Guide To New Build Conveyancing

row of new build homes. cream and black exterior

With new build homes continuing to be popular with buyers, we take a look at the conveyancing process and what you can expect if you choose to buy a brand new home.

New build conveyancing can be a little more complicated than the purchase of an older property and you are also likely to be asked to exchange fairly quickly, with the developer imposing a tight deadline. For this reason, it is important to choose a conveyancing solicitor who regularly deals with new build purchases and who has a strong understanding of the process and what to look out for in the large packet of documentation that will be provided.

The advantages of buying a new build home

As well as moving into a brand new property where everything is untouched and the finish should be excellent with no immediate repairs or work to be carried out, there are also other advantages to buying a new build.

With energy efficiency rules in place, you should find that a new home has lower running costs than an older property. There will also usually be a ten-year warranty in place to cover any major structural defect that may become apparent.

If you buy ‘off-plan’, ie. before the property has been built, you may also be given the chance to choose certain options for your property, such as the kitchen and bathroom of your choice, the flooring you want and the extent to which your garden is turfed or paved.

New build conveyancing

If you buy a new build home, your conveyancing solicitor needs to make sure that the right framework is in place. This means checking issues such as planning consents, road agreements, sewer agreements, ten-year warranties and that the developer has agreed to maintain common areas surrounding the property.

You will also usually be pushed to exchange contracts quickly, often with a deadline of 28 days from when you decide to go ahead.

At Lockings Solicitors, we regularly represent clients in new build purchases and we understand the pressure that goes along with this. We always work very quickly to identify any key issues, to raise the necessary enquiries and to ensure that we do all we can to meet deadlines.

The new build conveyancing process

Once you agree to buy a new build property, you will generally be required to pay a non-returnable reservation fee. You should then instruct a solicitor to deal with your side of the transaction.

You are recommended to find your own conveyancing solicitor so that you can ensure that they have complete independence, rather than using one recommended by the developer or estate agent, who may feel some loyalty to the developer.

The developer’s solicitor will then send the contract package, which is likely to be substantial, to your solicitor very quickly. Your solicitor will need to start work straightaway so that you have a strong chance of meeting the deadline for exchange of contracts.

If you ask us to represent you, we will go through the contract papers and raise any enquiries that we have with the developer’s solicitor and apply for any searches that are necessary. The developer may also supply new build searches that are relevant to the property, which could save you the need to pay for some searches yourself.

You will also need to ask your lender to supply their mortgage offer, if you need one, and you should ensure that your deposit is ready and accessible. If you are tying in the sale of an existing property, it is usually possible to use the deposit from your sale for your purchase.

Once we have satisfactory replies to enquiries and you are happy with all of the information provided, we will be ready to exchange contracts. Once exchange has taken place, you will become legally bound to complete the purchase.

Completion will usually take place on notice if the property has not yet been finished. You may be given a rough estimate of when the property is likely to be ready, but you should be aware that there could be delays, for example, if materials or labour become hard to get hold of. There is not generally any comeback against a developer if completion takes much longer than expected, so you should be aware that you and anyone else in your chain could be left waiting for a lengthy period, particularly if there are difficulties or shortages in the construction industry.

When you and your solicitor are given notice of the completion date, your solicitor will carry out final new build conveyancing checks or final searches and order the mortgage advance in readiness.

Completion of a new build property purchase

On the completion day, we will let you know as soon as the developer’s solicitor has acknowledged receipt of the purchase money and the developer will then release the keys to your new home to you.

You are advised to check the condition of the whole of the property carefully as soon as you can and make a list of any issues that need to be dealt with, such as doors that do not shut properly or damage or leaks. These issues are known as snagging and your developer will expect to have to come back to your property to put right any problems.

It is also open to you to instruct a surveyor to carry out a snagging survey. Ideally, this will be done prior to completion, but it is often the case that developers will not allow access for this, so it may have to be done after completion.

You should pass the results to the developer and ask them to make good all of the problems, as you are within your rights to do.


Contact our new build property solicitors in Beverley, Hull and York.


At Lockings Solicitors, our property team have a high level of expertise in dealing with new build purchases.

If you would are thinking of buying a new build property or you have any questions that you would like to ask our East Yorkshire legal team, ring us on 01482 300 200, email us at or fill in our contact form and we will call you back promptly for a FREE initial chat.

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