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Top 10 things to consider when visiting a show house

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: June 02, 2014

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Traditionally, spring is the time of year when many consider moving home. This is a big decision for any family to make, and one of these will inevitably be whether your next move will be into a new build or an older home.

If you are considering a new build home, this will usually mean visiting a development site to look around the show houses. NHBC, the UK’s leading warranty provider and standard setting body for new homes, offers the following tips for prospective buyers to consider when visiting a show house:

· Condition of the site – is it tidy and well managed ? Look out for NHBC Pride in the Job flags or site boards, as an award-winning site manager is a very good indication that your new home will be built with quality workmanship in mind.

· Which way does the house face ? – south facing windows can improve the energy efficiency of a home, because solar energy warms the walls and floors of a building, but north facing windows offer a more consistent quality of light.

· Timescales – when is the house likely to be completed and ready to move into ? It is natural to want to move as quickly as possible but your chosen plot could be a few months from completion, especially if you are buying off-plan.

· Personalisation – which areas of the house can you personalise to your own taste ? In most cases, you will be able to choose the kitchen and bathroom finishes, but depending on the build stage you may also be able to reposition radiators or add electrical sockets.

· Peace of mind through warranty cover – is the builder registered with NHBC ? Check before you visit at www.nhbc.co.uk If the property is covered by NHBC’s ten-year Buildmark then you are covered even before the home is completed.

· Will my furniture fit ? – take measurements of large items such as beds, sofas and dining room tables, and then measure up the space in the show house to check that your belongings will fit. It is also a good idea to see what storage is available for vacuum cleaners, etc.

· Consumer Code for home builders – the code gives protection and rights to purchasers of new homes. Ask to see a copy of the code, and make sure that you are protected during each stage of the buying process.

· Energy efficiency – ask to see a copy of the home's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as this will give you a good indication of how energy efficient the home is, and how much the utility bills are likely to cost. Ask if the home has been fitted with any renewable technologies that may reduce bills even further.

· Council tax banding – find out which council tax band the house will be allocated to, and what the current yearly charge is for that band. The sale price of the house may not necessarily be an accurate guide, as bandings are based on what a similar property would have been worth in 1991.

· The wider community – check the full site plan to see where open spaces, parkland and play areas for children are planned, as well as new facilities such as schools, GP surgeries and local shops. This will give you a sense of how the community will develop over time.

For more information, and to download a handy checklist to take with you on your site visit, please visit http://www.nhbc.co.uk/homeowners/guidanceandadvice

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