Do you need a survey on a new build property?

The process of designing and purchasing a new build home as a buyer can be very exciting. However, it’s best not to rush into your dream property. Even though new build homes can be designed exactly how the buyer sees fit, this does not prevent issues arising. As a result, it pays for buyers to take their time in the new build conveyancing process and conduct checks to make the sale advance smoothly. 

In this blog, we’ll be discussing if property surveys are necessary for new build homes and what one entails.


Differences in new build conveyancing 

New build conveyancing shares many similarities to conveyancing for a lived-in property. However, the process can differ at certain stages. For example, new build homes typically require far more planning before the buyer puts an offer in. This can be to select the area the buyer wishes the property to be built, as well as to allocate design space and view ‘show homes’. 

A show home is a property that has been professionally designed and decorated to model certain features. It is available for viewing by home buyers, enabling them to make more informed purchasing decisions. This is particularly useful for new build buyers as they are often unable to view the property they will be moving into. 

Many new build homes are ‘off-plan’, meaning it has recently undergone construction or is planning to undergo construction. In these cases, the conveyancing process can be extended by the additional construction stage. Nevertheless, this is followed by typical conveyancing stages such as mortgage agreement, negotiations, and optional property surveys.


Types of property survey 

Although Toomey Legal does not conduct property surveys, our team is knowledgeable about them. This helps us deliver quality conveyancing services regardless of the nature of the property and the buying and selling process. There are three different types of property survey outlined by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA). 

Level 1 condition survey 

A basic survey that gives an overview of a property’s condition inside and out. It provides insights into surface-level defects that are mainly responsible for the quality of life of tenants. As such, this will primarily look at gas, water, and electricity services. 

Level 2 homebuyers report 

A more in-depth survey that aims to provide an accurate valuation of a property. Any recommended improvements or maintenance considerations will be listed in a homebuyer’s report, along with their projected costings. 

Level 3 building survey 

The most detailed property survey relative to the two above. A building survey includes picture evidence of problems within the property, as well as in the garden and surrounding area. This survey recognises that these factors are relevant for buyers to make a fully informed purchase decision. Building surveys are typically used for older properties or properties with unusual elements.


Is a new build property survey essential? 

Whether it is for a new build property or an existing one, a building survey is not a legal requirement. However, many solicitors and conveyancers will recommend buyers conduct a property survey before the exchange of contracts. In fact, it could be argued that surveys are more important when it comes to new builds. This can cost anywhere between £300-£800 depending on the type of survey and the property. 

A property, or ‘snagging’, survey is designed to reveal any issues or defects associated with the property. This can be beneficial for buyers as it ensures that the property purchase is valued accurately. The results of a survey are therefore often the grounds for negotiating a better offer. ‘Snags’ can include: 

  • Visible or structural water damage 
  • Sub-standard installation or fittings and appliances 
  • Exposed wiring or electrical parts 
  • Cracked tiling either indoors or outdoors 
  • Unfinished décor 
  • Plumbing issues

New build surveys 

Surveys for newly built homes are unique, primarily because the properties can require considerations for planning permission. Although many potential property issues are bypassed by the absence of a seller, new build homes can produce defects in relation to the construction. As a result, environmental factors such as drainage and wildlife can be considered, alongside the other snags listed above. 

Another factor to consider is the layout and size of the property itself. New build properties are typically far more flexible in design than established homes that can be found on the market. This brings with it more scope in terms of features, each of which can make up different points in a survey report. 

NHBC warranty 

Many new build homes will come with a National House Building Council warranty. This protects the buyers of new build properties from loss of deposit and builder’s warranty. It also provides insurance against house-based problems for a certain period of time. Many people believe they can skip having a survey due to the presence of an NHBC warranty. However, we wouldn’t advise this. A survey that identifies and remedies property defects will ensure a smooth moving-in process for the new homeowners. 


Local conveyancing quotes Whitley Bay 

Toomey Legal have a proven track record of helping local individuals and businesses acquire their ideal property. We provide services for new build conveyancing Cramlington and new build conveyancing Tynemouth, as well as areas across the north east. We know how long some new build properties can take to reach completion. Toomey Legal works fast to ensure your purchase goes through in a reasonable timeframe, with consideration for your mortgage. Contact us today. 

*Toomey Legal are dedicated conveyancing specialists. As such, we do not conduct property surveys, give tax advice or mortgage advice.