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new build - pros and cons please!

(31 Posts)

We are thinking of buying a house on a new estate but I am a bit nervous buying a house that hasn't been built yet! Can those who have done this please tell me pros and cons, any problems and any hidden costs. Thanks

Pendeen Sun 02-Oct-11 22:15:09

What are your concerns?

Anifrangapani Sun 02-Oct-11 22:18:19

Depends on the site and how far along it is, the developer, local market, etc.

Just not being able to see the house first really.I've seen a plan with dimensions etc but am having trouble visualizing it! They've built a few houses there but none of the type I'm looking at and theres still loads to be built there. I just want to know if there's anything in particular I need to look out for as I've never bought a house before!

Sushiqueen Mon 03-Oct-11 07:40:08

We have bought 2 brand new properties.

The first one was finished before we bought it, so we could see what we were getting. The second one was bought off plan. So I had no idea what it would look like inside. DH had seen round the shell of the other one similar but I had to rely on his views!!!

One thing I would say is that developers can be really pushy with the exchange date. When you commit to buy they normally specify the exchange date they want then and they will hassle you to get it.

This meant that with our second property we ended up exchanging 6 weeks before the house was even finished and living in a hotel for 6 weeks, so that we didn't hold up the sale of our property.

You can normally though have a say in all the tiles, kitchen units, paint colours etc which is nice. Also if they are still building around you, it is always handy to get to know the guys working on site. That way if you have any little jobs you need doing, such as extra patio stones to be laid, a path to be done etc, they often agree to doing them for cash and for a far cheaper price than you would pay normally. The site manager is always handy to know as if you have any issues with the house, you can get them sorted out without going through customer services (which is often a blessing in disguise).

You will have a constant battle with dust though if they are building around you. We used to have a fine layer of red dust on most of the window sills and they agreed to clean our windows once they had finished building near us.

Also check what you get for your money. We managed to get carpets and all floor coverings included with our second house but not with the first. So that was an extra expense. Also all we got was dirt and a few bushes in the garden, so we had to pay for turf etc. Normally as well, unless you buy the ex show home. you will have to get curtain poles, curtains and blinds etc for every window as they are not normally included.

Gincognito Mon 03-Oct-11 07:56:39

We've looked at a few new builds and the one thing that was a real deal breaker for me has been the size of the gardens. We saw a ridiculously expensive show house (4 bed) last week that had a postage stamp garden that would shame a 2 bed.

You need to mark out the dimensions on the floor to get a proper feel - don't really on measurements alone.

Gincognito Mon 03-Oct-11 07:58:23

Also check out storage space - how much there is and the depth of any inbuilt cupboards etc. Ime, while there are some real pluses to a new build, many developers try to shave off space wherever possible to pack in the maximum number of houses.

myron Mon 03-Oct-11 08:48:26

Covenient and you won't have to do much apart from the initial snagging. We spent most of our weekends refurbing our first house (no choice cos we couldn't afford to pay someone else to do it) but it's telling that we bought brand new houses off plan for our 2nd and 3rd homes. Our 2nd brand new hoouse had a decent sized garden so it does depend on plot but our 3rd new build was on a small plot. We picked it for the location though - a stone's throw from a oversubscribed primary and walking distance to Waitrose! Our DC were born when we lived in the newbuilds - I couldn't face the stress of renovating with babies. We're in the process of purchasing our long term house where we intend to stay until the DC leave home - this time though we could afford to wait for a house to come up for sale on our no.1 road. It has a huge garden (overgrown jungle atm) and the house needs a complete refurb from its 1960's original decor - we're talking rewiring, replumbing, reglazing - the whole works! I think that you can probably get a good deal for a newbuild atm unless you have to part exchange (you never get a good deal on that btw!) 1st new build - we got the turf, shower and alarm haggled in. 2nd build - we got £20K discount plus dishwasher, floor tiling, fireplace, turf after some serious haggling! HTH

wonkylegs Mon 03-Oct-11 09:01:12

New build houses are notoriously bad for mean sizing of rooms, gardens and low ceiling heights. www.architecture.com/NewsAndPress/News/RIBANews/News/2011/Shamefulshoeboxhomesnewresearchrevealshowthousandsofbrandnewhousesarefailingtoprovidethespacefamiliesneed.aspx
upside you usually get at least a tiny parking space.
New build is no guarantee of quality, often construction is a bit 'thin' as although they should comply with current building regulations large housebuilders often only have to show compliance of a demonstration model and can self certify the rest of the development.
Here is an article by which on what to look out for www.which.co.uk/news/2011/09/more-than-half-of-new-build-buyers-hit-by-problems-266680/
HTH

myron Mon 03-Oct-11 09:08:28

We've always been in a no chain position though (we tend to relocate into new area and rent for a period before buying first but our relocations have been hundreds of miles apart rather than a few miles down the road) and we've learnt from experience to haggle when we thought we could.

Quenelle Mon 03-Oct-11 09:27:59

Yy to small gardens, although we're lucky with our plot also usually NO front garden. Streets are very narrow and can feel claustrophobic. Never enough parking spaces for all either.

Building works can go on within feet of your home for months or years.

Also don't depend on the amenities in a new development. Many people moved to our new 'village' on strength of claims that a station would be built in late 2010. Earliest it will be built is now 2015. Health centre will not be built at all now.

Ask for a drawing of your kitchen. Finding out exactly what ours would have was like pulling teeth.

Do your own lawns. Developers will often just lay turf over 6 inches of top soil, and not leave space under fence panels so they rot.

