Author Topic: Had the keys since August  (Read 11002 times)

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Simon1987

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Had the keys since August
« on: December 01, 2014, 09:41:26 pm »
I have been lurking about on this forum for a while and using the great information on this website which has guided and advised me on buying a new build home. So a big thanks for all those who have contributed on the website and forum!  On the back of that, I thought I would share my own experience.

Myself and my fiancé (now my wife) set our eyes on a Redrow  development back in November last year (2013). After checking out the show home of the house we wanted, a "Broadway" - we went and got an 'early bird' reservation. This and the fact we were first-time buyers enabled us to receive a few benefits such as money off our legal fees, free turf (which we later realised came as standard anyway) and free carpet/ vinyl flooring. We were told the build would not be started until about July 2014.

However, in March, suddenly the development was progressing much quicker and they wanted us to start the legal buying process, as the house was just starting to be built. It was nice being able to see our plot rise from the foundations upwards, taking photos of the various build stages throughout.

We went against what a lot say about not using the recommended solicitors - however, we found our solicitors to be very good informing us of things to be looked at specifically in the contract etc... This also helped a lot as it meant we didn't have to do some of the toing and throwing between sales office and solicitors, which we may have had to if we had chose our own.

We did however, choose to go our own direction for a mortgage, refusing to us the recommended brokers. We went to Natwest, they granted us the mortgage and everything was going through. The stumbling block, which held us back for a long time after was the valuation. NatWest's  valuation surveyor decided the house was not worth as much as Redrow wanted. This ended going all the way to the top in Natwest's mortgage team, who refused to value the property higher. We decided we REALLY wanted the property and with Redrow refusing to budge on price, we caved in and went to their recommended broker. Eventually, we ended back at square one with another valuation surveyor valuing the home again lower than the Redrow asking price.  After a lot of discussion, finally Redrow backed down!  I personally think that the valuations had something to do with us going independent first and the address itself being listed as valued....... maybe?  The sales office said nobody else had the same problems. If so, they paid more than what their home was worth.  So always be wary at the valuation stage and make sure it is independent.

While all this was going on we was planning a wedding, things were hectic!  Our solicitors were given our permission to act on our behalf while we went on honeymoon. Phone calls and emails kept us updated, and we exchanged contracts in July.

When we got back we were told legal completion would be in August 2014. We requested to look around the house before exchange and managed to get shown around about 3 weeks beforehand although the interior of the house was incomplete. 

I would highly recommend anyone buying a new-build home to do this.  It allows you to view what your buying and point out any major flaws, being mindful that it may be incomplete at the time. We pointed out we was supposed to have spot lights in the kitchen and the fitted wardrobes were wrong specification.

The day before legal completion we met the site manager and he showed us around our almost complete home.  He was very informative, but there is a lot of information to take in at that time, so I'd recommended taking a notepad to others.  However, I was disappointed we weren't actually offered the time to snag, instead when we asked, we were told to compile a list once we get the keys.  I thought....... here we go!

Once we completed we were lucky enough not to require an immediate moving in day. But had we..... well, apart from our own responsibilities such as getting blinds/ curtains, telephone/internet, etc... it would have still taken a fair amount of time.

However, our snag list on top that meant we had (and still have) Redrow's  builders coming in and out with our spare keys. Currently, we are now waiting for two or three remaining issues to be rectified.  I must add I am a carpenter/joiner with a little bit of site experience in snagging, usually receiving a list and having to put things right.  I used this website entire snagging list, which was brilliant.  Took a few hours, but helped me to identify some not so obvious snags.  My list had over 100 issues, a lot did repeat themselves in every room and apart from one kitchen cupboard not being fitted there was nothing major.  We were lucky we didn't move in properly for two months, as this is how long it took them to rectify it all!  I must give credit to the site manager though, everything was put right and to our expectations.  If you can't snag your own house, always get someone to do it- its so worth the cost, you've paid for a finished house so make sure you get what you want!

We then back in October...... signed to say we was happy with all snags completed apart from the 3 remaining ones, which were clearly listed. Redrow promised they would get them sorted. Unfortunately though, we are now in December, and they are still outstanding and Redrow have our spare keys!  We are now pestering our site manager, so hopefully by Christmas these will be sorted.

I know my snag list sounds big, but that was in my opinion small, the finish quality was pretty high and for such a big development I think that's good.  Redrow's site and sales staff have been great throughout the whole process and I would recommend the Midlands team for others looking to buy from them.  I just hope that these last few snags don't let them down now at this stage.  I will update this post if any issues occur in the future with the build quality.
Hope this helps others, just as this site helped me. Look through it all it's well worth your time!


