New Build Solicitors

Your personal legal advisor will help you through your new build purchase

Helping you to move into your new build

Buying a home can be one of the biggest investments of our lives, and the process can seem daunting. A new build home comes with added concerns as you may be purchasing the property before it has even been built. It is therefore important that you have the support and guidance of a professional who has specialist knowledge in new build properties to help you through the process.

Key Contact

Amy Moran

Chartered Legal Executive

Choosing the right new build conveyancing solicitor

When buying a new build home it is important to carefully choose the right solicitor. You should consider using a solicitor who has specialist knowledge of new build homes so they can ensure all the necessary requirements are carried out.

The developer may recommend you use one of their panel solicitors however you may find that they are out of area or online only. Choosing your own solicitor will ensure the contract of purchase is in your favour and will not bend to the developer’s solicitor’s demands.

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At Goughs we have a dedicated team who specialise in new build homes. We are the largest solicitors in Wiltshire, with seven offices throughout the county in Calne, Chippenham, Corsham, Devizes, Melksham, Trowbridge and Greenways. You will have a dedicated property lawyer who will offer you a personal service.

Difference between a new-build and regular conveyancing solicitor

A new build conveyancing solicitor will have specialist expert knowledge of purchasing new build homes and the key dates involved.

The purchase of a new build property will have strict deadlines set by the developer for exchange and completion. A specialist new build conveyancing solicitor will have experience of working towards these deadlines whilst ensuring all the necessary checks and enquiries are made.

A new build home requires more in-depth investigations to be made than a traditional purchase, including checking all appropriate planning permissions are in place and have been complied with. Your new build conveyancing solicitor will have the expertise to know what to look out for and what queries to raise with the developer

New build conveyancing process

Once you have reserved your plot with the developer, you will need to instruct a conveyancing solicitor to act on your behalf. The developer will have their own solicitor acting on their behalf who will send your solicitor a contract pack, containing the contract for your purchase, the title deeds and all relevant planning documents.

Order searches

Your solicitor will then order searches. These can take anything from between 10 days to a few months dependant on the area you are purchasing in. The searches ordered will be made up of a Local Authority Search, a Water and Drainage Search and an Environmental Search. Once your solicitor has received the results of your searches and considered the documents contained in the contract pack, they will raise any necessary enquiries with the developer’s solicitors.

Sign contracts

When your solicitor receives all replies to the enquiries raised from the developer’s solicitor they will ask you to sign the contract and provide your 10% deposit. Developer’s usually have a strict deadline of between 4-6 weeks from the date of the reservation of the plot for an exchange to take place.

Exchange contracts

When you exchange contracts you will either be offered a fixed completion date or a anticipated completion date. It is not uncommon for you to exchange on a new build home before the property is built and ready to move in to. In this circumstance, you will be provided with an anticipated completion date, which is when the developer considers the property may be ready. The anticipated date may move due to unforeseen circumstances such as adverse weather conditions. The developer will issue your solicitor with a notice when the property is ready to move in to, usually providing 10 working days to complete.

How long does it take to purchase a new build property?

Commonly, you may find that you are purchasing your property “off-plan”, which means that you are committing to purchasing a property before the development is complete. You may find that the developer will give you a deadline of between 4-6 weeks to exchange contracts on your purchase with completion to follow at a later date when the property is build complete.

You will be given an anticipated completion date when you exchange contracts however it is not uncommon for this to be delayed as a result of adverse weather or unforeseeable circumstances preventing work continuing on-site as planned.

How long does it take to purchase a new build property?

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New build conveyancing FAQ’s

Once contracts are exchanged, a long stop date will be agreed instead of the usual fixed completion date. The Developer will issue a notice, usually 10 working days, once the property is ready to move in to for you to complete the purchase.

A long stop date is the latest date that parties must fulfill their duties in a contract. In respect of your new build purchase, this will be the latest date that your purchase must complete, before either party can terminate the contract. The long stop date entered into your contract will be the latest date that the developers believe the property will be ready to move into. If this date passes and the property is not ready, you will usually be able to terminate your contract to purchase and the developer should return your deposit and reservation fee to you.

Typically, you will need to pay a Reservation Fee at the site office when your reserve the property. This fee will be taken off the balance due from you at completion.

When you exchange contracts you will also have to pay the developer a deposit, which is usually 10% of the purchase price. Again, the deposit paid will be deducted from the total amount owing to the developer on completion.

If you fail to complete once contracts have been exchanged, the developer will keep both your reservation fee and deposit as compensation.

If you are using a mortgage to purchase your new build property, it is important to check that the mortgage offer expiry is not before the long stop date given by the developer. If your mortgage offer is due to expire prior to the long stop date being offer then you will need to contact your mortgage advisor to ask for this to be extended prior to exchanging contracts with the developer.

