New Build

First-time buyer? Here’s how to manage your expectations when buying a new build

  • 6 Sep 2023

Every new homeowner dreams of a smooth move. However, with high interest rates, extortionate asking prices and an unstable market overall, the situation for many first-time buyers in the UK is far from perfect.

Despite the challenges and hurdles faced by those trying to get on the property ladder, there are several tactics that could make things a little bit easier. Being realistic is the first: renovating a quaint Victorian cottage might not be feasible just yet, but buying a new build and turning it into a delightful home certainly could be.

Whether you’re making offers now or planning to make the big move next year, it’s always worth knowing how to manage your expectations before you buy a new build property.

Why is managing expectations so important?

Buying a new home for the first time means that it’s easy to get carried away with visions and fantasies. The process is a daunting task, and often involves months of prior planning and adjustment. 

During this time, it’s normal to start feeling like the house you’re planning to buy needs to meet every single one of your needs. A few of the preferences that might start to feel like ‘must-haves’ include the size of the house, its location, appearance, amenities, and energy efficiency too. 

But it’s important to remember that you could be building a perfect vision in your mind – and during a time of lower availability on the market, this might be simply unattainable. 

To help the entire process feel easier, you need to manage these expectations and make your priorities clear, known, and realistic. We’ve explained how in a few simple steps below. 

Three steps towards managing expectations before buying a new build home

Set realistic expectations

You’ll encounter various delays in the process of trying to buy a new home. 

Even if you’ve already had an offer accepted with a home-building company, delays on construction sites are commonplace. From unavoidable weather problems to long wait times from suppliers for certain vital building materials, many of these delays will be entirely out of your control. 

Try to focus on the value of flexibility during this time, but still put location first. If you work in the city, looking for new builds in a convenient central location could be the most sensible decision. Suburban and rural areas could be tempting to accommodate remote or hybrid work but may invite longer delays and steeper costs.

Make a backup plan for a potential setback and try to use this time productively. And if the issues affecting completion don’t affect the property directly, now could be a brilliant time to liaise with the home-builder and see if you can personalise the property before you move in.

Consider after-sales support

You might’ve heard horror stories about homeowners moving into their dream home only to be greeted by maintenance issues requiring urgent repairs. Try not to get too invested in these reports and focus on the practicalities of moving in, along with supporting your loved ones through the process.

In any case, you should also try to ensure that you’ve purchased with a company offering sufficient warranty terms and after-sales support. Having a representative on-hand could be a lifeline for the next few months. 

Think about the cost

Lastly, try not to obsess over what you could’ve had if you’d spent a bit more money.

New Build

Sticking to a budget might means you’ll be sacrificing a few of the things you longed for in a new home, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be making a bad move. In fact, depending on where you move to, your property could appreciate over the course of several years, giving you more freedom and choice in the future.

Personalising a home doesn’t need to cost the world. Imperfections should be embraced as part of the journey, and the initial savings will be incredibly worthwhile during the first few weeks and months. 

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