If you're looking for a property to buy in Chelmsford, you may have considered a new-build home.
There are plenty of opportunities for buyers in the new build space in Chelmsford, as the city looks to meet demands and government targets for new housing in Essex.
And with further growth of developments like Beaulieu Park and town centre regeneration that includes new homes on the horizon, there are likely to be plenty of opportunities for buyers and investors in the future.
With Chancellor Philip Hammond revealing in his autumn Budget that a cool £500 million had been ring-fenced in the Housing Infrastructure Fund for new homes, it's likely even more opportunities for potential investment may crop up in the coming years.
According to the Chancellor, this pot of cash could pave the way for around 650,000 new homes. Moreover, he also revealed a whopping £1.5 billion would be given over to boosting the UK's high streets - including looking at the prospect of turning unused retail units into homes.
With all this bubbling under the surface, now is a great time to start exploring the potential behind buying new-build property, either as an investment or as a home.
But where do you start and what should you look out for when it comes to new-builds?
Our guide can help...
Focus on the area as well as the property
Any property is really only as good as the area in which its foundations sit.
Take Beaulieu Park, for instance.
The properties are fantastic and offer contemporary, modern living in a great area of Chelmsford.
But it's easy to get distracted by new builds and fail to check out things like schools, commuter links and amenities.
Fortunately for Beaulieu Park, plans are in place for a new railway station and relief road aiding connections to both Chelmsford city centre and London.
But make sure you do all your due diligence on the area surrounding the development you are checking out.
What plans are in place for further development on the site? How close are major amenities like doctor's surgeries, dentists and shops?
All this needs to be taken into consideration when pondering a new-build investment.
Research the developer
The major difference between new builds and established homes is exactly that - established homes have a history and a paper trail you or your solicitor can easily access for peace of mind.
New builds don't have that kind of history, so in order to be certain you are making the right decision, research the developer's background and previous projects before signing your life away.
Look at their customer reviews and testimonials and look at online forums that may reveal which builders are open to deals on new property.
If you can, visit a previous development and speak to the residents to find out their experiences with the developer.
Or, even better, speak to your local estate agent, like Martin & Co.
Which developers are best for after-sales care? Even new-builds can have problems so you'll want to choose a developer with a solid reputation for sorting out early teething problems at the property.
Get involved in decision-making
The beauty of new-build properties is they are always a blank canvas - at least until the developer makes decisions on decor, fixtures and fittings.
Many developers are open to buyers being involved in the decision-making process when it comes to decoration and fixtures and fittings. As a soon-to-be owner of a new-build property, it makes sense for you to be involved, too.
Lighting, flooring and decoration could all be up for discussion, so ensure you ask the right questions early on, especially if you are buying off plan.
You don't have to pay the asking price
Yes, it's a new-build property.
But that doesn't mean you have to pay the full price.
That's especially true in the current slow market we are seeing in many areas of the UK.
The power of negotiation remains, even on new-build purchases. So, ensure you do your homework before making an offer.
What have other properties on the development sold for? Find out and use your knowledge to get a deal that suits your financial needs.
Focus on snagging
'Snagging' is when the buyer of a new-build property checks for defects or a poor finish.
This should unquestionably be done by you as a buyer before completing on any new-build purchase. It's a comprehensive process, but you want everything to be correct and as it should be.
Here's what you should be looking out for:
-The paintwork: Is it too thin or patchy?
-The plastering: Ceilings and walls should be smooth and joints crisp and neat
-The brickwork: All brickwork should be clean, with good pointing and uniform design.
-Fixtures and fittings: Is everything installed as it should be? Check cupboard doors and drawers in the kitchen and ensure everything opens and closes as it should.
-Windows: Again, check they all open and close properly and that they are fitted correctly with no scratches on the glass.
-Woodwork: Kitchen worktops should be smoothly finished and fitted correctly. Take a spirit level to check they are level.
-Plumbing, electrics and heating: Check everything, including taps and switches, is working as it should be and keep an eye on flooring beneath radiators that could show up small leaks.
-The exterior: It can be worth asking a roofing expert to check tiles and guttering / downpipes are fitted correctly.
If you're thinking of buying or investing in new-build property in Chelmsford, but need more advice, speak to one of our property experts today.