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New homes


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As if the idea of moving into a brand new unblemished home wasn't enough, it seems that developers are falling over themselves to sweeten the deal for you. You look and sound interested, then the salesman slips in the offers - they'll pay the deposit, they'll give you a fridge, they'll sort out a solicitor and pay your legal fees. Wow, that really is the dealmaker as far as you're concerned - before you know it you've signed up and committed yourself. It is only further on down the line that you realise that the deal you got wasn't quite what you thought you were getting.

Here are some pointers for avoiding salesperson seduction:

  • Think about why they are offering incentives - if the homes were truly great investments, would they really need to chuck in all the extras to get buyers interested?

  • The more 'optional' extras they throw in, the less you will feel able to negotiate on price. The cost of these extras will have already been factored in to the asking price.

  • An abundance of incentives may be a sign that they have struggled to fill the homes. This could lead to you living in, or trying to rent out, a property in a half deserted block for quite some time. Ask them about the occupancy levels of the building.

  • Make sure you are happy with both the price and the property and are genuinely getting value for money. Refer back to your choice of area notes and ideal home exploration. Does it really match up?

  • Watch out for fitting hard to remove items that may become unfashionable and make it difficult to resell

  • Avoid, or carefully scrutinise any 'deal' that involves committing to developers' seemingly appealing financial products. There are some genuinely good offers out there, but there are also some mortgages that offer you cash back but then sting you with a high interest rate and high redemption penalties.

  • Be suspicious. Remember that these things are being offered as sweeteners - after all builders are out to make money!

It's not all bad though. The developers ability to bulk buy means you can get goods a lot cheaper than you would be able to on your own, even if the cost is 'hidden' in the asking price of the property. If you can find a really good deal with furniture, flooring, fittings and finance you really can have a ready made home with relatively little hassle - great if you're a first time buyer, would-be landlord or moving from overseas. Just make sure you get your solicitor to check out the small print.

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