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New way onto property ladder

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: June 19, 2012

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GETTING on the property ladder is extremely difficult in the current economic climate. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a 20 per cent deposit or financial help from parents or relatives, then buying a home is something which won't happen any time soon.

So what are your options? Well, until recently renting and saving for a deposit was the only solution, but then came the NewBuy scheme.

NewBuy is designed for people who can afford monthly mortgage payments, but who cannot afford a 20 per cent deposit.

The Government-backed scheme is the brainchild of the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

They are offering a 90-95 per cent mortgage for a new-build home in England priced up to £500,000 – and not just for first-time buyers; but whether you buy a newly built home under the NewBuy scheme or not, there are some key actions you should take to help prevent any problems:

● Check whether your builder is registered with the National House-Building Council (NHBC) and check your builder's reputation. Don't just rely on website testimonials – ask to look around homes the builder has built before and talk to previous customers. If you're in any doubt check the name of the company and the owners name with Trading Standards and the Federation of Small Businesses.

● Visit the site. If the site is tidy and well-managed, it may be an indication that the builder is efficient.

● Make sure you understand the cover provided by your warranty. Most new homes are protected by the NHBC 10-year Buildmark warranty and insurance, but some builders use other warranty providers. If this is the case, your builder should be able to give you full details of the property's warranty. The organisation Local Authority Building Control (LABC) also provides warranties.

● Once you have exchanged contracts, get the warranty documents from your solicitor and read them carefully.

● Inspect your home carefully before taking possession of it – don't move in until it is finished.

● Report any defects in writing to your builder and make sure you keep a copy.

● Ask for an environmental rating. All new homes in England now have to have a compulsory rating under the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH). The code helps homebuyers get better information about the impact of their new home on the environment, and its potential running costs.

● If the house is not yet built or not yet completed, you might be able to get some features changed to suit your requirements, such as the position of a door, sockets or cupboards.

● Major repairs and redecoration should be unnecessary for the first few years.

● Under the NewBuy scheme it is now easier to get a mortgage for new builds.

● The house might not be finished on time.

● There might be nothing more than the site and the plan to show to solicitors and mortgage lenders.

● Most mortgage lenders won't release the final loan until all t he work is completed.

● As the house settles, you might see cracks in the plaster.

● If it's a new estate, the infrastructure might not be completed and this could cause problems with a lender.

● The garden might have to be laid and planted.

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