Dealing with new-build home delays

Whether you’re buying your first home, or moving to a new-build home from your current property, delays can be damaging. The decision to buy a new-build property means starting from scratch in a brand new home, but when that home isn’t completed on time, there are a number of problems that can follow. From the emotional stress to the financial strain and the logistics of having nowhere to live or keep your belongings, this can be more than just an inconvenience.

Back in 2017, it was reported that over 40% of new homes were delivered late, and the situation seems to be lingering on two years later. During late June, the Observer reported the case of Liam Taylor, a new home buyer who exchanged contracts only to be told his April completion would probably be looking closer to October.

Considering Mr Taylor’s wife was pregnant and due to give birth in May, the need for this family to get settled in their new home was of high importance. To move in earlier, they agreed to opt for a larger, more expensive plot instead. Unfortunately, the larger plot was also delayed – estimated until late November.

Not only would this circumstance prove costly – Mr Taylor estimated the delays would cost him in excess of £10,000 – the situation could also become incredibly stressful.

This is just one case study of potentially thousands of complicated personal circumstances which arise as a result of new home delays. Are you one of the thousands of people to have been affected by a new-build delay?

Clearly there’s much to consider if you find yourself in a situation like this. From the added financial burden, where to live in the meantime and your mortgage offer through to what to do with your possessions, these unforeseen circumstances can be overwhelming.

What about my mortgage offer?

We understand that moving house can take a long period of time in even the most straightforward of circumstances, let alone when you need to reapply for a mortgage.

When you face stumbling blocks buying a new-build, it’s important to provide your mortgage broker with the most up to date information. Provide this news as you have it so they can work closely and efficiently with you, your lender and solicitor.

Some lenders will have a set, but very small extension period for offers – often around a week. Unfortunately, if it extends any further than this, your mortgage offer could have expired by the time your new-build home is complete and ready for you to move in so you will need to start the application process over again.

If you’re in a situation where you’re thinking of purchasing a new-build property but haven’t yet started the process, there are things you can do to give yourself a little bit of a safety net.

It’s usually always best to employ the help of a mortgage broker as they have the knowledge, expertise and access to the best products available for your circumstances. In the instance of a new-build purchase, certain lenders may offer tailored mortgage products with more flexible aspects taking into consideration the situation.

Is there anything I can do?

If you don’t have a mortgage broker or a specific new-build mortgage product, unfortunately, there may be very little you can do when your home build is delayed significantly.

You should thoroughly read through your contract with the developer with your solicitor to fully understand your rights in the circumstances. Within the contract, there should be details in there regarding the final date the property can, and should, be finished. This can be referred to both as a ‘termination date’ and a ‘long stop’ and after this date, you are able to cancel your purchase, crucially without losing your deposit. 

Clearly, the excitement of purchasing a new-build home will lose its shine in such a situation, so hopefully, the circumstances won’t reach this unfortunate conclusion. However, it’s best to be aware that these things can, and do happen. Ensure you’re prepared from the outset with a clued-up mortgage broker, appropriate legal advice and contracts you’ve read through and understand.

What about my possessions?

Depending on your circumstances with temporary accommodation, you may find yourself with little space to store your belongings. If moving into your new home has been delayed, you could also be in a situation where you’ve purchased new, bulky pieces of furniture that won’t have anywhere to live.

None of this situation is straightforward, but one thing that can really take the weight off your shoulders is to keep your belongings safe in a storage unit. In instances where you have to temporarily rent a small property such as a flat when you’ve purchased a family home, you simply won’t have the space.

The strain can really be taken away with a self-storage unit. You know your brand new sofa is going to be kept safe and with extremely flexible terms, you’ll be able to access your belongings whenever you need to.

We understand that buying a new-build home should be an exciting breath of fresh air, but could become complicated with delays. Hopefully being aware of the situation from the outset, including the potential pitfalls and what you can do to smooth out a tricky situation will make the whole process far easier.

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