There are many important insurance considerations when it comes to covering a new build home. Read our guide to new build home insurance to find out more
When you start to think about buying a property there are several advantages of looking at new build homes. Often they can be more expensive than buying a property that was built years ago but many people find the perks of a new build property worth the extra money.
Generally, new build properties come with solidly fitted windows, no marks on the walls, a new boiler that doesn’t need replacing, clean floors and carpet, and a newly fitted kitchen and modern bathroom.
In terms of the home buying process they can be simpler to complete a purchase on because usually you are not buying from a seller so there should be a chain-free transaction. This means you can complete the sale quicker and move in within around a month.
There might be more difficulties when buying an older property but that doesn’t mean new builds are completely free of a few issues. Read on to see what issues you might get in a new build property versus an older one, and what to look out for when searching for a new build property to buy and making sure your home is properly insured.
Old vs new build properties
There are quite a few differences to look out for when deciding whether or not to buy an old property or a new build home, especially when it comes to maintaining your home and taking out insurance.
The older the property is the more likely it is to have been lived in by more than one group of occupants. This means you when you buy the property it is more likely that it will be in a well worn condition. The previous owners may have invested in improvements but many of the older properties you look at will often have at least one quirk you will want to repair or upgrade.
It might be repainting the walls and filling in cracks in the ceiling or replacing the boiler or carpet. You may find a place that’s perfect in every way but the bathroom looks completely outdated and not in a charming way.
On top of that you are more likely to be buying from someone who is also looking for a new place to move into, which would result in a ‘chain’. A chain can make the home buying process much longer than if you are buying a new build home, which often has no occupant currently living in it.
On the other hand, new does not always mean better. Often new build homes can suffer from having an identikit modern feel. Many of the new build properties are built by the same developers to very similar specifications using similar materials, so your new home might not feel as unique or have the charms of an older property.
Older properties might be more likely to come with more issues, but they can also come with more character. New build homes are also usually more expensive than their older equivalents as a result of having newer features and modern fittings.
Additionally, and quite surprisingly, new build homes are not always free from having little issues. That contemporary bathroom using slick materials might look fantastically shiny and new but you might find a cracked tile or two. Sometimes it can be as simple as that but you could also get serious issues with the kitchen fittings or water pressure. It might seem just like bad luck but it is not uncommon for new build homes to come with their own issues early on.
This is often because builders might not have finished the work properly due to working towards tight deadlines and on multiple building developments at the same time. New build homes are often worked on by the same companies looking to get them ready as quick as possible and make a sale.
While the quality of a new build home is generally good and you probably won’t face as many problems as you might with an old property, you should still look out for signs of poor workmanship and assess your home insurance options. Luckily most new build properties come with a type of construction warranty insurance. Read on to learn more about new build insurance and how to find out if your new build property is already protected, and if so, whether or not it’s worth getting home insurance.
New build insurance – NHBC Buildmark explained
Normally when you are about to buy a property you might pay for a professional to come check it out and inspect the quality of the construction. With new build properties this is not always possible, especially if you buy it off plan.
If the builder of a new build home or development is registered with the National House Building Council (NHBC) then you will be protected by the Buildmark warranty. This is a 10-year home insurance and construction warranty, but it doesn’t work exactly the same way as standard home buildings insurance.
Within the first two years the builder will put right any issues that may arise as a result of the builder’s work. So if a door is not closing properly or a window won’t open correctly the NHBC Buildmark warranty means you can get it fixed without paying anything extra.
For the next three to 10 years NHBC Buildmark will provide insurance against any issues arising as a result of the work done by its builders only. This means you’re not protected against wear and tear or any issues that naturally occurred at no fault of the builders.
When buying a new build home check if builder is registered with the NHBC and the building comes with Buildmark warranty and insurance. If not, they might offer a different kind of guarantee, although your mortgage provider will probably insist there is Buildmark warranty on the building. The NHBC Buildmark is the industry standard so you’re better off looking elsewhere if the property does not come with it.
Regardless, you should still consider taking out buildings insurance on a new build as general wear and tear, warping and shrinkage can still occur with the newest of materials and your Buildmark warranty is unlikely to cover that.
Should I get home insurance for a new build property?
Perhaps for the first two years of living in a new build property you might not need buildings insurance but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get home insurance.
The materials might be new and you can get any issues fixed if it was as a result of the building work. However, fire damage and flooding can still happen, destroying the newest of materials, which might be more expensive to replace.
It might be cheaper to get new build home insurance because the insurer is likely to find less risk of something needing to be replaced so to stay on the safe side you should still compare buildings insurance to check your options.
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