New build nightmares

ended 31. August 2021

A journalist at Mortgage Solutions is writing a piece on issues with new build properties. There's apparently some new research out this week that has found that around 60% of new-build buyers find issues with the property once they get the keys, from things like leaking roofs and dodgy brickwork pointing to doors that don't fit properly and blocked guttering.

The journalist is aware this was a big issue a couple of years ago, with some developers paying compensation after they admitting cutting a few corners, but wants to get a broker's take on this.

  • What horror stories have you had from your clients of new builds?
  • Does this influence the advice process at all, e.g. is it something you'd ever raise with a client?
  • Finally, from a lending perspective, what's the market like with new builds? Are lenders easy to work with on these sorts of cases?

Deadline is fairly tight so keep your responses short and sweet!


5 responses from the Newspage community

As brokers we hear all of the new build horror stories. The most frustrating for us are builders railroading people to use their in house brokerages with some cases not even allowing people to view the properties without seeing their in-house brokers. Coming from a construction background it’s easy to see the corners that are now cut on new builds. A lack of care abs attentions coupled with a rush to get them compete leaves poor workmanship, abs awful finishes on something people are spending hundreds of thousands on and then having no rea support to get the work rectified. The NHBX amd LABC needs to take more accountability when it comes to it
Whilst my clients have not been reporting any major defects to me, fortunately, we are noticing delays in build schedules and completion dates being pushed back - sometimes multiple times. This is very frustrating for clients as the developers often put a lot of pressure on clients to reach exchange of contacts, so for them to then delay things once the client I legally tied in feels unfair to many buyers. The main issue this causes for us as Mortgage Brokers is mortgage offers reaching their expiry date. Fortunately, lenders can be quite accommodating around this, so more often than not getting an extension to the offer is a straight forward process. However, I am getting concerned as the delays grow, we may see lenders being less than happy to extend to the timescales some developers now seem to be asking for, which could leave clients in a very difficult situation.
Some buyers have found plumbing that was not up to par, poor finishing, and a general lack of quality materials that left them needing a new kitchen within 18 months of owning the home. That said, not all developers are like that; there is a spectrum, a few are good, some are ok, and a lot are poor. When I talk to potential buyers, unless it's a developer that I know has a good reputation for quality homes, I will normally try to steer them away if I can, but ultimately it's up to them. Personally, I wouldn't buy a new build, but to each their own. It's a mixed bag from lenders, when it comes to new builds there are other factors that play a role; deposit limits vary on a case to case basis, needing to know details about the warranty along with any incentives that are being offered so there is more to consider and some lenders are better than others.
Well, Well where does one start with the absolute nightmare some clients have had when purchasing a new build, from the quality of brick work to sloping walls and poor quality finishing internally but not all new builds are bad some are built to a high quality but as advisors we always hear the horror stories from clients. Ensure during the snagging process they go through the property with a fine tooth comb and highlight them immediately I feel the NHBC could step in and ensure builders are delivering a quality product rather then just throwing them up for the sake of it. From a lending perspective it’s an absolute pick n mix due to the timescales of building the homes and also the extensions required at times as offers do have expiry dates which can lead to clients being left in awkward position especially if their own circumstances change during the time of the original mortgage offer was issued, as clients are at times rushed and pressured into 28 days exchanges.
There is a perception of newbuilds that everything is perfect as it has only just been built and therefore nothing should be wrong, much like buying a brand new car. Unfortunately this is often not the case and there are examples of poor workmanship and corner cutting. It is unlikely these issues will be picked up along your buying journey as the only physical inspection that will take place will be by the surveyor and they are focused mostly on the value of the property and structural soundness, rather than how it is finished. My advice would be to do a thorough inspection yourself and take a professional builder with you to have a look at the property before you commit to buying it.