Top tips for happy house hunting in new-build developments.
This week is National Home Buying Week and, for anyone thinking about buying a new build home, one of the first steps will often be visiting a show home.
There can be a lot to take in when looking around a show home for the first time – even more so following the Covid-19 pandemic, where all housebuilders have built-in a raft of new measures to allow people to visit safely.
These include pre-screening questionnaires, social distancing and mandatory face coverings, so take time to do your research with the developer to see if there’s anything additional you may need to do before attending.
So, to mark National Home Buying Week, here are our top ten tips for getting the most out of your visit as life hopefully begins a return to normal.
Arriving on site…
Condition of the site – Check whether the site and the development as a whole seem tidy and well managed. Look out for NHBC Pride in the Job flags and signage – this will tell you that you’re visiting an award-winning site of the highest standard.
The wider community – Take a look at the full site plan to see where open spaces, parkland and play areas for children are, as well as any new facilities on larger developments such as schools, GP surgeries and local shops. This will give you a sense of how the area will develop over the coming years.
Safety – Many show homes will be located on or close to an active building site. Be sure to keep to designated areas and follow any health and safety instructions you are given.
Inside the show home…
Personalisation – Ask which areas of the house you can personalise to your own taste. In most cases, depending on the build stage, you will be able to choose the kitchen and bathroom finishes and you may also be able to reposition radiators or add electrical sockets.
Furniture fit – Take measurements of large items such as beds, sofas and dining room tables, and then measure up space in the show home to check that your belongings will fit if you are buying a similar-sized home. It is also a good idea to see what storage is available for vacuum cleaners, ironing boards and other large items.
Energy efficiency – Ask to see a copy of the home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as this will give you a good indication of how energy-efficient the home is, and how much the utility bills are likely to cost. Ask if the home has been fitted with any renewable technologies that may reduce bills even further. Also, check which way the house faces – south-facing windows can improve the energy efficiency of a home as the sun’s energy warms the walls and floors of a building, but north-facing windows offer a more consistent quality of light.
Peace of mind with warranty cover – Check whether the property is covered by NHBC’s ten-year Buildmark warranty.
Timescales – Find out when the home is likely to be completed and ready to move into. It is natural to want to move as quickly as possible, but your chosen plot could be a few months from completion, especially if you are buying off-plan.
Council tax banding – Find out which council tax band the home will be allocated to, and what the current yearly charge is for that band. The sale price of the home may not necessarily be an accurate guide.
Consumer Code for Home Builders – The code gives protection and rights to purchasers of new homes. Ask to see a copy of the code, and make sure that you are protected during each stage of the buying process.
And finally, enjoy your show home visit and happy house hunting!