The conveyancing process for a new build can be a daunting task, but with our comprehensive guide, you'll be able to navigate it with ease. We'll take you through every step of the process, from finding the right property to exchanging contracts, so you can rest assured that your new home is in safe hands.
So, what are you waiting for? Let's get started!
The Conveyancing Process For New Builds: 7 Steps
Here are the steps to complete the conveyancing process for new builds:
1. Finding and Reserving the Property
The first step is to find the property you wish to buy. This can be done by searching any of the following:
Through an estate agent
At a new build site
Once you have found your new build, you can reserve it. This usually involves paying a deposit. You will also be asked to sign a reservation agreement. This is a contract between you and the developer. It outlines the terms and conditions of your purchase. This is a very important document. You should read it carefully before you sign it.
2. Instructing a Solicitor
Once you have found and reserved your new build, you need to instruct a solicitor. This is a lawyer who deals with property transactions. They will handle all the legal work involved in buying your new build.
Your solicitor will carry out all the legal checks on the property. They will also negotiate with the developer on your behalf. It is important to choose a solicitor who is experienced in new build conveyancing. Feel free to use our conveyancing calculator to get a good glimpse of the costs before you proceed.
3. New Build Conveyancing Checks
Your solicitor will carry out several checks on the property. These checks are to make sure that the property is legal and that there are no problems with it. The main checks are:
Title check: This is to make sure that the developer owns the property and that there are no other claims on it.
Planning check: This is to ensure that the property has planning permission and complies with all planning regulations.
Building regulations check: This is to make sure that the property has been built to the correct standards and that it complies with all building regulations.
4. Securing the Mortgage
Once you have engaged a solicitor, you can start applying for a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan that is secured against the property you are buying. Depending on the loan's value, you may need to provide a deposit.
The deposit is normally 10% of the purchase price. The mortgage lender will then give you the remaining 90% of the purchase price in the form of a loan.
5. Exchanging Contracts and Paying the Deposit
Once your mortgage has been approved, your solicitor will exchange contracts with the builder’s solicitor. This is a legally binding agreement and means that you are committed to buying the property.
You will need to pay a deposit at this stage, which is usually 10% of the purchase price. The deposit is held by the builder’s solicitor until completion.
6. Finding a Snagging Surveyor
A snagging survey is an inspection of the property to identify any defects or unfinished work. It is a good idea to have a snagging survey carried out before you move into your new home.
You can find a snagging surveyor by searching online or asking your solicitor for a recommendation.
Completion is when the purchase of the property is completed, and you become the legal owner. You will need to pay the remaining balance of the purchase price to the builder’s solicitor on completion.
Once the funds have cleared, you will be able to collect the keys to your new home and move in!
Do You Need a Conveyancer for a New Build?
You may be wondering whether you need a conveyancer for a new build. The answer is yes, you will need to instruct a solicitor or conveyancer to handle the legal aspects of your purchase.
While the developer may have a solicitor on hand to deal with the sale, it's always best to instruct your own legal representative. This is because the developer's solicitor will be acting in the best interests of the developer, not you.
It's also worth noting that some developers will only release keys to the property once the sale has been completed. This means that if there are any delays with your conveyancing, you could be left without a place to live.
Why Conveyancing is More Complex for a New Build
New build conveyancing is more complicated than other types of conveyancing since there are more dangers of things going wrong with the build, such as:
Failure to follow planning regulations.
Failure to arrange NHBC inspections
Developers failing to fulfil road and sewer agreements.
Homes that are not being built in line with the original designs.
Things a Conveyancer Will Look Out for in a New Build
1. The Contract
A new build contract should be fair and in your favour. It should contain a ‘long-stop’ completion date which is a date by which the developer must agree to have finished the build and is ready to hand over the keys to the buyer. This is typically 12 months from the expected legal completion date. If a developer fails to have the property finished by this date, then the buyer has the right to cancel the contract and have their deposit returned to them.
2. The Deposit
The deposit that you put down when you reserve a new building property should be protected under the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS). This is a government-backed scheme which protects deposits in the event that the tenant defaults on their rental payments or causes damage to the property.
3. The Title
The title to the property should be registered with the Land Registry. This is a government body which keeps a record of who owns what property in England and Wales.
4. The Planning Permission
The planning permission for the property should be in place before you exchange contracts. This is to ensure that the property can be built in accordance with the plans that have been approved by the local authority.
5. The Completion Date
It is common practice for the developers’ sales team and solicitor to rush the completion date of the property, to hit their end-of-financial-year targets. A good solicitor will not give into their pressure and ensure that the transaction is legally tight and in your favour before agreeing to a completion date.
6. The Leasehold or Freehold Status
If you are buying a flat, it is likely that you will be purchasing the leasehold. This means that you own the property for the duration of the lease, but the freehold is owned by someone else.
Leasehold properties can be subject to many restrictions, such as not being able to make any changes to the property. It is crucial that you understand the terms of your lease before signing as it could affect the value of your property when you come to sell.
7. Any Restrictive Covenants
Restrictive covenants are conditions placed on the property by the developer, which may prevent you from making certain changes to the property. For example, a developer may not allow you to change the windows or external doors, or they may only allow you to use the property as a home, not as a holiday home.
Be sure to check with your solicitor that there are no restrictive covenants on the property before you sign the contract.
The conveyancing process for a new build is a detailed and complicated process, but it is one that can be navigated with the help of a qualified solicitor. This guide has provided a comprehensive overview of the process, from start to finish, to help you understand what is involved.
Suppose you are considering purchasing a new build property. In that case, it is important to be aware of the potential pitfalls and to seek professional advice to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible. With careful planning and preparation, the conveyancing process can be completed without any major issues.
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