have purchased.
The first step in buying a new build property is to ensure your finances are in order, as most builders will want mortgage finance to be in place before contracts are exchanged. You will need to pay an initial reservation fee when you express interest in a property and will then usually have only four weeks to exchange contracts before you forfeit this fee and your house.
House builders will typically be very firm on this timeline, especially if the development is popular or the market is particularly buoyant. As soon as you have had your offer accepted on a property, you should immediately instruct appropriately experienced new build conveyancing solicitors. Your solicitor will check that the build meets regulations, highlight any restrictive covenants, and walk you through the details of your contract.
If you are happy, you can pay your deposit, and then comes the long wait until completion, upon which you will receive your keys and officially take ownership of your new home. At this point, you will need to ensure you receive copies of all the guarantees relating to the property, which should cover you for ten years from completion.
What information or documents do new build solicitors need?
Providing documentation for your property purchase is standard whenever you work with a conveyancing solicitor. Beyond that essential, you will also need to provide additional information for any new build purchase. The information and documentation you will need to provide includes the following:
Insurance for new builds
The NHBC scheme or Premier Guarantee are new-build warranties that provide insurance for properties over a certain amount of time. This insurance ensures the developer is solely responsible for problems and issues that arise for the first two years, with continued coverage for structural issues over ten years following completion. There are many new build warranty providers on the market and your conveyancer will check that the company (especially if it is an obscure one) will be one that is acceptable to your mortgage lender if you have one.
Structural information and guarantees
Structural guarantees are a standard precaution for new build property owners. This agreement covers any structural damage or fault to a property, from defective plastering to damaged foundations.
With a structural guarantee, the developer or builder is responsible for necessary fixes and amendments or suitable compensation.
Your solicitor will need access to planning permissions for the specific new build. This documentation includes conditions for the permission itself, which the developer is required to follow.
Building regulations confirmation
Developers must hold building control consent for the properties they work on, in line with building regulations. This includes anything from the materials used to the building methods, all of which must conform to the standards defined by the building regulation documents.
NHBC, for example, will usually carry out the building control function in addition to providing their certificate but this may not always be the case and your conveyancer will need to check that the building control completion certificate is issued when the property is completed.
Information on road agreements
Unlike pre-existing properties, new builds have the added complication of requiring road permissions and definitions of responsibilities. Road agreements are significant for new build estates where roads are created for residents.
New build conveyancing solicitors will need confirmation of an s.38 (Highways Act 1980) road agreement, which defines the responsibilities for the streets between the builder, the developer, and the local council.
Easements for the property
Easements refer to the property owner’s rights to drainage, sewerage systems, utility pipes, and roads within the estate. All easements should be clear-cut, and a contract should be in place to cover any easements that apply to your specific new build.
What work will new build solicitors carry out?
New build conveyancing includes all the checks, confirmations and discussions needed to transfer ownership of property legally. That includes carrying out any necessary searches and overseeing all paperwork to ensure everything is in place.
Our specialist new build solicitors possess the expertise and knowledge required to ensure your conveyancing process is as smooth and easy as possible.
The work our team will carry out includes:
Liaising with builders and developers’ solicitors and mortgage lenders
Checking and reading all contracts, insurance information and guarantees
Flagging any issues or enquiries necessary to relevant authorities
Ensuring suitable insurance is in place for your new build
Working with you to arrange surveys, checks and reviews
Providing all the required documentation for yourself and other parties
Supporting you in the completion of property registration
Depending on the individual requirements of your property, our new build conveyancing services cover all work required to complete the purchase process effectively. Our experienced new build solicitors can provide advice, guidance and expertise to ensure all checks are carried out and everything meets legal and regulatory standards.
How long does conveyancing take on a new build?
There is no one rule for how long new build conveyancing can take. In some cases, it is an easy and fast process to complete all required checks and approvals. This can take between eight to twelve weeks for completion as standard.
A good portion of the work involved in new build conveyancing can happen before the property itself is complete, reducing the risk of delays or drawn-out legal processes when you would prefer to be making the most of your new house.
It is worth noting, however, that certain circumstances can result in delays in completing the conveyancing process, with the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic being one example. Such delays may apply to all property types, including new builds.
Other delays in conveyancing may be related to missing information, surveys revealing problems, or other issues with the build itself.
What are the fees for new build conveyancing?
Much like any other kind of conveyancing, new build conveyancing has several additional costs to consider beyond the costs of hiring reliable and professional solicitors. In addition to our fee for dealing with the new build conveyancing process, you may also be required to cover the following as part of the overall cost of conveyancing:
Anti-money laundering and fraud checks
Credit and bankruptcy checks
Copies of title deeds
Searches with local authorities
Acting for your lender
Transference of ownership
Bank costs and fees for transfer
Paperwork for gifted deposits
Supplements for help to buy schemes
Management of the estate or of leasehold properties.
It is important to be aware of the additional fees required up-front for instructing new build solicitors.
At Elite Law Solicitors, our fees and prices are entirely transparent and we ensure you have all the information to hand, so you are not caught out with surprise fees and costs beyond the quote we provide for our services.
How our new build solicitors can help
Buying a new build house removes the stress and uncertainty of taking on an ageing property, but it replaces it with the stress of buying something that you have not seen, and that has a real risk of never being completed. The added legal complexity of buying a new build property is a further drawback but engaging the services of experienced solicitors can help mitigate this.
Our expert new build conveyancing solicitors have overseen the successful purchase of many new build properties, and our accreditation through the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme attests to our skill and expertise in this area of law.
One of our experienced new build solicitors will have an initial consultation with you, free of charge, to discuss your situation in more detail. Once we understand your circumstances better, we can provide you with a clearer understanding of how we can help you. We will also provide you with a price quotation and a choice of funding methods at the outset.
Get in touch with our new build solicitors
Our enquiry lines are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Call us 24/7 on 0800 086 2929
or complete our Free Enquiry
“We used Elite to purchase a new build in Amersham. Joseph Lewis had been involved in the purchase of other flats from that development which proved useful as they were able use knowledge from that experience. Joseph was very calm and communicative with us first time buyers! And kept everything moving along. A very positive experience, we are very glad we went for Elite over a cheap online firm.”
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