New Build Conveyancing Process Explained

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New Build Conveyancing Process Explained

A new build can be fresh and exciting, and many love the idea of owning a new home to put their unique spin on. It also has the huge added benefit of being chain-free (if you are a first-time buyer), which people favour as it can prevent any delays in the house-buying operation. This sometimes allows people to move into their new homes more quickly.

The conveyancing process of a new build is often more intense than the conveyancing process for other already existing properties. The complications stem from the additional legal processes involved in buying a new build property.

There are plenty of differences to take on board when it comes to buying a new build including the conveyancing process. Read on to understand the differences and to find out more information about the new build conveyancing process.


What Is Conveyancing?

The conveyancing process refers to the legal aspect of property purchase. A conveyancing solicitor is an expert who can assist you throughout the process.

The process of conveyancing begins when you make an offer on a property and ends when the keys are handed over to you.

New Build Conveyancing

As a buyer wishing to purchase a new build property, you are usually expected to exchange contracts quite quickly to commit to your purchase before the building of your new build property has been completed.

This is normal and is also the reason why new-build conveyancing is often different and potentially more difficult than wishing to buy an older property.

The New Build Conveyancing Process

When buying a new build property that is yet to be built or is still under construction, you are essentially purchasing it based on computer-generated images or a show home display.

This type of purchase is called an 'off-plan' purchase, where you rely on the provided specifications and the appearance of the show home.

As you will not be able to see your exact property in its finished state, it is important that you are completely satisfied with the information and design before committing to the purchase. To learn more about the new build conveyancing process, refer to our step-by-step guide below.

Buyer Makes a Reservation

The buyer is expected to pay a non-refundable reservation fee which can vary between £500 and £2000. This amount is deducted from the final price of the home.

After paying the reservation fee, the property is usually reserved for 28 days during which contracts are exchanged.

Contact Your Conveyancing Solicitor

The buyer should contact a conveyancing solicitor at this stage. At Bell Lamb & Joynson, we recommend selecting a conveyancing solicitor with experience in dealing with new builds.

Conveyancing Checks

Next, the conveyancing checks will be carried out. The conveyancing checks on a new build are more intense due to the volume of documentation that needs to be considered. This includes the usual searches and surveys required for any other property transaction.

Although the conveyancing process for a new build involves more checks, it is usually completed more quickly. This is because there is no upward property chain to delay the transaction.

Secure Your Mortgage

Secure your mortgage with your lender. If the house is unfinished, the mortgage provider will look at the plans and specifications of the property to determine its market value.

Buyer Pays Deposit

After the exchange of contracts, the buyer is required to pay the deposit, which is usually 10% of the sale price.

The deadline for paying the deposit is usually within 28 days of reserving the property. Once the contracts are exchanged, the buyer is legally bound to purchase the property when it is built completely, and the developer has confirmed that the house is ready.


The completion date can only be secured once the property is finished. It is the day when your conveyancer will transfer your funds.

Typically, this happens 10 days after the developer confirms that the house is ready. This is known as the 'completion on notice'.

How Is New Build Conveyancing Different?

Some of the key differences to note with new build conveyancing include:

  • New builds are often still in development, meaning the buyer may have to wait longer.
  • Other issues can arise with new builds, including issues with planning permission, the property not being built to initial plans, the completion date being rushed, and sewer, road and NHBC inspections not being completed.
  • New build conveyancing is more complex, but it can be a lot quicker.
  • A fixed completion date is often not given with new build conveyancing.


Things to Keep in Mind When Reserving a New Build Property

Delays can occur, and they are often outside of anyone's control. This includes things such as extreme weather conditions, which can make it difficult or unsafe to continue building or shortages of materials.

It is important to bear in mind that mortgage offers expire, so you should check that your mortgage offer will not expire before the completion date of the property. If there are delays on the completion date and it is pushed back, your mortgage offer could expire during this time.

You should also be aware of what is covered by the National House Building Council (NHBC). If developers have registered with a warranty provider, they can protect your 10% deposit from penalties for withdrawing from the sale if there are delays that are long enough to be considered unreasonable.

Bell Lamb & Joynson Can Help

Need help with your new build or previously owned property conveyancing? At Bell Lamb & Joynson we have experience in all aspects of conveyancing across England and Wales. We specialise in all kinds of residential property transactions, including new build conveyancing, property transfers and remortgages.

We can help you secure your perfect property, whether you are a first-time buyer or are looking to upsize or downsize from where you are currently living.

Contact us today, one of our team of friendly and award-winning conveyancing solicitors will be happy to help you. All of our contact details can be found on our website.

Laura Cartwright

Laura is a Partner and heads up up our residential conveyancing team. Laura is Chartered Legal Executive and is experienced in all aspects of residential conveyancing including remortgages, shared ownership, new build and leasehold properties Laura is the Regional Chair for the North West for Women in Residential Property and is the host of the conveyancing podcast ‘Bricks And Banter’.