Putting an offer down on your dream home shouldn’t turn into a living nightmare, but it’s no secret that UK buyers doubt the integrity of new-build homes.
According to a survey published by the Chartered Institute of Building, more than half of UK adults believe that older homes are better quality than new ones. From structural issues to leaks and electrical faults, problems can arise seemingly without warning.
Whether you’re browsing as a first-time buyer or thinking of adding another home to your property portfolio, it’s important to learn a few red flags to look out for.
Four signs of costly negligence
1. Cracks in foundations
Cracks in new homes range from mild to severe. Initial, smaller cracks are normal, and these are referred to as ‘settling’ cracks while the property foundations take place. However, if there are serious cracks in the foundations, you might notice strange and serious signs over time. These include sagging floors or ceilings, interior and exterior wall cracks, or sinking ground.
2. Suspiciously low prices
With house prices seeing the biggest rise in four years, it’s always worth keeping an eye on the market trends. It’s always exciting to secure a great deal but if you’ve spotted a listing that seems too good to be true, it probably is. While lower prices entice interest, they often disguise a property that’s finished to an inferior standard – or built by a company under scrutiny.
3. Drainage issues
Modern cities face unsustainable pressure on drainage systems.
With some properties in Cornwall, for example, already prone to sewage backflow during floods or periods of heavy rain, it’s important to know the facts. In remote areas, new builds may rely on septic tanks. If you have any suspicions that your property might fail to comply with septic tank regulations, contact a legal specialist without delay.
Though leaks are often associated with older houses, they plague new builds too. Upon viewing a new property, a few things could point to a hidden leak or emerging damp issue. These include discoloured patches on the walls, ceilings or floors; low water pressure from the taps or shower; strange noises from the plumbing system; or a strange musty smell.
I think I have a negligence claim… what’s next?
If you’ve suffered emotional, physical or financial damage as a direct result of your home builder’s negligence, your first port of call should be to contact a reputable solicitor. You could likely challenge your home builder and win a compensation claim for your trouble and loss.
When you first view a property, it’s important to investigate – not just admire.
If you spot anything that sends the alarm bells ringing, try to trust your gut and make an informed decision. Research may follow, or you could ask the developer some specific questions.
It’s important to secure a house you can make a home – not fall into a money pit. Buying smart helps to keep you, your family, and future tenants safe. Last of all, never make an offer without viewing a property in person!