The developer is an important consideration when you’re buying a new-build.
You can find out which house builders are creating homes in the areas you want to live in on Zoopla.
Filter your search by price, the number of bedrooms you’d like and which property type you’re after: terraced, semi or detached.
Choosing a good developer will ensure you have a home you’re happy with and the buying process is smooth.
So how do you find out if a developer has a good reputation before you decide to buy?
Choosing the best new homes developer
There are 2,469 active home builders and residential property developers in the UK.
That’s according to the latest UK Housebuilders Directory, published by Property Data in July 2023.
So the choice is huge.
Among these are smaller developers working in localised areas, alongside the home building giants like Barratt, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon.
So how can you tell if a new homes developer will be building the kind of home you’d like to live in?
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to identify which ones are likely to come up trumps.
1. Read customer reviews on trusted sites
The Home Builders Federation
The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the official trade body for new homes developers and it carries out a customer satisfaction survey every year.
It also asks people who have bought new-build homes whether they would recommend their builder to a friend.
In this year’s survey, which covers the 12 months from October 2021 to September 2022, the majority of builders received the maximum five-star rating, which means 90% or more of their customers said they would recommend them.
If you’re interested in a particular developer, it’s also worth looking at how they’ve performed over time.
Overall, 90% of customers said they would recommend their builder and 88% said they were satisfied with their home’s quality.
Review site HomeViews collects reviews of new homes from buyers, including ratings for design, management, location, value and facilities.
It provides detailed information about developments across the UK and the companies that built them.
2. Look at new-build developer awards
The Evening Standard’s New Homes Awards also covers London and nearby counties.
The NHBC (National House-Building Council) Pride in the Job Awards recognises the best site managers of sites registered for NHBC Buildmark.
That’s the warranty scheme that covers the majority of developments in the UK, which is a good indication of how well a developer’s sites are run.
3. Check out new-build developers on social media
You can also look at reviews on Google or Trustpilot, as well as on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, where you may find customer groups for specific developers.
These are particularly useful for finding out about their aftercare and how well they deal with snagging issues.
Consider speaking to people who have already moved into developments you’re interested in too.
4. Do your homework before visiting a new-build property
Before you view properties on new-build developments in person, you can find out lots of information about them on property portals or the websites of the developers themselves, so you can decide whether they’re in the running.
You can also request further details from the developers but there’s no substitute for an in-person visit.
Aside from whether a property has the number of bedrooms and features you want, has enough space and light and is in the right location, other aspects to consider include:
How energy efficient the property is, as this will affect your energy bills. You can find out by looking at its energy performance certificate (EPC). A and B are the highest ratings, which most new-build properties achieve.
What green areas and other shared spaces the development has. Do they seem well looked after? Who manages and maintains them and what charges will you have to pay for this?
Is the site well designed for pedestrians and cyclists? Is there bike storage?
When it comes to driving more sustainably, all new homes with car parking must now have an electric car charger.
Forensically examine how well the property has been finished and the quality of its fixtures and fittings. If it’s not yet completed, does the site look tidy and well managed?
Make sure you know what new-build warranty the property comes with and what’s covered. Most new homes come with a 10-year NHBC Buildmark policy, which covers:
Your deposit if the builder goes bust before legal completion
Fixing problems as a result of the builder not meeting the NHBC’s technical requirements in the first two years
And fixing problems with certain parts of the property after that
Find out more in New-build home warranties: everything you need to know
And find out whether the developer is offering any deals or incentives to buy the property, such as paying for your legal fees or stamp duty, which could make it more affordable.
By doing your homework and arming yourself with all the facts before you buy, you should be able to find the perfect home that you’ll be happy in for years to come.