Buying a new home that is scheduled for completion at the end of the builder’s financial year, or half-end, can be a gamble. You may not only risk owning a property that was rushed and finished to a poor standard but you may be pressured into moving in without having thorough checks on the building.
It’s over for another year, well six months at least.
What am I talking about? Half year or yearend completions. They are a nightmare not only for new build home buyers but professional snaggers as well.
Notice before completion
House builders do not play fair at this time of year, they are bullish and demand new home buyers to complete within limited time scales. Normally you would expect 2 weeks’ notice before completion, however, at this time of year I regularly see and experience notice and completion within 24 hours. This is incredibly rushed as you should also have a home demonstration preferably before you get your keys.
Reasonability goes through the window and new house buyers are treated extremely badly by developers.
Undue stress anxiety, disappointment and sleepless nights are common when buying newly built houses at this time of year. And the expectations and excitement of collecting the keys to your brand-new home are shattered when you are coerced, bullied, and put under unrealistic stress to completing a half year or yearend plot with a short notice period.
This not only puts strain on the new house buyer but also increases the pressure on removal companies who you have scheduled.
Why do developers do this?
Unfortunately, this is mainly down to greed. For most builders and building companies, it is all about making more money as there are bonuses on the number of houses they complete and sell.
You can turn to a professional snagger
The importance of employing the services of a professional snagger at this time of year can’t be stressed enough. My advice is to search out a professional snagger with experience and knowledge to inspect your new house properly. It is not about how many snags they find and log, it’s about the quality of what they identify and include within their report.
As professional snagging has taken off within the industry some (not all) builders have embraced it. Many look upon good professional snaggers as another pair of eyes to examine the house to ensure they are finished to a good standard.
Others see it as a hindrance and push back when presented with a snagging list. The number of times I have heard from my customers that the salesperson has told them that they don’t need to spend money getting a professional snagger. They claim that they snag the houses themselves and the Warranty provider has signed it off. However, this is not to always be trusted.
Do not think that what they are telling you ensures you are getting a good house. Let’s look at the NHBC and their key stage inspections. Your brand-new house will have taken anywhere from 18 – 24 or more weeks to build. There are 5 key stage inspections which they look at:
Foundations – once excavated (before concrete)
Drainage – (if NHBC is also carrying out Building Control services)
Superstructure – the brickwork, blockwork, floors, and roof.
First fix – before plastering or drylining.
Pre-handover – final (CML) inspection for Building Regulation compliance.
So, there are five inspections, but how long in total do you think they spend on site looking at your house? This will shock you, probably 40 minutes to 1 hour in total.
Why only 40 minutes to 1 hour? Simple, each key stage is prepared and ready for the inspector to look at by the site manager. Site managers do not want warranty provider inspectors finding reportable items because they are bonused on the number of reportable items they get. Low reportable items = more bonus.
So, when the salesperson or site manager tells you that your house passed its CML and has been signed off, take this with a pinch of salt.
What happens on completion day?
If you are one of the lucky ones and have had the full 2 weeks’ notice, everything should go smoothly. The house will hopefully have been finished to a good standard, and there will be snags but hopefully, these will be minor. Just to be on the safe side, we also suggest getting it snagged professionally.
On the other hand, if you are one of the unlucky ones and have been bullied and rushed to exchange with a short notice period, that should tell you that your house is likely going to have more than just minor issues.
Advice from an industry expert
Over the last few weeks, I have seen customers extremely pleased with their new house and the experience of buying, to customers who wish they had never bought a brand new house and have had the most terrible of experiences.
Having worked in the house building industry for over 40 years, I can only apologise to newly built house buyers for the way they are treated and the quality and standard of new homes they are expected to buy. This industry is broken beyond repair.
So, if you are not happy with your new home what can you do about it? Not a lot, unfortunately, developers don’t care. My advice would always be to get a professional snagger to inspect your new house.
When choosing a professional snagger, ask yourself: How long have they been in business? Are they vat registered (this shows they have been in business for a while and have been successful)? Do they give advice freely even if you don’t use their services?
Most professional snaggers are happy to help newly built house buyers and will give their advice freely.
Lively Professional Services Ltd are here to help newly built house buyers get the quality they should be getting from their builder. This is what we have successfully built our business on over the last five years.