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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Buying a newly built home - things to check

If you're buying a newly built home, there are some key actions you can take to help prevent problems. Find out what you need to do before and after the sale, including getting a warranty and checking the reputation of your builder.

Before you buy a newly built home

Before buying a newly built home, it’s advisable to check whether your builder is registered with National House-Building Council (NHBC). You can do this by calling NHBC's helpdesk on 0844 633 1000 or searching the register on the NHBC website. If your builder isn’t registered with NHBC, check you’ll be offered cover from another reputable company.

It’s also a good idea to:

  • check the builder's reputation
  • ask to look around homes the builder has built before and talk to previous customers
  • visit the site (is it tidy and well-managed?) to get information about the builder’s commitment to quality
  • take time to understand the cover provided by your warranty

Warranties for newly built homes

You should protect your property by getting a good warranty (guarantee) provided by a reputable company.

Most new homes are protected by the National House-Building Council (NHBC) 10-year Buildmark warranty and insurance. However, some builders use other warranty providers – they should be able to give you full details of the property’s warranty.

The organisation Local Authority Building Control (LABC) also provides warranties. Follow the link below for information on their New Home warranty.

You should ensure that the final building control certificate is available if the new property is not covered by an NHBC or similar warranty.

Even if the house has a warranty, you should still get insurance. The warranty will only apply to certain problems related to the construction of the building.

After exchanging on a newly built home

Once you have exchanged contracts:

  • get the warranty documents from your solicitor and read them carefully
  • before taking possession of your home, make sure you inspect it carefully for any defects
  • wait until the home is fully completed before you move in; once you have moved in, check your new home again thoroughly
  • report any defects in writing to your builder and make sure you keep a copy
  • if you are in dispute with your builder, write to the appropriate NHBC office, if registered under the scheme
  • consider getting a structural survey done, especially if your home is more than two years old

Environmental rating for all new homes in England

All new homes in England now have to have a compulsory rating under the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH). This rating lets you know how well your home meets environmental standards.

The code helps homebuyers get better information about the impact of their new home on the environment, and its potential running costs.

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