My new-build tips and tricks

My lovely new-build home

My lovely new-build

My home is the second new-build me and my family have owned in 11 years. 

Of course, buying a new-build isn’t for everyone, and some prefer older properties.

But I thought I’d share some of my experiences — and mistakes — to help those who are thinking of choosing a new-build, especially with the recent launch of the NewBuy Guarantee scheme.

Hopefully these tips can help you.

  • Check house-builders’ websites before you visit show homes. We spent time checking out house-builders’ websites first and found one gave a £10 M&S voucher if you made an appointment first.
  • Don’t rush in. The sales office may be there, but we found you couldn’t reserve until plots were released. Once they were released, prices changed every few weeks, so continually checked websites and price lists.
  • Check out the moving-in incentives. Often developers offered incentives to entice customers. Ones we saw were free carpets, turf (not always included), stamp duty paid or part exchange. You couldn’t have them all, so we worked out which were more valuable to us.
  • Haggle, haggle, haggle. In our experience, until you’ve reserved, haggling is key. On our first, as new-build newbies, we only haggled for a dishwasher, only to find our neighbours had their stamp duty paid. We learned from that.
  • To part-ex or not to part-ex? By part-exchanging your house, the house-builder agrees to buy it for a set figure. When we did it most recently it paid the estate agent fees, including the Energy Performance Certificate. But we didn’t just accept the first amount offered. We wanted £5,000 more, held fast, showed it examples of similar houses priced closer to what we wanted, and got it. It finally sold for £5,000 less than we got.
  • New-builds can be more energy-efficient. We find more environmentally-friendly building controls mean newer houses can be a lot cheaper to heat. Our previous house, bought 10 years ago, had a C energy rating. This one is a B.
  • We found asking for an overlap worked. We asked to complete (get the keys to your new house) on the Friday but to give them the keys to our old home on the following Monday. They gave us 10 days, so we did the flooring in the new house, moved the furniture in, then tidied up the old one before giving the keys back.
  • Pay for upgrades or do it yourself? Paying the house-builder to tile the bathroom floor turned out to be a good move for us. New houses need to settle, and cracks can happen. Getting ours laid for us meant they replaced them when then cracked.
  • Getting things thrown in. Just being nice to people can get some really unexpected results. I really wanted to get my veggie patch ready quickly. The estate wasn’t finished, so the builders were still on site. Knowing individual bags of compost would cost a shedload, I asked if they could get me some at trade price, which I’d pay. Guess who got a ton sack of compost delivered straight into the garage?

Please share any experiences you have in the comment section below, or in the MSE forum.