Quenelle Mon 03-Oct-11 09:27:59

Yy to small gardens, although we're lucky with our plot also usually NO front garden. Streets are very narrow and can feel claustrophobic. Never enough parking spaces for all either.

Building works can go on within feet of your home for months or years.

Also don't depend on the amenities in a new development. Many people moved to our new 'village' on strength of claims that a station would be built in late 2010. Earliest it will be built is now 2015. Health centre will not be built at all now.

Ask for a drawing of your kitchen. Finding out exactly what ours would have was like pulling teeth.

Do your own lawns. Developers will often just lay turf over 6 inches of top soil, and not leave space under fence panels so they rot.

Becaroooo Mon 03-Oct-11 10:43:42

new builds =
Tiny gardens - usually built over existing roads/paths so the grass dies off.
NO storage
NO loft
Room sizes can be tiny...some developers use 3/4 size furniture in their showhomes to make the rooms look bigger
Not enough parking

My dsis bought off plan and spent £350k 6 years ago on a 3 storey 5 bed house on a new estate. They have a tiny back garden with grass that dies. She has no storage and the garage isnt big enough to get her car in. She has had issues with the kitchen appliances and showers in all the en suites. She has no front garden at all and 1 parking space in front of her lounge window!!!

I would never live there, no matter how nice the house is!

<<new estate being built atm in the village and they are asking £180k for a 3 bed semi with no garage!!!>>

Fizzylemonade Mon 03-Oct-11 12:31:14

Parking!! We moved off a 15 year old estate as all the houses whether 2, 3 or 4 bed had a garage and a drive to fit one car. It meant most people had 2 cars and then the teenagers living at home had cars. Cue weaving round cars parked on the road.

Moved on to a newish build estate, all the houses have parking for 2 cars on the drives, even the 2 beds and garages.

Agree that gardens can be small as plots are carved up very strangely at times. We had a decent sized plot as we are the ex-show home and the soil is amazing (all previous new build houses have had builders rubble under a bit of top soil)

Storage can be an issue, we had none in ours, so nowhere to hang coats or put shoes. We converted the double garage into a playroom and have storage cupboards in there for coats, hoover, ironing board etc.

Dust and site traffic from them still building, we had unfinished roads for about 6 months, raised man-hole covers etc.

Fizzylemonade Mon 03-Oct-11 12:31:38

Forgot to say snagging is easier to sort if the builders are still on site!

Bumblequeen Mon 03-Oct-11 12:49:16

I was advised by a friend to steer clear of new builds as her walls were so thin she could not hang photograph frames.

pros
Newly refurbished
Mod cons often thrown in
Garage or parking bay

Cons
Small rooms
Thin walls
Squeaky floorboards
Low ceilings
Small garden
Identical house to neighbours- no individualism

minipie Mon 03-Oct-11 14:37:24

One possible disadvantage is resale value - unless this is your "forever house" (for want of a less boaksome phrase).

I have heard that new build houses don't keep their value as well. You pay a premium for buying a "brand new never lived in" house, which obviously you will not get back when you come to sell the house as a "10 year old" house or whatever. You're likely to be competing with new builds when you come to sell and yours will obv be less "fresh" by comparison.

I don't know how true this is however, having never bought/sold a modern house. But you could ask estate agents locally for their view.

Quenelle Mon 03-Oct-11 16:08:30

Nobody has yet managed to resell on our development. But it's only about two years old and there's probably another year of building to go.

Disagree that they all look the same though. The trend now is to build all different styles and sizes in the same street. Ours is the only one of its style out of over 40 houses in our street.

Quenelle Mon 03-Oct-11 16:08:30

Nobody has yet managed to resell on our development. But it's only about two years old and there's probably another year of building to go.

Disagree that they all look the same though. The trend now is to build all different styles and sizes in the same street. Ours is the only one of its style out of over 40 houses in our street.

minipie Mon 03-Oct-11 16:19:23

grin at "they all look the same".

I live in an area of Victorian terraces - they really do all look the same. V popular despite that though (or perhaps partly because of that...)

wonkylegs Mon 03-Oct-11 16:30:35

My problem isn't the sameness within a development but the sameness up and down the country - no regional variation, that says this house is in Newcastle, Bristol, Manchester
This is due to them using set house types up and down the country whereas terraces in each city and even in different areas of the city have regional variation which sets their 'place' - sorry I'm an architect so this is a pet bugbear

lilystar Mon 03-Oct-11 17:15:54

If there isn't a show home of the type you like at the development you like, check to see if the builder has any other developments near to you. They may well have a show home of the house type you like there, but it may be under a different name, so you'll have to look at the plans to find it.

If you can find one, it may help you to visualise the rooms and layout, even though it won't be in the same location.

Thanks all there's some really useful stuff there and I now have lots of questions to ask the developers!

mumzy Tue 04-Oct-11 08:15:28

A definite plus of new builds is they have to meet stringent insulation standards so tend to be warm with good ventilation ( so less condensation) our fuel bills are very reasonable as a result . Also very low maintenance unlike the my parent's period property. Downsides are thin Walls so if you have noisy neighbours it can be a pain but shouldn't matter if you're detached . Our house is 13 years old and bought off plan all the rooms are a good size and we have a decent garden however was viewing more recently built 4 beds and the had the same square footage area as our 3 bed so obviously nowadays rooms and gardens are being built to a smaller size.

mumzy Tue 04-Oct-11 08:20:03

Also if the estate is in the process of being built there might not be a show house for every design the have so agree ask to look at the plans. Also beware of the sales team trying to flog you the houses that are already built as they may be on not great roads You might get a better house if you're prepared wait a bit longer.

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