New Builds - some advice please

(36 Posts)

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

It all depends on weather you are buying of plan or if the house is already complete ?
You usually have a basic spec that the house will be finished too with choices. You can then upgrade and pay extra for a better cooker, or half height tiling, extra plug sockets, down lighter's etc. Our developer charged extra for all floor covering but you can usually negotiate to include this in the price.
For example our house was marketed at 465k we offered 425 with 5k of options which they accepted.
I think house builders always market a premium but they will always come down on price, but then of course you are getting everything new and to your taste rather than someone else's, or having to do it yourself.
Made complete financial sense to us, we wanted a house in a specific area and of a certain size. Everything we viewed was either too big and needed work or too small. We also have a list of what we wanted to have and this house ticked all of the boxes. It is our forever home.

Wishwehadgoneabroad Mon 13-May-13 12:32:08

I would never buy a brand new build again.

They do depreciated, and when you buy new off plan, you're the one who has to do all the snagging (which trust me, is a complete pita). Your house will never be as beautiful as the show home they take you round.

Be v careful about checking what else they are building and where. 8 yrs on, I am still looking at a tatty area where they ripped down the sales offices (David Wilson homes in case you're interested! Supposed to be one of the better ones) and haven't decided what they're doing with the area. Council say DW own in. DW say it's the council. And so it goes on.

Definitely negotiate - do not pay list price.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamingofsun Mon 13-May-13 13:01:05

the last 3 places i have bought have been new builds - in fact the only places. yes you get a choice normally - ask. it depends how desperate they are to sell and where they are in the build. for our current place we had the kitchen extended and the bedroom/ensuite arrangements changed. my first one depreciated 1k - but then everything was dropping in price - i think because it was so new it actually sold quickly.

paying over the odds - its like any house i guess you have to compare what you are getting with what else is around. if you are buying an older place will you have to rip the kitchen/bathrooms out to make it nice - that could easily cost you 15k+

once you move in you produce a snagging list - things that need sorting- and the developer should put these right.

who lays turf as that can cost a surprising amount of money and some people do/others don't. is any flooring included? we chose paint colours in one house and in all 3 chose bathrooms. patios, paths?

are there any restrictions over choosing plots - at one place you already had to have exchanged contracts so wasn't practical for us....another part exchanged our old house

Wish I have heard horror stories like your and I was dubious. We were originally looking for a plot of land to build ourselves but nothing ever came up we liked. This house fitted the bill, yes there was some snagging but everything was fixed eventually (did take about a year but it was all silly stuff that they eventually sent a handy man round to do) and I LOVE my house and it is even more beautiful than the show house. Our developer was Taylor Wimpey and even in a falling market (we bought August 2007, weeks before the crash) we have just had a mortgage valuation for re mortgage purposes at 60k more than we paid.

Good point Dreaming If you like a plot hold out for it even if they say it hasn't been released. We only wanted one plot, were told it wouldn't be released yet, so we walked out. Next day the sales lady phoned to say she had got it released and told us the price, but it wouldn't be completed for 6 months which was fine with us.
Also check the site of the plot you like, ours was on a hill and a particularly expensive, large house at the bottom has a horrible retaining wall, and another a stepped garden so be careful.

Wishwehadgoneabroad Mon 13-May-13 13:13:09

Just be careful with the snagging!! For eg.

Here's one I never noticed..and I've just had to put up with it (because can't afford to put them all right myself)

Not one of my window sills is level. They all tilt every so slightly forward. So if you put a pen, lipstick etc on the sill it falls off.

Now, as if you're going to notice that when you go around snagging!

Also, all of my sockets are pissed. I think they had some 20 yr old apprentice doing all the little jobs who clearly didn't know the meaning of a spirit level.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

You need to read the fine print to understand exactly what is included, inside and out...

For example, when I did a self build (in Norway I should add) I did not understand the significance of the difference between "outside leveling" and "ready to lay lawn" which means we got something that was reasonably flat, but we had to spend a serious amount of money to make the land flat enough to actually make a lawn.

One quote we got was very cheap, but the beading was not included, and neither the doorframes! The house had lino throughout, and when I queried this, was told "oh you can upgrade later". Fair enough, but what will it cost to upgrade later? Turns out that was another 4k.

