Buying a property is probably one of the most costly purchases you will ever have to make, so it's no surprise that as day-to-day costs rise, many are opting for a new home to benefit from lower running costs and higher specifications.
According to NHBC, a consumer protection body for the homebuilding industry, which has just celebrated its 75th anniversary, results from the latest industry survey on new home customer satisfaction found that almost nine out of ten new homeowners were satisfied with the overall quality of their home.
Recent research from NHBC Foundation confirmed this with findings that showed occupiers of new homes were overwhelmingly satisfied with their property, in terms of living space, comfortable internal temperatures and lower energy bills.
Whether you are planning to become a first-time buyer in 2012 or you are a homeowner looking to make that next move, you'll always want to be certain you are getting the highest quality and value.
To avoid home buying heartache, NHBC has produced the following check-list for prospective buyers of new homes:
• Check that the builder has a good national or local reputation - visit sites that he has built before, and chat to previous customers if possible.
• Visit the site - is it tidy and well managed? This will give another clue about the attitude of the builder and his commitment to quality.
• Ask if the builder is registered with NHBC and if the property will receive the NHBC's full ten-year Buildmark Cover once it is completed.
• If the homes are being built by an NHBC Pride in the Job award-winning site manager (you can usually spot the flags and site boards that tell you this) it's a good indication that your new home will be built with quality workmanship very much in mind.
• Before you decide to buy, you can obtain a specimen Buildmark Cover document and a free video, which explain exactly what the cover offers.
• Be sure that your legal representative checks that your home has had the full ten-year Buildmark Cover issued before you legally complete (or exchange missives) and move in. (If NHBC registered, your deposit will already be protected.)
• Wait until the home is fully completed before you move in.
• Before legal completion, be sure your legal representative has checked that the property has received a final certificate from NHBC or from the local authority, whichever has carried out the building control inspections during construction.
• When you've exchanged contracts, make sure your legal representative has sent your Buildmark documents, so that you can read them carefully as they will explain what protection you have against unforeseen problems. Keep the documents on file for when you want to move.
• Once you have moved in, check your new home thoroughly. NHBC provides a useful checklist to help you do this, which can be found here.
• Read the NHBC ‘Guide To Your New Home' which your legal representative should give you. This contains advice about how your home is built, how to run in a new property and maintain it properly.
Finally, you will be please to know that with the industry, NHBC has developed the 'Consumer Code for Home Builders'. The purpose of the Code is to improve customer satisfaction levels further among new home buyers by ensuring that all buyers are treated fairly, fully informed about their purchase and consumer rights before and after they move in, and provided with a suitable redress scheme to deal with complaints.