What to expect from your new home?
There are several stages to buying and living in a new home. Below is a summary of what you can expect at each stage but there is much more detail within the New Homes Quality Code.
- Sales and marketing material and details of any part exchange scheme must be clear, fair, legally compliant, and confirm whether your developer is registered with the New Homes Quality Board
- Sales and marketing literature needs to consider the needs of vulnerable customers
- When describing a new home, developers must provide clear information about the home, including (but not limited to) the size and layout of rooms, tenure (whether freehold or leasehold), specification (what is included over and above the structure of the building), any associated management or service charges, and the expected completion date.
- Reservation Agreements must be clear, fair, and compliant with all relevant legislation.
- The terms of the Reservation should clarify details of the sale including (but not limited to); the purchase price & reservation fee, that the sale is ‘subject to contract’, the 14-day cooling-off period, your right to terminate the agreement, how long the reservation period lasts, details of the new home (including the tenure), details of the new home warranty, and any other fees or costs that may be incurred.
- Developers must inform customers of any change that alters the size, appearance, or value of the new home, and their right to cancel if they disagree with the change.
- Customers will have the opportunity to visit the completed new home before moving in, for a demonstration of fixtures and fittings, or to appoint a suitably qualified inspector to undertake a pre-completion inspection on their behalf.
- Developers must inform customers of any known future work on the development and likely timescales.
- Developers must have in place adequate arrangements to protect contract deposits and other fees.
- Developers must provide a comprehensive after-sales service for at least two years following legal completion and explain how this operates, including timescales for resolving issues, and who to contact (including out-of-hours emergencies).
- Developers must have a system for handling issues and complaints, including details of how customers can escalate complaints to the New Homes Ombudsman.
- Unless there is a substantial reason for a delay, any snags/defects identified in the new home should be resolved within 30 calendar days.
More information about what to expect after moving into a new home:
During the first few months, your home will need to ‘settle’. During construction, a new home is subject to the weather and many thousands of litres of rainwater can be absorbed by the structure before it is made watertight.
As the structure is drying out, you may notice minor cracks in interior walls (shrinkage), nail pops (raised round bumps on walls or ceilings) or white deposits on any brickwork (efflorescence). Shrinkage and nail pops happen when timbers and plaster contract as they dry out. Efflorescence deposits are natural salts that come out of the wall materials and are quite normal. These salts are not harmful and usually disappear over time.
Shrinkage and efflorescence may occur regardless of what you do, but there are steps you can follow to try and minimise them:
- To keep cracks and gaps to a minimum, you need to allow your home to dry out gradually.
- Leave windows or trickle vents open and use extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms to help to ventilate your home and allow moisture to evaporate more naturally.
- The length of time your house takes to dry out depends on how it was built and in what sort of weather conditions. Generally, it will take around nine months to a year.
- After this time, shrinkage can normally be put right very easily with ordinary filler and a simple lick of paint during routine redecoration.
- Shrinkage is accelerated by heat, so try to keep an even temperature throughout your home.
- If you move in during winter, it may be tempting to turn on the heating to its highest setting. This is not recommended as the high heat may accelerate shrinkage.
During the drying out period your home will be more susceptible to condensation, which can cause staining and even mould. Good ventilation is key to preventing condensation from forming and so we recommend:
- Keeping window trickle vents open, including in winter.
- Opening your windows as often as possible.
- Using extractor fans when cooking or having a bath or shower to reduce the amount of steam.
- Wiping up any condensation that does form to prevent damage from occurring.
- Avoiding drying washing inside or on radiators wherever possible.
Your gutters can get clogged with debris and leaves, especially during the autumn. Cleaning gutters regularly is an important part of home maintenance. This can be dangerous, so if in doubt, call in a qualified tradesperson to do this for you.
If your home has been provided with grass, follow these guidelines to help your garden establish.
- It is best to avoid walking on newly laid grass for around 4-6 weeks, although weather and the time of year can extend this period. Your grass will still need an additional 3-4 months to become fully established and it is best to avoid heavy use until then.
- During the summer months, it is critical that your turf is watered to ensure it establishes well.
- Once your lawn is established it is recommended that you cut your grass regularly, with a recommended length of about 15-20mm.
- If you own pets and allow them to use your lawn, it is common to see patches of green or brown grass. It is important that you treat these areas regularly otherwise the lawn will deteriorate.
- After construction, soil settlement can occur. This is a natural occurrence that can result in variations in the levels of your lawn which can be resolved with topdressing. Topdressing is applying a thin layer of soil to the affected areas, which will then work its way to the roots and smooth out the lawn.
Your home has been constructed by many different trades in line with relevant Building Control requirements. Although every care has been taken to ensure it is handed over with no problems, there can occasionally be some minor issues that only become apparent once the home is occupied. These are known as snags or snagging issues and they are covered by the two-year Builders’ Warranty.
If you identify any snags, or believe something could be a snagging issue, please contact your developer’s After-Sales team.