Everything you need to know about buying a new build in and around St Albans

A gorgeous new build home on Sandpit Lane, St Albans

A gorgeous new build home on Sandpit Lane, St Albans - Credit: Archant

Nick Doyle, Operations Director Aitchisons St Albans, shares his tips on investing in brand new property.

The New Year has started with the housing market leaping into action from its short lived hibernation. Aitchisons have been especially busy for new builds, some off plan.

What does reserving off plan entail?

Some developments are not at the build stage where show units have been finished for potential applicants to view. Buyers are invited to see the working drawings and plans for the properties and are told the specs and size.

What are the time constraints when purchasing a new build home compared to a second hand property?

Generally, you will need to be in a position to exchange contracts in 28 days with, in most cases, a 10 percent deposit. Once you have agreed to purchase your new home, a reservation deposit will secure your chosen plot (a percentage of which may be nonrefundable in the event of an abortive purchase). You will then be committed to instruct a solicitor and get your mortgage in place to exchange in the allotted time - a solicitor with new homes experience and a broker who is able to expedite the mortgage application. In return, the contract price is fixed as the developer agrees to withdraw the property from the market.

When can I collect the keys?

Most Read

Completion will be on notice. Unfortunately you won’t be given a definitive time until the NHBC (National House Building Council or similar regulatory body) and building regulations are signed off by the local authority. You will then be given on average 10-14 days to complete the purchase so will need to organise completion monies and ensure any parties in the chain are aware of this. One of the biggest benefits of buying a new-build property is no chain so the process should be a lot easier.

How does the cost of a new-build home differ?

In the current climate, there isn’t much room for negotiation and generally you won’t find discounts on new-builds. You pay the price advertised because you have the option to select the plot of your choice and on occasions will have a number of choices for your new home for a bespoke finish. We have found, with the fast pace of the current market, if the first phase of the development sells well a developer may put up the price of the next phase to reflect this. Remember, a premium is being paid for brand new.

Would the buyer of a new-build home have a choice over materials and finishes?

Some developers will allow you to choose tiles, flooring and sometimes kitchens. Make sure you check with the developer beforehand to see what options you have. However, there are finished units where the choices have all been selected too.

Warranties and Guarantees

Your new home should come with a 10 year build warranty such as NHBC/Premier/BLP and, subject to individual developers, will also have a period of responsibility for snagging any construction problems. The white goods are normally under the manufacturers’ warranties.

Part Exchange/Assisted Moves

Some developers offer potential buyers with a property to sell various options and assistance to try and ease the transaction but this is usually under strict criteria. It can prove to be a useful solution.

Its important to get the right mortgage advice

Some lenders have certain lending restrictions for new build flats. For example, if they are high rise or above commercial, higher deposits may be requested.