Sophie Duns of Coulters, North Berwick

How to buy new build

By Sophie Duns.

East Lothian is booming at the moment with new build developments popping up in almost every town. Not only this, but there are even complete new towns underway, just take a look at Blindwells near Tranent, where there is planning for 1600 new homes and associated amenities.

If you’re looking to move to East Lothian and considering a new build, there’s are lots of developers offering different styles of homes and offers to choose from. Buying a new build, as I can testify having recently bought a new home in North Berwick myself, is an exciting process but it can be fraught with challenges. Here are my top tips to consider if you’re venturing into new build.

Be Prepared – It’s really important to have your mortgage agreement in principle ready and your solicitor lined up because once you’ve found your ideal new home and reserved it, you’re often expected to conclude missives within a pretty tight time scale of around a fortnight. There can sometimes be a bit of flexibility with this but as a general rule, it’s 14 days. However, your solicitor should be able to negotiate this for you. There’s also an additional challenge if you’re selling a property too as you may find you’re unable to reserve until your current home is under offer.

Get the best deal – Many developers offer great incentives for new build buyers so do your homework and make sure you get the best deals and extras available to you. These can be anything from free furnishings, additional parking, landscaping, turf and flooring to savings on legal fees or stamp duty. Your solicitor can help advise you on the best negotiating techniques for this; if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Reputable builder – Research, research and then research some more! Check out the developer beforehand to ensure that the build quality, workmanship and finish is up to standard. Visit their other developments, check out how they look, talk to residents and get a feel for what you’re buying by visiting the site and the local area.

Ongoing building works – Be conscious of any potential ongoing building works which may be planned for future years around your development as this can cause challenges with road access, noise and air pollution.

Future saleability – Ensure your property has the right warranties and cover, it should come with an NHBC or Architect’s Certificate. The length of these guarantees can vary and having one in place can affect the ongoing saleability of your property.

Deeds of Conditions – these are usually fairly standard, however sometimes there are clauses relating to subletting the property, the number of pets you’re allowed, use of commercial vehicles and running a business from your home – so it really is sensible to have your solicitor check the deeds out on your behalf.

Take your time – You may be given the option to choose extras such as a choice of kitchen units, appliances and general upgrades. Take your time with this and feel free to go back in and speak with the sales advisor who can offer you additional support and advice to make sure you’ve made the right choices. It’s also important to ensure that your developer gives you copies of the guarantees for all white goods in your home, that’s all cookers, dishwashers, fridge freezers, hobs and washing machines.

Snagging – Make sure there’s a snagging provision in your contract to cover off any issues as there will naturally be some snagging when you move into your new home. Make sure you take your time to thoroughly check everything from the windows and doors to external areas.

Finally ENJOY your shiny new home! You’re the first to live in it and with a blank canvas to start from, you can tailor your property to be exactly what you want it to be. Exciting times!

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