When purchasing a new build property, it is crucial that you select solicitors who have dealt with new builds in the past. The legal process is very much different from the purchase of an existing property and can be more complicated. Without the right expertise, your conveyancing process could turn into a problem during an already stressful time. In this blog, we will look at the new build conveyancing process from start to finish.

Reservation form

From the outset you will be required to fill out a reservation form from the developers of the new build, and you will also be required to pay a reservation fee. This form creates an agreement between you as the buyer, and the builder. The form will include the deadline for exchange, and this is when you will need to instruct solicitors. If this deadline is missed, you risk losing the property together with the initial reservation fee paid.

Contract documentation

Once your solicitors are instructed, the sellers solicitors shall send out a contract pack, which consists of the following:

  • Lease agreement (if Leasehold)
  • Contract agreement
  • Title copies relating to the property,
  • Searches
  • Land Registry complaint plans
  • Fire risk assessments certificates
  • Asbestos report
  • Japanese Knotweed report
  • Health and Safety reports/certificates
  • Cladding report/certificates
  • Planning permissions Section 106
  • NHBC certificates
  • Any other relevant documents relating to the property

Once this is all received, your solicitors will:

  • Investigate the title and consider what restrictions and obligations you are subject to
  • Ensure that the title to the property contains no unusual, onerous or restrictive covenants
  • Apply for further searches against the property depending on your lender
  • Check who will be responsible for maintenance
  • Check the planning permission
  • Amend the lease if need be
  • Amend the contract if need be
  • Ascertain whether you will be required to become a member of any management company and acquire shares in the same.

Reporting on title

Once everything has been checked and approved by all parties, a report shall be sent confirming all of the aspects that were covered by the solicitors. Any enquiries made and responded to will be in the report, including all of the searches and documents referred to.

Exchanging contracts

This is the part which every client awaits, and it’s the most nerve-wracking part for any client. We will request the deposit funds from you and shall exchange the contracts. A bankruptcy search will be made against your name to ensure satisfaction of your lender. A priority search will also be made for you to obtain priority over any other application against the title.


Once the property is complete, the solicitors will set a completion date and the full funds will be required to complete the purchase. You will obtain all of the original documents including the new home warranty which would be in place for 10 years.

Final steps

Well, the fun does not end here. Your solicitor will have a number of things to do including:

  • Pay the Stamp Duty Land Tax
  • Register any DS1’s
  • Register any mortgage
  • Send out any certificate of compliance if needed
  • Send your application to the Land Registry
  • Upon completion of the matter at Land registry, send any relevant documents to you

Some things to look out for when purchasing a new build:

  • When purchasing a new build, it may be worth noting the build status and the implications of buying off plan – your conveyancer will go through with you all the implications relating to his. If the plot is being purchased off plan, your solicitor will not have all the relevant data and evidence needed to report. A main example is the plan itself will have to be Land Registry approved and this can take longer than expected.
  • When it comes to finances there is a risk of mortgage offers expiring if the anticipated completion date is not due for more than 6 months from the date of contracts being issued. Some clients choose to obtain a mortgage offer nearer to the completion date, however this has its own risks.
  • Like with any purchase, delays are caused when buying with a related sale. It is important to be mindful of delays that can jeopardize their ability to buy a new build property and meet an exchange deadline, especially if their related sale is leasehold or there are several people in the chain below.
  • Exchange Deposit Clients need to be mindful that using the deposit on a related sale from their purchasers may be difficult to agree with the developer as the developer’s solicitor will usually insist on the deposit being released to the developer client. Practitioners will need to check the deposit payable (usually up to a maximum of 10% of the purchase price).
  • Clients need to be mindful that the condition of the property on completion may need a few minor repairs and finishing touches to be carried out within the first couple of weeks after the move-in date. These repairs or works should not affect the security of the property and purchasers will only be entitled to delay completion provided the conditions of the contract with the developer are not breached.
  • Purchasers need to be mindful that registration confirmation following completion may take several weeks and sometimes months following completion due to delays at the Land Registry processing applications generally and based on complexities associated with the legal title and registration process to record a new title for the plot purchased. However, this will not mean you are not the legal owner and you should be able to use evidence of completion taking place to confirm your ownership of the property until the register is updated.

Bearing all the above, the conveyancing process of a new build property can be very complex, so at Saracens Solicitors we go the extra mile to make sure our clients are informed and comfortable every step of the way. To discuss matters and request a quote, our conveyancing team are on hand to help you, please call 020 3588 3500.