New Home Expert

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Re: Had the keys since August
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2014, 08:46:21 am »
I am pleased you found the advice and information on this ewebsiyte anf orum so useful.
Perhaps you would consider Making a Donation as the DIY Snagging guidance and Snagging List pages prominently request!

It is very disappointing when people like you, who acknowledge how useful this website has been for them then fail to make a small donation.  So much so that I am considering making some parts of the website subscription only, you don't get the best information unless a payment is made first - I'd rather not have to do this but the lack of public goodwill may force me to do so.

I must say that one piece of very good advice on this and many websites is:
NEVER USE THE HOUSEBUILDER'S SUGGESTED SOLICITOR
It is because the housebuilder's solicitor will never act wholly in the buyer's best interests. 
It is disappointing that you chose to ignore this good advice. You even compounded your error by going away and giving "your" solicitor "permission" and a free reign with Redrow sales to push everything on in your absence!



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Lily70

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Re: Had the keys since August
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2015, 05:18:27 pm »
Myself and my wife set our eyes on a Redrow  development back in November last year (2013). After checking out the show home of the house we wanted, a "Broadway" - we went and got an 'early bird' reservation. This and the fact we were first-time buyers enabled us to receive a few benefits such as money off our legal fees, free turf (which we later realised came as standard anyway) and free carpet/ vinyl flooring. We were told the build would not be started until about July 2014.

However, in March, suddenly the development was progressing much quicker and they wanted us to start the legal buying process, as the house was just starting to be built. It was nice being able to see our plot rise from the foundations upwards, taking photos of the various build stages throughout.

We went against what a lot say about not using the recommended solicitors - however, we found our solicitors to be very good informing us of things to be looked at specifically in the contract etc... This also helped a lot as it meant we didn't have to do some of the to-ing and throwing between sales office and solicitors, which we may have had to if we had chose our own.

We did however, choose to go our own direction for a mortgage, refusing to us the recommended brokers. We went to Natwest, they granted us the mortgage and everything was going through. The stumbling block, which held us back for a long time after was the valuation. NatWest's  valuation surveyor decided the house was not worth as much as Redrow wanted. This ended going all the way to the top in Natwest's mortgage team, who refused to value the property higher. We decided we REALLY wanted the property and with Redrow refusing to budge on price, we caved in and went to their recommended broker. Eventually, we ended back at square one with another valuation surveyor valuing the home again lower than the Redrow asking price.  After a lot of discussion, finally Redrow backed down!  I personally think that the valuations had something to do with us going independent first and the address itself being listed as valued....... maybe?  The sales office said nobody else had the same problems. If so, they paid more than what their home was worth.  So always be wary at the valuation stage and make sure it is independent.

Many thanks to Simon1987 for sharing the experience.
I wonder how lenders do valuation of properties that are in the process of construction?
I think Simon1987 was lucky that the exchange of contracts took place just a month before completion.
I was told that sometimes the exchange of the contracts is required within 28 days after reservation which can be more than 6 months before the completion date.

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Re: Had the keys since August
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2015, 08:24:09 am »
All lenders will do a valuation of the property in the process of being built.
Some even do one for an off-plan purchase!
The valuation is for the property value, it is not doing a survey as to the condition.
As such these can (and have) even be done on a drive by!
They look at the value of similar properties in the area.

Anyone buying a new home should note it is a common standard condition that Exchange of Contracts is required to take place within 28 days of reservation.
This fixes the sale for the house builder and, depending on the construction stage, enables buyers to choose their options and selections.

Finally, using the house builder's choice of solicitor is an act of complete stupidity!
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Lily70

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Re: Had the keys since August
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2015, 09:50:21 pm »
Thank you very much New Home Expert!
Your warning about builders' recommended solicitors is noted!

Lily70

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Re: Had the keys since August
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2015, 10:48:03 pm »
Anyone buying a new home should note it is a common standard condition that Exchange of Contracts is required to take place within 28 days of reservation.

If completion date is more than 6 months away then the early reservation suits cash buyers only. Builders should not accept reservations from people buying with mortgages.
Anyway, in case of Simon987, they paid reservation fee in November 2013 and did not start legal buying process until March 2014.

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Re: Had the keys since August
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 08:32:25 am »
True most mortgage offers expire after six months so in theory, a new home buyer runs the risk of not actually having a mortgage agreement, if the home is not built longer than 6 months from Exchange of contracts.
If completion only suits cash buyers if prices are rising whilst the home is being built. 
They can (and have), just as easily fallen in the that time too!

Simon987 did an "early bird" reservation. This is not a true Reservation, but a first refusal once the property is released for sale. At that time Simon987 wouldn't have known what the selling price would be as it was not released hence the "Early Bird"
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