Author Topic: Exchanging contracts  (Read 1611 times)

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firsttimebuyer

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Exchanging contracts
« on: February 27, 2017, 09:57:25 am »
When I initially reserved a plot on a new site I'm sure the saleswoman at the time said I could exchange on the reservation fee (£500) as I have a Help to Buy ISA and the longer the money is in there the more government bonus I will get.

I'm at the stage of agreeing the contract at the moment but it states in there that it is 10% due on exchange.

I've mentioned this to my solicitor and she said she'll have to get back to me as she wasn't sure I could do this. Unfortunately the saleswoman has since moved to another site and so I'm now dealing with someone else. I've not mentioned this to the new saleswoman yet as I thought I'd get some advice from here first!
I've gone with an independent solicitor but I still feel that all solicitors really act with the builder's interests at heart rather than the purchaser 😐
Is there anything important that I need to make sure is (or isn't) included in the contact please?


New Home Expert

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Re: Exchanging contracts
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 06:36:40 am »
Regarding exchanging contracts, the whole point is that you pay a deposit usually 10% and that binds both parties to the deal as well as fixing the price.

As far as I understand it, the Help to Buy Isa and any bonus can only be used to part-pay for a home on completion, not on exchange.  You should check out the rules yourself online.

I am not sure that your solicitor is working not just for you but working at all!
Have you checked that she is a registered conveyancers and registered as a solicitor?

As for the contract, I don't know what is in and what is missing.
Your solicitor should be explaining all this.
But I will say is watch out for "Event fees" (if any) which should be written out or you should walk away.
Also look for regular fees charged management and maintenance of estate roads, streetlights and landscaping.
Finally if a house is being sold as leasehold run for the hills!
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Tim Fee Snagging Inspector

firsttimebuyer

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Re: Exchanging contracts
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 11:20:44 pm »
Thanks for your reply NHE and for all your guidance on this process so far! :)
I have received a 'contract report' from my solicitor (who is independent by the way, not the builder's choice) raising the main points:

The completion date will be left blank and inserted when contracts are changed. I think this is OK? They have already told me they are expecting to complete in July which I was relieved about as their year-end is in June.

I can't see any reference to 'event fees' but am not sure what they are?

I will be required to pay a maintenance charge for the maintenance areas on the development.
It will be £33.77 per year.
This comprises of an internal estate service charge of £1.91 per plot per annum (the development comprises of 73 units) and an external estate service charge of £31.86 per plot per annum. This relates to the infrastructure and amenity works within the wider Business Park. Do you think this is OK?

It also says I should consider a private survey.
My mortgage lender has already been out to do a valuation - is that the same thing?
The foundations have only just gone down so I'm not sure if I need to do this...

Thankfully the property is freehold. After asking for your advice months ago I realised freehold was the only way to go! :)

There is a paragraph on boundary features which I am unsure about:

Quote
'The builder will use all reasonable care to ensure that the boundary walls and fences are erected in accordance with plan of the property. However, should any walls or fence be erected incorrectly, the builders retain the right to move the same so that they accord with the plan. Conversely if the physical boundaries do not correspond with those shown on the plan, you will not be entitled to rescind the contract or claim compensation. If necessary, an amended plan will be substituted so that the physical layout corresponds with the plan.'

Is it usual to have a clause in the contract like that? I can't see how it is fair?

Sorry to send you an epistle and ask so many questions.
It's the one and only time I'll ever be a FTB though so I must make sure I don't make any mistakes.
I will be forever grateful for you advising me against the plot I had reserved with Persimmon this time last year; it was definitely a lucky escape - thank you! :)

New Home Expert

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Re: Exchanging contracts
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2017, 08:20:27 am »
"wider Business Park"  Not sure what this is, as I assume you are buying a new home on a development.

The annual charges seem very reasonable. Normally these are around £360 a year.
Have you got the decimal point in the right place?

You need to get confirmation that your estate roads, footpaths and streetlights are being adopted by the local council on a Section 38 agreement.  Otherwise, if not it will increase your annual charges.

Event fees are for one off events, such as fees for change of ownership for example or permission to build extensions etc.

Not sure why Barratt are advising you to "consider a private survey" 
Are they recommending you have an independent snagging inspection? 
If they are I would like to know more, as that would be a first and very positive move by Barratt.
In any case it is something that you need to clarify.

A valuation survey is just something the mortgage company carry out to make sure the home you are buying is valued at what you are paying. It is not for any quality or compliance purposes at all.
The NHBC should be inspecting your home at various stages and I know Barratt allow buyers to walk through their home with the site staff at certain times and you should do this.
Take photos of anything you are not happy with.
In fact, if you can take photos of your home once a week as it is built.
It will be something to look back on and give to buyers when you sell.
You can also build a relationship with the site team before you move in.

Barratt are better than most house builders, but by no means perfect.
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