Sara Ransom of Stacks Property Search says, “Buying new build property can have many benefits other than the obvious- such as everything being brand new and ‘un-touched’ but more often than not will mean that you have the latest technology, not having to worry about refurbishing expensive structural items such as roofs and windows as you may with a period property. With the larger developments there are often shops, bars, children crèches and even doctors’ surgeries built into the amenities. These days developers realise that just building blocks with as many flats as possible is not often the best way and so with developments now there tends to be more thought as to putting windows into bathrooms and kitchens, having larger reception rooms often with some form of outside space- roof terrace, balcony, or even a small garden.
“Make sure you buy in a key prime development and that the developer is well established and has a good reputation. The aim must be long term investment, not short or medium term.
“Developers sometimes sell of their compromised phases first – maybe the ones near a road, or with a less attractive outlook. But, the first and last properties on a development are the ones the developer is most anxious to sell and are where the best deals are often to be found. If you’re cunning you can get a good deal at the end of a phase, but check it compares well to the others in the phase.
“Buying at the early stages of a development may mean that you find yourself living in a building site for many years, and the constant completion of building phases will make it very difficult to sell should you wish to.
“In a weak market people prefer to play it safe and opt for traditional styles – avoid cutting edge architectural statements as property can date incredibly quickly.
“Check the price per square foot and compare it with the resale market so you understand the extent of any premium you’re paying. New homes can be incredibly small, but it’s easy for the eye to be deceived when you’re looking at plans, or a show house, either because there’s no furniture at all, or because furniture is minimal and specially designed and arranged to make the rooms look bigger.
“Help yourself visualise the space by comparing rooms sizes to space you can understand and see. You might want to draw your own plan of individual rooms and position cut-outs of furniture to see how the space will work.
“Builders and developers have been through a tough period and their margins are tight; there’s a possibility that they may have cut corners and quality. Make sure there is a snagging arrangement in the contract – many developers are trying to avoid this, but it’s often the case that you need to live with a new house for a while before problems materialize”
“The best time to buy new build is either right at the beginning of the planning- i.e. as soon as they are released and before a spade has been put in the ground, or sometimes as they are looking to sell off the last few you can get a bit of a good deal as the developer wants to move on to the next site. Be careful with the latter scenario as sometimes the remaining units can have a flaw or drawback; don’t get carried away unless the discount really does pay dividends.
“Buying off plan has its risks, but if you’re looking at substantial discounts it can still pay dividends. Factor in normal rules of supply and demand, drive a really hard bargain, and don’t be bewitched by seductive marketing material.”
Stacks Property Search & Acquisition, 01594 842880 / www.stacks.co.uk
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