Be wary of anything that is not clear, and if they tell you that "this particular finish is not a problem" as in changing your ceramic tiles to something different, ask what it will cost, or if there is a price difference at all. Carpets may be cheaper, but they might actually just say "oh carpets are interchangeable with tiles", but does this cost saving work in your favour or theirs?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

that is pretty poor Wish, I do think you have to be up their arses about snagging and also making sure they do what you have paid for. We paid for heated towel rails in all three bathroom and on the day we went over to have a meeting with the site manager, we had radiators lol. Luckily our worst snagging issue was a shaver socket over the sink, why the hell would you do that ? Doesn't everyone have a mirror above the sink ? No, not according to Taylor Wimpey, they did come in and move it after about 4 months.
Lunatic that is another tip, if building work is still going on, make the site manager your new best friend. He is more likely to sent someone to fix something than reporting it to the sales office, who aren't really interested at this stage.

Yes you do Lunatic, we found the "friendly" but "take no shit" attitude worked great.

duffybeatmetoit Mon 13-May-13 13:41:29

If there are already people living on the development it might be worth checking Rightmove etc to see how many are already up for resale (some developers don't allow "for sale" signs whilst they are still selling off plots in case it deters buyers of new plots). It can be an indication of poor building standards and houses that are actually impractical for living in (in contrast to the perfection of the show houses)

On second viewings look closely at whether there is sufficient storage for things like hoovers, ironing boards. Is there space for all the white goods you have or intend to have? Is there space in the bedrooms for wardrobes, bedside tables, chest of drawers etc (often notably absent from showhomes)?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamingofsun Mon 13-May-13 13:46:49

if possible look at the build as it goes along, i think as others have suggested. our current house had an internal wall in the wrong place, so would have made an ensuite unworkable. someone else had a house where they forgot to put a diningroom door in (and they had already built several of that style). we have suffered from bad plumbing in this house - but you would have that problem if it was new build or a slighter older house.....as its still the same idiot plumbers. and yes be firm and document as much as possible.

dreamingofsun Mon 13-May-13 13:48:24

new builds often have more things in the contract that you aren't allowed to do, eg in our case have a caravan or chickens. I'm not keen on either so not an issue for us....shame they can't exclude grumpy old people called chris.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

We used to visit the site every 2-3 weeks, just to check on thing as we had a bit of a delay on completion which we expected as we bought completely off plan. We used to squeeze through the fence and have a good mooch about.
Having the site manager on side was fantastic, we installed a fireplace before completing which saved us a couple of hundred in VAT (Sales girls nearly had hear failure at the mere question, even though it meant they would have a lovely fireplace if we pulled out).
He left the skirting boards off the bathroom and tiled down to the floor so we could have the floors tiled so it looked like a wet room.
He also left skirting off the study so we could have wood floor laid without having to have beading and then sent the chippy over to put the skirting on top.
Lunatic really think about stuff like this as it is small things like this that slip that make a new build look "Scruffy". Our neighbours have skirting in bathrooms but have lost all the profile as the tiler tiled down onto the skirting, so it basically looks like a white band around the room.

dreaming I think all developement come with a grumpy Chris, ours is a Christine, she puts notes on cars that park on the public road outside her house confused.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dreamingofsun Mon 13-May-13 14:22:49

sorry to drip feed but keep remembering things. look at the size of drives and gardens. we bought off plan this time and the drive size of one house would have been totally unworkable .....5 bed house with drive that only takes one car????

AngelsWithSilverWings Mon 13-May-13 14:39:22

I wouldn't ever buy a new build again.

The first house I bought was a new build. We had terrible problems with mould in wardrobes and around the windows and once you have completed the developers don't care.

The main thing I remember is being told that the area in front of the house was designated as park land on the plans for the new estate and that once the development was finished it would all be landscaped we would have a lovely view.

No progress had been made on the landscaping when I moved out ( due to relationship breaking down) two years later. There was just a view over fields ( which was still nice)

Fast forward 20 years and that house now has a 6 ft wooden fence slap bang in front of the tiny front garden, and it overlooks the back gardens of the houses built on the land in front!

I was a very naive 20 year old when I bought that place!

dreamingofsun Mon 13-May-13 14:43:47

angels - i think you are highlighting a slightly different issue there - a good point though - I would never buy near an empty field unless it had an SSI. because a new build is likely to be put there and it won't be built to minimise impact towards neighbours

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