If your new home is registered with the National Housebuilding Council it will come with a 10 year warranty, commonly with providers such as NHBC. The warranty stays with the property, so if you sell within the first 10 years, the warranty will pass to future owners.

The warranty is essentially an insurance policy and is put in place to protect you for any defects in the property due to faults in the design, workmanship or materials used which were undiscovered at the time of completion of your purchase.

During your first two years in the property, if there are any issues with the work carried out by the developers, they are obliged to come and fix them.

During the next 3-10 years, the developer is only responsible for major structural defects in the property.

It is therefore important you ensure all smaller defects or “snagging” issues are notified to the developer prior to the first 2 years of ownership to ensure they are dealt with.

Yes, and you should! NHBC and other warranties will not cover workmanship and quality finishes so you should consider arranging a snagging inspector to visit the property prior to completion to ensure you are happy with the condition of the property. You can then agree a snagging list with the developer to ensure all defects are dealt with during your first 2 years of ownership.

If you are selling a property to purchase your new build you should make your Buyers aware of your anticipated completion date for your new build as soon as possible. You may find that your Buyers are not prepared to wait for your new build property to be built and you may need to consider “breaking the chain”. This means that you may need to complete your sale and move into temporary accommodation while you wait for your new build property to be built.

No. We will only act for you and, if you have one, your lender. Our duty is to you, and we will report to you all our legal findings on the site. You will then be able to make an informed decision on whether you wish to proceed with your purchase.

Although we will not act for your Developer, at Goughs we have a highly experienced Plot Sales team with in-depth knowledge and experience of new build sites. Our New Build Purchase Team therefore have the benefit of being able to draw on this knowledge if we do come across any potential issues when considering the legal pack for your purchase.

You may find that your developer has a panel solicitor (or a few) which they recommend you use for your purchase.

Usually, the panel solicitors will have an agreed bundle already in place with the developer’s solicitor, which they have pre-checked for the entirety of the site. The problem here is that with only one or two firms checking the paperwork, things can get missed.

Your solicitor should be checking the contract papers to ensure they are to your favour and that you are adequately protected for your specific property, as well as checking that all requirements are in place for the development. A lawyer specifically chosen by you will be less likely to bend to time pressures of the developers and will instead take the time to ensure all paperwork has been thoroughly checked and that you are appropriately advised of all the terms of your purchase.

A local solicitor such as Goughs will also have knowledge of the development and the surrounding area, so will be in a position to provide further advice about any further developments in the area or possible issues.

Our clients rate us as excellent

Corsham

Well-managed transaction handled promptly and professionally. We have used Goughs before, will use again and would not hesitate to recommend

Sue Jenkins

Nadine has been excellent throughout, keeping us regularly informed of all progress and we liked her very practical approach to things. The support staff at Goughs have also been excellent throughout, hence, instructing Goughs on 4 property matters. Nothing too much trouble and all requests were dealt with very swiftly

Devizes

I have used Goughs solicitors for conveyancing on more than one occasion. Extremely efficient and professional and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them

W D, Calne

Professional, helpful & knowledgeable service. Giving very clear advice in a way I could understand. Thank you.

S, M, Chippenham

The service was professional, efficient and very friendly. I will be using Goughs again.

Sarah Fuller

Brilliant service, I couldn’t fault Goughs and have subsequently gone on to use their services for another purpose.

Meet the Residential Property Team

Ailie Peacock

Senior Associate Licensed Conveyancer

Alison Parfitt

Trainee Residential Conveyancer

Amy Moran

Chartered Legal Executive

Catherine Thompson

Residential Conveyancer

Donna Linden

Senior Associate Residential Property Practitioner

Elmira Moore

Senior Associate

Faye Smith

Solicitor

Gemma Rodriguez-Molloy

Licensed Conveyancer

Elmira Moore

Senior Associate

Lesley Warren

Partner and Head of Residential Property

Rachael Watkins

Trainee Residential Conveyancer

Harriet Pestille

Trainee Solicitor

Alison Parfitt

Trainee Residential Conveyancer

Gemma Rodriguez-Molloy

Licensed Conveyancer

Amy Moran

Chartered Legal Executive

Catherine Thompson

Residential Conveyancer

Sophie Laird

Residential Conveyancer

Faye Smith

Solicitor

Donna Linden

Senior Associate Residential Property Practitioner

Nadine Stevenson

Senior Associate

Ailie Peacock

Senior Associate Licensed Conveyancer

Isabel Figueiredo

Partner & Notary Public

Lindsey Nolan

Senior Associate Solicitor

Why Choose Goughs?

Local since 1882, with an excellent reputation

First-class, effective service

Largest solicitors in Wiltshire

Seven offices throughout the county

Nationally accredited law firm

Recognised by Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners

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