Helping UK new home buyers
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There are many more disadvantages than advantages when you buy a new home. You should carefully consider all the drawbacks below before making a decision to buy a new home. Just because you can buy a new home, it doesn’t mean you should!
People who buy a new home actually do so expecting it to have defects! They wouldn’t buy a new car that way. It is a sad fact that 93%* of all new homes buyers find preventable defects when they move in. Even worse, is that after reporting their problems, most of the large builders treat the complaints with complete indifference and their customers with contempt. Our own forum has many stories which show just how little house builders actually care about the quality of the homes they build and the service they give to their buyers after they have moved in. This is by far the biggest disadvantage of buying a brand new home. You will probably be buying trouble!
*Source HBF Customer Satisfaction Survey average 2006-2014 surveys
Should you wish to sell before the development is sold out, your 'second-hand' home will be in direct competition with the remaining brand new homes available and the incentives the builder is offering at the time, including Help to Buy. You should also be aware that around 75% of UK home buyers would not buy a home built after 2001.
Unless you purchase the last home on the development this is inevitable and unavoidable. You will find yourself subjected to mud on the roads, dust, noise, parking and access problems and a general lack of privacy. You will probably have the advantage that you can dump your rubbish in the builders’ skips for a while though!
These are offered by most of the major builders as they find them very profitable! Before agreeing to pay for an extra power point or wall and floor tiling, it may be worth talking to the sub contractor direct, as going through the builder can add around 35% to the cost! If the friendly sales advisor is forbidden to tell you who the sub contractor is, ask on site yourself, but avoid the building areas for obvious safety reasons.
Most of the larger Plc. house builders have National Agreements with their suppliers. These normally involve suppliers giving large payments or very substantial discounts to the builder. These are in return for an assurance that only the supplier’s materials or products will be used in all the homes built by that builder during the period covered by the agreement. When these agreements are set up, the builder’s directors often select specific product ranges that then further limit the choice available to you. This is particularly noticeable with kitchen unit styles. The regional offices of the larger builders are then tied to the national agreements and resultant specifications set by the builder’s group head office.
It should be fully understood that new homes are generally smaller than their older counterparts. In fact some of the older terraced houses in our town centres were large enough for builders to convert into several modern flats! With the ever rising cost of land it is inevitable that developers would seek to maximise their return, by increasing the number of homes on a development whilst maintaining an acceptable building density to placate local planners. This often results in homes being built on a reduced ‘footprint’ with subsequent reductions in room sizes, often to the bare minimum that will be accepted by prospective purchasers. In fact living in a new home can actually damage your health and lead to depression, immune system suppression and diabetes type 2; as well as affecting internal organs such as the digestion system, kidneys and the liver!
This is one of the main criticisms people have regarding new homes and why 75% of the population would not even look at any home built after 2001.
Front gardens are a thing of the past with new homes built after 2000. Some are often just deep enough to accommodate a gas meter box!
Modern new homes, especially semi-detached, terraced and flats, tend to have bathrooms and cloakrooms that do not have the benefit of a window for both natural light and ventilation.
Rarely some kitchens are also missing a window. A window in these rooms is not a requirement, and it is sacrificed to benefit the remaining accommodation. The house is either too narrow or too small to facilitate a better design layout that would enable the bathroom to have an external wall and therefore a window. Even the windows a new home does have are usually the smallest that regulations allow.
Another factor you can now not avoid is the provision of social and/or affordable housing on a development. This is stipulated as part of the planning process under a Section 106 Agreement – part of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Such provision is encouraged by central government. Generally, any development of 15 homes or more attracts a requirement for social and/or affordable housing. This can be as much as 30% of the development. In the past any social housing would be at one end of the development and relatively self-contained. However it is now more common to see the social housing provision integrated with the homes for sale throughout the development. This may be a particular problem in blocks of flats. The cost of this requirement can increase the price paid for the homes sold on the open market on the development.
The Government produced a document called PPS3, a planning policy statement that replaced the previous PPG3 guideline on density of developments. It basically relaxed requirements for parking space provision, open space, estate roads etc. and gave developers an opportunity to cram as many plots on to a development as their designers could squeeze on. This results in cramped developments with little or no on street parking and front doors opening directly on to the public footpath. Even if the development escapes PPG3 requirements, it is still likely to be of a far higher density than those built ten years ago. Most rear gardens are overlooked by more than two of their neighbours. Front gardens are all but non-existent. (see above)
Requirements for the minimum number of parking spaces per home (previously 2 spaces per home and 3 for a four-bedroom home) have been relaxed. The thinking behind this being an effort to limit the number and use of cars and also to enable more of the development site to be built on, making better use of the land available and thus reducing the green field land requirement for new housing. This can sometimes result in your one parking space being located in your rear garden!
All new homes are subject to the new mobility standards. In short this stipulates a minimum size for access doors to ground floor rooms as well as the principal entrance door. Other requirements include minimum widths for access in hallways and the provision of a ground floor cloakroom, to a certain minimum size. This can often result in the remaining rooms on the ground floor being reduced in size to enable the minimum requirements for wider hallways and the cloakroom to be achieved. In addition, the increased width and revised positioning of ground floor doors may limit room furnishing options due to the wider doors.
|Do's and Don'ts when buying a new home|
|Types of new homes available|
|Buying an apartment|
|Advantages of buying a new home|
|Disadvantages of buying a new home|
|New home buying procedure|
|Questions to ask the builder|
|Regulations to protect buyers|
|Consumer Code For Home Builders|
|Never use housebuilder solicitors|
|Property title deeds|
|What to look for when buying a new home|
|When to buy a new home|
|Builder's optional extras|
|Buying in a recession|
|New home warranty|
|Buying an apartment|
|Considerations when buying a flat|
|New homes can be bad for your health|
|Why buyers avoid new homes|
|Consumer Code Dispute Resolution|
|Claiming Compensation - Adjudication Scheme|
|Tricks of the showhome|
|Sales advisors and sales centres|
|Timber frame construction|
|Timber frame new homes|
|Timber frame - what you need to know|
|Quality issues with timber frame homes|
|Fire and timber frame new homes|
|What the NHBC does|
|The cost of moving to a new home|
|Tips to sell your existing home|
|Health and safety|
|The site manager|
|Advice on renting a home|
|Air Source Heat Pumps|
|New stamp duty calculator|
|Scotland LBTT calculator|
|Removals and moving home|
|Packing and planning the move|
|Checklist for change of address|
|Choosing a mortgage|
|Avoiding mortgage refusal|
|Help to Buy|
|How to save on home insurance|
|Home insurance policy conditions|
|Flood insurance claim|
|Renting do's and don'ts|
|Section 106 Agreements|
|Community Infrastructure Levy 2010|
|After you move in|
|DIY and home improvement|
|Choosing a tradesman|
|When you find problems|
|How to complain|
|Making a Subject Access Request|
|Taking a builder to court|
|Regional Managing Director 1|
|Regional Managing Director 2|
|Executive Chairman 1|
|Executive Chairman final letter|
|NHBC warranty claim|
|Subject Access Request|