New build conveyancing explained

To buy or sell a home, you need to go through the conveyancing process — a legal procedure of transferring ownership rights from one person to another.

The conveyancing process for new builds is more complex than for older properties since the risks of something going wrong tends to be higher.

You may want to find a good conveyancing solicitor as a specialist suggested by the developer might side with them instead and exert huge pressure on you to complete your purchase as soon as possible. However, you are less likely to face such problems if you find a good, independent conveyancing solicitor, who will act in your best interests.

legal work

Before the new build conveyancing process begins, you need to:

  • Find your perfect home. Nowadays, there are special online platforms that help you search for all kinds of property. If you don’t know where to start, you can begin your search for new build homes here.
  • Sort out your finances and get a mortgage agreement in principle.
  • Check exactly what you’re purchasing by examining all specifications, designs, and plans.

Once you make an offer, the conveyancing process might begin.

Make a reservation

To secure your future home, you need to pay a reservation fee, which usually ranges from £500 to £2,000 and allows you to reserve a property for a 28-day period. Once you exchange contracts, the amount will be deducted from the final price. However, if you fail to complete the purchase within the agreed-upon period, you won’t be able to get a refund of your reservation fee.

Pay the deposit

Most of the time, homebuyers have to pay a deposit to the developer’s solicitor. The amount usually varies from 10% to 30% of the total price of a property. The developer will also ask you to sign a contract to confirm your agreement to buy the home at the current price.

What to look out for?

The conveyancing solicitor has to make sure that everything goes smoothly by obtaining and inspecting legal documents and ordering local searches. In addition, your solicitor must inform you of any restrictive covenants and explain other details concerning your future home, such as management fees or lease terms in case you are purchasing a leasehold property.

Snagging and warranties

When buying a new build property, it’s crucial to have a snagging clause in your contract, which ensures that if you find any defects upon acquiring your home, you can catalogue them and make the developer fix them.

Most people usually suggest carrying out a snagging survey before making the final payment and moving into your home to prevent the developer from disregarding any defects you find as the result of post habitational wear and tear. Nevertheless, developers must fix all imperfections and defects that homeowners find within the first two years of purchase.

In addition, most new build properties benefit from an NHBC warranty, which covers certain structural defects for a ten-year period. However, it’s better to utilise your two-year contractor repair warranty as having the NHBC resolve your issues may take a very long time.

Final thoughts

When purchasing a new build property, there are certain pitfalls and risks that you may encounter. However, with a good conveyancing solicitor and thorough preparation, you can acquire your dream home without a single hitch.