Monday, 19 February 2018


When I bought my house I noticed a distinct lack of information like this, as a lone-buyer (like a lone wolf but just an independent woman buying a house on her own *insert sassy girl hand out emoji here*) all I wanted was some real life advice and guidance on buying new builds; the pros, cons, tips and 'warnings', if you will. This is by no means a definitive fact sheet but mainly advice I can give based on my own experience. As some of you may know (especially if you're here from Instagram) I bought a Persimmon Homes new build but I imagine that a lot of the information here will also apply to most other new build property developers. You'd assume that buying a new build would mean you'd be ready to go with all the things you need included in the price but unfortunately this really isn't the case but here's what experience has taught me...

You need to ask what they're willing to give for free 
This will very much depend on the site and how popular it has been but it honestly doesn't hurt to ask the question about what extras they can include free of charge. I'm lucky to have a step-dad who isn't a stranger to bartering and he managed to get me money off the release price of the house and turf to the rear of my house. Persimmon often have promotions on certain houses which can be found on their website if they're looking to sell a particular type of build so make sure you check on there and make sure you just ask the question in the sales office. The worst thing they will do is say no.

Be aware of what is and isn't included with your house
You'll quickly realise that with any new build the majority of the 'nice' things in a house come at an extra cost; the extra bits that you would probably assume would come with your house could cost you a pretty penny so although it's unavoidable I always think it's better to be forewarned and forearmed because unexpected costs can be a shock especially if you're on a tight budget. Here are some of the things to remember when considering your 'finishing touches' spend:

- Standard tiling in bathrooms is minimal; depending on your style of house they'll maybe only do 2 rows of tiling or in my case they'll tile up the wall where the shower is but then leave a huge square bare so the shower is rendered pretty much unusable unless you want to wet the plasterboard through. 

- Which leads me onto the shower situation; in my experience a standard shower above the bath in Persimmon homes isn't great, it's literally a shower head on a fixed holder with a ring to hold the hose in place halfway down meaning that it's very difficult (if not impossible) to use the shower to swill the bath out. They also gave me the most horrendous white, crinkly shower curtain which I quickly replaced with a £3 Primark one which was infinitely better. In houses with an ensuite they do not include a shower above the bath as standard. That said, if you are just looking for a slightly better shower above your bath you can get these from B&Q for around £30 and glass shower screens can be bought for around £80.

- You only get a choice of kitchen up to a certain build stage so you need to enquire about this at your sales office. If you can choose you will probably only get a choice of 3 different colours of door; I upgraded to a full choice of colours and designs which cost £350 for a 2 bedroomed house and the price does increase the bigger the house. 

- The standard appliances in Persimmon homes are limited to a white oven and hob. You can upgrade to stainless steel extractor hood, hob and oven for £375 - that's all down to personal taste though, it doesn't improve functionality and you can definitely live without it. 

- Your new home will not include a TV aerial so unless you get sky you're looking at around £125 to have an aerial installed. I paid for an additional TV aerial socket in my bedroom and at no point was I told that I didn't get a TV aerial. Slightly annoying and £125 that I didn't expect to spend. 

- Your home will not come with turf as standard. I think lots of people have found this out the hard way; as I said I was lucky enough to get turf included as an incentive but both my neighbours currently have a mud garden. Not ideal in winter especially when you have children and dogs. 

- Waste/recycling bins aren't anything to do with your developer but it's definitely worth keeping in mind that your local council may charge you for bins. I have 2 bins which cost me £36 each... another £72 I wasn't expecting to pay! Pop your postcode (or one near yours if you're unsure what it will be) into the government website to find out more information from your local authority.

- Carpets do not come as standard this shocked me when I first found out and they're really bloody expensive from Persimmon. However it is something that I've known a fair few people get included as an incentive. I didn't get them included but I did use a local company for mine (Floor Coverings Local for anyone in the South Yorkshire area) and they managed to shave over £1000 off the price that Persimmon had quoted for my whole house and I had picked the best underlay and premium carpets. It is a pain moving into an uncarpeted house but I was lucky enough to be flexible with my move in date so I just arranged for them to go as soon as I received my keys; they were brill actually, I'd definitely recommend them.

- Double check that your house is freehold. Some houses are sold as leasehold properties which basically means that you own the bricks and mortar but you actually rent the land it's on from the developer which will incur a yearly cost. It's just something to double check so you're not hit with an unexpected £100+ a year ground rent charge. Persimmon actually sent me an invoice by mistake and I nearly hit the roof when I saw it because I knew full well that my house was freehold - thankfully after a quick phone call it was all resolved but you really do need to be aware that leasehold properties do still exist.

- You may need a joiner or someone handy with tools to cut holes in your kitchen cupboards for appliances - this might not incur a cost if you've got someone who can do it for you or the people on site are helpful and accommodating but your kitchen won't come with holes for things like your washing machine piping and fridge plug so you'll need to get these sorted.

So as you can see the costs can mount up if you're not expecting them but this shouldn't put you off new builds because you have to remember that if you were to buy a pre-owned house there'd probably be things you'd want to change immediately which you'd obviously factor in when you were buying the house; so this is very much the same. What you have to keep in mind is that everything in your new house is shiny, new and 100% yours to put your own stamp on.

*all prices in this post are correct as of September 2017.
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