Your complete guide to buying an off-plan property


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First things first, what is an off plan property? When you buy off plan, you’re buying a home before it’s been completed. This is increasingly common across London with energy-efficient, high-spec and chain-free off-plan developments being popular with both investors and homeowners.

Buying off the plan can feel extra special as you know you’ll be the first person to ever live there, but it can seem complicated too. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the benefits of buying a new build home off plan, how to buy off the plan, and essential questions to ask any developer.

The benefits of buying off the plan

1. Cost: You can often save money

One of the biggest advantages of buying a home off plan is that the price can be set a year or two before completion. This means your new home could end up being worth more when you move in than it was when you bought it.

2. Personalisation: You can add your own personal touches

When buying off plan, you’re usually offered a range of upgrades and enhancements. You can select your preferred flooring, fixtures and fittings, and sometimes even furnishings and appliances – so you can design your new home to match your exact taste. 

See what we could offer you here

3. Convenience: It’s ready to live in when you move in

When you buy a new build off plan, there’s no need to redecorate or start lots of DIY (unless you want to!) and hardly any ongoing maintenance is required.

4. Peace of mind: You’ll get a 10-year guarantee

Most new build off plan homes are covered by a ten-year warranty, which will ensure your home is built to agreed standard to give you peace of mind. For example, all our homes come with the ten-year NHBC’s Buildmark Warranty (the UK’s leading standard-setting body and provider of warranty and insurance for new homes) and a two-year fixtures and fitting warranty as standard.

Explore more benefits of buying brand-new with Barratt London here.

How to buy off the plan in seven steps

1.Choose your developer carefully

Research them thoroughly and review their plans and timelines. It can also be a good idea to visit the show home at your site to get an idea of the level of finish you can expect.

2. Speak to a mortgage adviser

Once you’ve saved for your deposit, a mortgage adviser will be able to confirm how much you’ll be able to borrow. Let them know you’re buying off-plan so they can find a lender who provides off plan mortgages, as not everyone does.

3. Find your property and reserve your home

Once you’ve found the development and plot you like, you’ll need to reserve your home and pay a reservation fee – this is usually between £500 and £2,000.

4. Appoint a conveyancer to deal with the legal side of the purchase

A conveyancer, or solicitor, carries out all the legal work involved in buying a new home, so make sure you find one with experience of working with off plan properties.

5. Arrange your mortgage

Your lender will usually want to organise a surveyor’s valuation based on the plans and development specification to make sure your home is worth what you’re paying for it. Once this is done, they can issue you with a mortgage.

6. Complete the paperwork and pay your deposit

There will be contracts to sign and also an exchange deposit to pay which is usually 10% of the final price (note, this is different from your mortgage deposit). Once you’ve exchanged contracts, you’re legally obliged to pay the rest of the deposit and buy the property.

7. Get your finances lined up for completion day

Your developer will give you a completion date, when your new build home will be ready. On this completion date, you’ll need to pay the remaining balance on the property, as well as any Stamp Duty if applicable, and you’ll be given the keys to your new home.

If you’re ready to buy off plan in London, click here to search our available developments.