There is increasing choice in the market for new build developments, and this helpful guide will go through some items to consider when choosing a new house.

Understanding the purchase

You should discuss the property with your estate agent and check the new build brochure to see what is included in the purchase. If there is already a show house available to see, have a thorough review of it and get confirmation as to whether it’s the same as the house you’re buying. A clear inventory list of what is included as regards appliances and features should be composed. If in any doubt, discuss with your solicitor.

BER Certificate

Other issues to consider are the Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate, which provides a rating of the energy consumption of the building and lasts for 10 years. At this stage, usually a provisional BER Certificate is available because the house is not completed.

Permissions for alteration

Check if there are any “allowances” towards tiling, kitchens, fitted wardrobes etc. This can differ greatly from development to development, as some new builds have restrictions on any such alterations being made to the house, so it is worth comparing if there are a few new developments in the same area at once.

Deposit and contract

You should be clear with the agent as to what booking deposit is payable on agreeing the purchase. This will generally amount to between 3-5% of the purchase price. This payment is refundable if you do not proceed with the purchase prior to signing a contract.

Once this deposit is paid, the contract and building agreement should then issue to the purchaser’s solicitor, who will go through all title items in detail. As solicitor for the purchaser, it is our task to check the terms of the proposed contract and review the title documents carefully. This involves examining for any issues which may affect the type of ownership that you as a buyer will enjoy such as planning issues, rights of way, mapping issues, etc.

Loans

You should arrange for your loan to issue as soon as possible. This can take quite a lot of paperwork so it is best to get it arranged promptly. In recent years, the Help to Buy scheme has helped some first-time buyers of new builds towards their purchase of a new build house. All purchasers should check if they qualify for this helpful scheme.

If you’re happy to sign and proceed with the purchase, at this point you also pay over the rest of the deposit amounting to 10% of the contract price or as otherwise agreed. It is only when the contract is counter signed by the vendor and returned to your solicitor that a binding contract comes into existence.

Inspections

As a purchaser of a new house, you should bear in mind that there can then follow a period of some months or even longer when the house is being completed. When it is completed, the builder’s solicitor will write to your solicitor giving you 14 days to complete. You then need to engage an Architect/Engineer to inspect the property and draw up a snag list. When the snags have been completed to your satisfaction, the loan can be drawn down and completed.

Insurance

At this stage, you must ensure that your life cover and fire cover are in place and that details of same have been forwarded to the bank. In relation to life cover it is helpful to arrange for the terms of the cover to be accepted prior to signing contracts.

Conclusion

On completion, the closing documentation comprising all of the title deeds, the signed deed transferring ownership and the keys are exchanged for the balance of the agreed purchase. The transaction will then complete and you have ownership of the property. The title documents are then stamped and registered and returned to you or your bank if your purchase has been funded by a loan.

Article by Barbara Lydon, Associate Solicitor at Augustus Cullen Law Solicitors. If you would like more information on this topic, call +353 404 67412 or email barbara.lydon@aclsolicitors.ie


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