The Process of Buying a New Build House UK

Everything You Need to Know About the Process of Buying a New Build Home

process of buying a new build house

Buying a New Build Home Timeline

process of buying a new build home

Thinking of buying a new build property, but not sure where to start? We’ll talk you through, step-by-step, the entire process of buying a new build house in the UK. 

The process of buying a new build house is slightly different from the traditional house-buying timeline. Before you start making any offers, there are a few things you need to consider – but, don’t worry – we’re here to help! 

In this guide, we’ll outline the whole ‘buying a new build process’ – from reserving your property and paying your mortgage to arranging a snagging survey – taking it one step at a time.

Ready to start the ‘buying a new build home process’? 

Here’s what you need to know.

This Article Covers

How Long is the Process of Buying a New Build?

new build vs older house

Searching for your dream home is super exciting, and once you’ve found it, we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to move in straight away. Unfortunately, if your chosen home is a new build, it could take even longer than usual. 

So, how long could it take from making an offer on a new build to moving in? 

There is no set answer to how long the process of buying a new build house takes – this is affected by a number of factors, most of which also apply to the traditional house-buying process, such as: 

  • How smoothly your mortgage application runs
  • Whether you’re in a chain
  • Whether the survey reveals any issues 
  • Whether you can agree a completion date

There are, however, a number of key difference that can affect the speed of the process when buying a new build compared with an existing home. 

What are the Steps of Buying a New Build?

What to Know Before You Buy a New Build Home

Get your finances in order

As with any home, the first to do it ensure you have the funds to purchase it. Before you even start your property search, you should take a look at your current financial state – everything from how much you have in your savings, your debt and your credit score.

Not only will you have to fork out the price of the house itself, but moving home is no cheap feat. You will also need to consider all the costs associated with buying a house, such as conveyancing fees, moving costs and stamp duty – they add up fast! 

Finally, as well as actually buying the property, you’ll need to make sure you’re financially prepared for the ongoing commitment of maintaining your home, including paying utility bills, repairs, furnishings, and ground rent and service charges if your property is leasehold. 

Speak to a mortgage advisor

Once you’ve found your dream new build home, it’s time to speak to a mortgage advisor to find the best mortgage agreement for you. 

When embarking on the process of buying a new build house, there are a few additional things to consider when applying for a mortgage. 

First, it’s important to ask whether the mortgage offer will expire. The problem with new builds is, you can’t be 100% sure when they’ll be complete until they’re actually complete. 

This means, if your property isn’t finished until after your mortgage expiry date, you may lose your offer and have to start all over again, causing a huge delay in the process.

It’s also important to remember that some mortgage lenders have stricter rules when it comes to new builds and may not be willing to lend quite as much. However, there are a number of new build schemes in place to help you with the purchase.

Find the right new build home

Another stage of the new build house buying process that differs from normal is the property search. 

When looking at purchasing a new build home, you might have the option to buy ‘off-plan’ – buying a home that isn’t yet built. If this is the case, there are a number of questions to ask when buying a new build, such as: 

  • What’s included in the new build?
  • What’s the new home warranty?
  • Are there any restrictions on what you can do?
  • Are there any additional charges (e.g. ground rent, service charge)

Usually, when buying a new build property off-plan,  the developer will put both a short-stop date and a long-stop date in place. The short date is when the developer expects to have finished building, while the long-stop date is when they have to be done by. 

To be on the safe side, you should probably assume you won’t be moving in until close to the long-stop date (annoying, we know). 

Reserve your property

Congratulations! If you’ve made it to this stage in the process of buying a new build house, it means you’ve managed to find your dream home. 

If you feel confident that you’ve found the perfect property and you’ve secured a mortgage, it’s time to reserve your new build. 

At this point, you’ll need to pay a reservation fee, which is usually between £500-£1000. If you back out of the sale later on, you’ll lose this fee – but if you go through with the purchase of the property, it will be deducted from the overall price. 

The reservation period is usually around 28 days. This gives you plenty of time to exchange contracts and complete the buying a new build home process.

The Buying a New Build Process

buying a new build process

Now, what happens after you reserve a new build?

Once you’ve found the right new build home for you and reserved it, you can properly get stuck into the process of buying a new build house.

Appoint a conveyancing solicitor

The first step in the buying a new build process is finding a conveyancer to handle the legal side of your house purchase. 

While this might sound daunting, a conveyancing solicitor is there to help you with the process of buying a new build and ensure the whole journey runs as smoothly as possible. 

Pay your deposit

Another difference between the traditional buying-a-house process and the process of buying a new build is the amount of deposit you might be required to put down. 

We know how difficult saving for a deposit can be – but, unfortunately, it’s often even harder when it comes to purchasing a new build property

While a traditional deposit is usually 10%, new build properties could need more. Normally, the developer will request anywhere between 10% and 30% deposit, with an agreement to pay the remainder upon completion of the sale. 

Your new build developer will also want proof from your lender that your mortgage is guaranteed.

Exchange contracts

Exchanging contracts is when the process starts to get very official. At this stage of the buying a new build house process, you will pay your deposit – and you will lose if you back out after this point. 

A good conveyancer should work their magic and make sure everything is in order on the legal front and that the developer has stuck to all the necessary regulations. 

Don’t worry, though – normally there are new build warranties in place, such as the NHBC or Premier Guarantee. These will protect your deposit after exchange in case anything goes wrong with the building development.

Checking Your New Build Before You Move In

Time for one last check! Before moving into your new home, it’s important that have one more glance over the completed property to ensure there are no issues that need fixing by the developer. 

You can do these checks yourself, or you can arrange for a ‘snagging survey’, to see if there are any last changes you need making. Often, these changes will be minor, like touching up paint or tightening some screws. 

A snagging survey will normally cost somewhere between £300 and £600, but it can prove to be worth it if you find repairs that need to be done, saving you money further down the line.  

Below is a list of things to look out for when viewing your new build home for the last time. 

  1. Warranties

    Most new build homes come with a 10-year NHBC warranty, which should cover any major structural defects. However, trying to resolve any issues through this warranty can be a long and drawn-out process – as long as two years.


  2. Leasehold vs freehold

    One key element of buying a new build that you should consider is whether it’s freehold or leasehold. This can make a big difference to the costs you might have to pay once you’ve moved in.

    Typically, new build flats will be leasehold, while houses will be freehold – but it’s always good to double check.

    If it’s leasehold, you’ll have to pay ground rent to the freeholder and you might have to pay a service charge for the upkeep of communal areas, such as stairways.

    Buying a leasehold property will also mean that you are limited as to the changes you can make. So, you might need to rethink those fancy plans for an extension or to install CCTV.


  3. Workmanship and finish

This is where a snagging survey can really come into its own. It’s important that you look at all the minute details and finishing touches – even the smallest things can cause future problems.

You shouldn’t be afraid to be nit-picky – whether it’s a wonky tap or a light fixture that doesn’t look quite right – it’s your house and you paid for it. 

And that’s it – the entire process of buying a new build house in the UK. 

There are lots of things to consider when purchasing a new build property, but knowing exactly what the process entails will help it run smoothly. 


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