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New build purchase doubts

(20 Posts)
neverposted Wed 10-Oct-12 12:27:09

First time starting a post?

Husband and I have offered on a new build house and are due to exchange soon.

Now having serious doubts about proceeding following our dealings with the developer so far (via solicitors). Examples:

- They offer minimal info (e.g. what is/isn?t covered by them in the initial period and by NHBC in the longer term).
- Responses to our queries often negative and unreasonable (e.g. won?t allow us to independently snag the property before completion) or refusal to answer (e.g. what the management fee will/won?t cover).
- They have broken some of the mandatory consumer code of practice for home builders.

So it's a case of doing this on their terms or not at all. Our solicitor doesn?t think there?s anything to worry about. But we don?t love the house enough to take risks. We only really went for it because it was a good enough fallback after finding nothing else suitable in months of looking.

We also don?t want to hand over a huge amount of money to a company we believe is acting unfairly and unreasonably. This point seems to be an amusement for our solicitor, but it?s something I feel strongly about.

If we pull out, we need to pay costs incurred so far (solicitor, mortgage valuation survey & reservation fee) and continue searching in an area which has few new properties coming through and multiple buyers chasing each. We may also potentially lose the buyers lined up for our current property if they don?t want to wait.

I think that if someone else told me the above, I would say pull out. So I guess I'm seeking views and experiences from someone else who?s been through similar doubts and frustrations with developers. Head is in a tizz about all this.

EdgarAllanPond Wed 10-Oct-12 12:31:14

have you been able to tell the vendor you are thinking of pulling out due to lack of reply/ response?

which parts of code of practice have they broken?

neverposted Wed 10-Oct-12 12:47:26

No, haven't told vendor. Seeing the house again tomorrow to see if it crystalises our thoughts at all and will let them know after that.

Re codes of practice, they haven't given us explanation of home warranty cover, the reservation contract did not give estimated costs of management services (only told to us verbally) and they say the reservation fee is non-refundable while the code says it must be reimbursed if the reservation agreement is cancelled (although it doesn't specifiy whether that's cancellation by buyer, seller or either).

FishfingersAreOK Wed 10-Oct-12 13:40:42

Whilst I empathise with your frustrations,if everyone who got pissed off with their vendor/buyer pulled out then 75% of house sales would not happen!

Speak to your solicitor. Email them a list of our concerns and ask them to get them clarified. Tell them how close you are to pulling out. But try to remember it is a stressful time and work out if your reasons for buying still stand.

neverposted Wed 10-Oct-12 14:54:01

Thanks fishfingers, I take your point.

We have passed on our concerns to our solicitor and most have been passed onwards but the response is almost always along the lines of the terms are what they are and they won't enter into a discussion.

Are my expectations too high? E.g. I truly would like to know what the management fee covers (since it could run into thousands if they don't all sell the plots within a year - possible as they've only sold a handful in 7 months). Their response that they are unable to tell us seems unreasonable to me.

I think it's very different dealing with a large firm as compared to an individual seller. We would never respond to our buyers like this.

ArbitraryUsername Wed 10-Oct-12 15:26:52

We bought a part exchanged house off a builder. They were a bloody nightmare to deal with, to the point that they were outright rude and aggresive to me on the phone. They kept saying 'sold as seen' when we brought up things that came up on the survey or gas safety check that you couldn't possibly see and had to get someone who knows what they're doing to investigate.

I think they just didn't check the house out properly before they accepted it as a part exchange (and therefore 'paid' too much for it). They kept going on about how they'd 'bought' it for £10k more than we'd offered, which was just nonsense. They'd artificially inflated the part-exchange value so they could inflate the sale price of their new build. We dragged the sale out to make sure they missed their bloody targets for another month because they were such bastards.

Previously I'd bought a new build flat, and the snagging on that was a nightmare. They just would not accept that they hadn't fitted the shower correctly (it only ever ran freezing cold, no matter what you did). I eventually had to pay a plumber to fix it (after fighting with them for over 2 years). It was the same builder both times; you'd think I'd've learned!

neverposted Wed 10-Oct-12 16:10:15

Gosh, so sorry to hear of your experiences. I suppose such a future is my fear as I'm worried their attitude now reflects how they'll be after completion.

I think the phrase 'sold as seen' has been used with us!

Re. snagging, they say I don't need to snag before completion because there will be three snagging surveys before sign off. They don't care about my objection that none of those surveyors are acting on my behalf (one is paid by the developer, one by the contractor and the other I can't remember). The agent even said it's pointless me doing a snagging survey because there will be nothing to snag! I told her that would be a perfect outcome that I would be willing to pay for, but they were having none of it.

ArbitraryUsername Wed 10-Oct-12 16:47:43

Nothing to snag! Hahaha.

