Buying new build in London – what you need to know

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With London’s housing stock at a critical level, developers are working hard to create the homes needed by the capital’s ever-growing population. This means that more and more people are purchasing new build properties or even buying off-plan. This is largely a straightforward process, but it is important to be aware of how it differs from other types of property purchase.

Estate agents in Henry Wiltshire’s Royal Docks office say, “There are loads of advantages to buying new build. As well as avoiding being in a chain, buyers also find that renovation and repair costs are minimal, and there’s often the option of have the property interior completed to your own specifications.”

However, there are also issues to be aware of why buying new build, and it’s important to understand them before committing to your purchase.


Mortgages for new build properties are generally straightforward, but you do have to be aware of time frames. A mortgage offer typically stands for six months, but, if you commit to buying a unit in a new development and receive a mortgage offer, you have to be sure that the property is ready to purchase before your mortgage offer expires. Otherwise, you could find yourself committed to the purchase but without a mortgage in place to cover it. If you have any questions about mortgages for new build properties, please contact our mortgage partner Enness Private Clients here.

Snagging and repairs

Check for a “snagging” provision. Snags are final jobs that builders and developers carry out, such as sanding doors that don’t close properly, or correcting flickering lights. The snagging provision is usually written into your contract, and it means that the responsibility for correcting these little niggles falls to the developer, not to the buyer. If you have any doubts about repairs and responsibility, check with your estate agent.


Make sure you buy a future-proof property. When you’re investing in high-end new build, be aware of development trends and be sure to keep up! Don’t buy a flat in new build that has no secure parking, for example – when you come to sell it, buyers may turn down your property in favour of one where they can park their cars safely.

Our agents also have wise advice on future proofing. “Choose a location (like Royal Docks!) which is on the up. Some areas are undergoing regeneration, while others are benefitting from changes in public transport. Don’t just plump for a known location – you could miss out when the time comes to sell.”

Henry Wiltshire will do everything to support you in buying a new build property, ensuring that contracts between buyer and developer are both fair and clear. There are so many advantages to buying brand new properties – we want our clients to benefit.

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