The challenges of new build

We need to think more about the people waiting for the keys to their dream home.”

The purchase of a new build property comes with different conveyancing challenges to the purchase of a used home and to help cater for this type of case, many firms now have a dedicated specialist or team to deal with this sector.  However, there are still a large number of conveyancers that view new build as being more time consuming than a straightforward case file and often turn the work away.  However, with a little experience and a willingness to network, it needn’t be more complicated than any other client.

Here, Aconveyancing’s new build specialist Sam Burrows talks through the challenges she faces and the techniques she uses to overcome them.

Avoid bottlenecking the process

With strict exchange deadlines and often no set completion date, buyers may be required to exchange and complete within 28 days.  These inflexible and tight timeframes can understandably make the process more stressful. There is a culture in our industry of passing the baton of responsibility when there is a bottleneck in the chain.  This can hold up the process even further, often unfounded and unnecessary, especially when timings are already very tight.   This results in clients feeling like they are not in control, they don’t understand what’s happening and are not privy to all the information, leading to suspicion of solicitor’s advice, which is really unhelpful.  I urge conveyancers to pick up the phone and talk unsure clients through the situation in detail.  Be open with people and give them clear expectations on timings and next steps, it often avoids email trails and lengthy hold ups in the process.

The role we play a bigger chain

Because the new build process involves a sales team and developers, understanding the bigger picture and how the conveyancer fits into this process is crucial.   Yes, we are there to represent the buyer, first and foremost, but it’s important to address the benefits of supporting developers in the interest of keeping the economy going and the housing market moving.  With any new build case, if local, I always visit the site, so I have a better understanding of the bigger picture, how many other plots are available, what the sales targets are.  By getting to know the sales managers and developers, it helps build trust and avoids the bottleneck situation I made in my first point.

Effects of Covid:19

As well as the normal tight timings involved with new build property, Covid:19 has added to the strain by put the brakes on many parts of the process.

In a chain when time is of the essence this can add extra stress, the process is taking longer.  Third parties are working in challenging circumstances to finalise mortgage checks and paperwork.  Even signing documents in person, which is an essential part of the process, is taking extra time with lockdown restrictions still in place around the UK.

We must retain the human element, basic communication skills, honesty, flexibility and most importantly, never, ever ignore someone trying to contact you.

Taking the time to get to know everyone in the process from developer to buyer, is worth it.  In the long run it always proves a successful way to move things forward in a timely manner. I urge conveyancers to keep the lines of communication open and honest.  Phone calls usually work more effectively than emails, retaining the human element is crucial because we need to think more about the people at the end of this chain, waiting for the keys to their dream home.

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