One of our friend's just bought a new build. He's had them back several time already. Our roofer told us he's already had to fix several roofs on the still not completed estate near us too.

sparkle9 Wed 10-Oct-12 18:03:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sparkle9 Wed 10-Oct-12 18:05:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EdgarAllanPond Wed 10-Oct-12 18:17:50

I think the phrase 'sold as seen' has been used with us!"

deary me!

New builds are a PITA. We moved in to ours at the end of March. The house is fine, only minor snagging, but it takes them an age to come and do anything. They were the same before completion, and in the end I just refused to sign contracts until we had our answers. You're dealing with a huge chain of people, and it only takes one of them to be crap for the whole things to go waywards, imo.

neverposted Wed 10-Oct-12 21:17:06

Thanks all for evening replies.

I'll ask for details of the management company.

Something we've realised this evening is that our solicitor hasn't been doing enough. He doesn't seem to be proactive in spotting any issues or generating any questions and with the questions we ask him to forward, he just accepts the vendor's solicitor's response without pushing further or insisting on changes to terms. It's almost as if he's trying to be neutral, which surely he shouldn't be, and as if we're doing his job.

I think we need to be more insistent on answers as chickens was.

And to minibmw2010 who posted on the second thread I started because I couldn't see this one...we have an exchange date but completion will be on 10 w.days notice. Have no idea how this will work with our buyers. Glad you otherwise had a good experience though, gives us some hope!

sparkle9 Wed 10-Oct-12 22:00:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

neverposted Wed 10-Oct-12 22:28:21

Thanks Sparkle, that's very helpful.

We asked our agent to discuss this with our buyers but they haven't got back to us so have no ideas where buyers stand on this issue. They are first time buyers renting so will incur a loss for their notice period. I really don't want to move out as an interim measure - just couldn't face moving twice with two little kids in tow and work being really full-on for the next few months. Seems we may have to go down the incentives route.

sparkle9 Wed 10-Oct-12 23:16:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ouchmyfanjo Thu 11-Oct-12 07:10:48

Hi neverposted.we were going for a new build off plan too.we paid the reservation fee but got cold feet when they mentioned management fees and all the extras.i realised that we would have to spend a lot more to get extras that you would get as as part of purchase price in older houses (fireplaces,outside tap,extra sockets etc).
I went to look at the half built site and it just didn't feel right for us.
There were too many compromises on location did amaze me that for the price we didn't even get a space in the hall for coats and shoes and nowhere to put a hoover or ironing board.they told me that was what the garage was for!
We pulled out and have had a battle trying to get our reservaion fee back.
It is a good idea to see it again.snagging aside you are getting a brand new energy efficient home that shouldn't require any work. If you feel it is right for you stick with it.push your solicitor to be more proactive and remember once you are in you shouldn't need to worry about the building company.
If you still have doubts after seeing it think may lose money to walk away but i always think you should go with your gut is usually right!Hth. Good luck.

neverposted Thu 11-Oct-12 11:31:17

Hi Ouch, you were brave to walk away. That is what our gut instinct is telling us but we're worried about the money we'll lose. Did you get your reservation fee back or are you still trying? Did you do this through solicitors and therefore incur further costs?

I had a frank conversation with my solictor this morning and he was awful. He basically said I'm making a fuss about nothing and if I can't cope with the stress of having no say and dealing with snags then I shouldn't be buying a new build!

I suggested to him that I seem to be doing his job for him because he hasn't highlighted any problems with the contract - he said there was no point raising queries because the answer will be no and that he's happy with the terms! He said his job was to advise me and he has done so but I am not taking his advice. I don't accept 'do nothing' as adequate advice in this situation.

He has however agreed to forward my list of queries on because I want the queries and responsed documented. Very big of him.

I think he's basically being lazy because he has already dealt with another purchase for the same development and as that client was happy to go with the flow (cash buyers he pointed out unprofessionally) he thought it would be plain sailing with us.

ArbitraryUsername Thu 11-Oct-12 11:45:26

Have you considered appointing a different solicitor? Was this one recommended by the developer, by any chance?

neverposted Thu 11-Oct-12 11:54:56

Wasn't recommended by the developer but we are now wondering whether they have a link (geographically close so perhaps developer anticipated that local buyers would use this firm).

We used the same firm for our wills and they were great then, so thought it best to go with what we know. However, different solicitors within the firm are of course different.

We have two different solcitors within the firm dealing with our sale and purchase separately. The sale one seems more on the ball. After getting upset with the purchase solicitor this morning, I did actually call the sale one for off the record advice. He remained neutral as expected, but he was far more understanding of my concerns and said he will ensure that my query list does get forwarded.

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