Expert & Efficient New Build Conveyancing
From a legal perspective, purchasing a new build home (or a home that is in the process of construction) is different to the purchase of a second-hand property. Some of the key differences between new build conveyancing and standard residential conveyancing include the following:
- Building Agreement and Contract for Sale – When purchasing a new build property, you will need your solicitor to review the Building Agreement; the agreement between you and the building developer to build your home in accordance with the plans. You will also need them to review the Contract for Sale, which is the agreement for the transfer of the site to you. In standard residential conveyancing, only the latter is required.
- Stages of Payment – Payments for new builds are often made in stages, particularly if the property is being purchased off-plan (before construction is complete). An initial booking deposit is followed by a contract deposit, with the balance due upon completion. Your solicitor will handle deposit payments to the builder’s solicitor; however, this doesn’t automatically protect you in the event of the builder going into liquidation. For protection on this front, it’s important to ensure the builder is registered with HomeBond.
- Completion Times – With standard residential conveyancing, the completion date is usually specified in the contract. With new builds, however, completion can be uncertain, especially if purchasing off-plan. Delays may occur due to construction, planning permissions, or other unforeseen issues. An experienced new build conveyancing solicitor can help you to foresee and minimise the impact of planning issues.
- Searches and Title – When purchasing a second-hand home, there may be a more extensive conveyancing history which will involve searches to ensure there are no issues with the title, rights of way, or any other encumbrances. Whilst new builds do not have such extensive histories, your solicitor still needs to ensure planning permissions and building regulations have been adhered to.
- Snag Lists – Before completion, buyers usually prepare a ‘snag list’ of minor defects or unfinished work that the developer must address before the final handover. When purchasing a second-hand home, there is no snag list. Instead, any issues or defects must be identified before the purchase, typically during the structural survey.
- Services and Common Areas – When purchasing a new build, your solicitor will need to check that the Building Agreement includes an “Indemnity Under Seal”, a commitment on behalf of the builder to ensure that roads, sewers, pathways, and communal areas are correctly managed and implemented in line with local authority standards. This is an issue that does not often need to be addressed when purchasing a second-hand home.
These are just a handful of the key areas where the conveyancing team at McCarthy + Co provides expert guidance to clients considering purchasing a new build property. If you are considering purchasing a new build and you require further guidance, our team will be happy to assist you. Complete our highly confidential Property Consultation Request and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Speak to our legal team now about your case. Call us Freephone on:
Request A Call Back
Get a call back from our legal team at a time that suits you.
Highly rated on TrustPilot
Read the latest reviews written by our happy clients.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions we are often asked in relation to buying a property.
Why is it important to ensure the builder of your new build home is registered with HomeBond?
Ensuring the builder is registered with HomeBond is crucial because HomeBond provides structural defect insurance for new homes. This insurance offers protection to homeowners against major structural defects for up to 10 years after the home is built. If a registered builder fails to rectify structural issues or becomes insolvent, HomeBond steps in to cover the repair costs. Therefore, choosing a builder registered with HomeBond not only provides a safety net for potential structural problems but also adds an extra layer of financial security and peace of mind for you, the buyer.
What is a Price Variation Clause in a Building Agreement?
This is a provision that allows the contract price to be adjusted due to specific circumstances, usually changes in the costs of building materials or labour. This clause permits the builder to increase (or sometimes decrease) the originally agreed price if there are unexpected rises in costs. Its inclusion is to protect the builder from unforeseen fluctuations in the market that could impact the cost of construction. For you as the buyer, it's essential to understand this clause as it means that the final amount that you pay might differ from the original agreement, depending on external factors affecting building costs.
How much will I pay in stamp duty?
Stamp duty is typically applied at 7.5% on a site transfer if it’s considered a non-residential property. But, if you acquire a site with an associated agreement to construct a residential property, the site is viewed as residential. In this case, stamp duty is levied at 1% on the sum paid for the site and the cost of construction, excluding VAT. The construction contract should clearly state the cost associated with the site purchase and the building expenses without VAT. You'll be responsible for paying the stamp duty at 1% on the entire amount, excluding VAT.
What happens when my new home is completed?
Once your house or apartment is finished, the builder’s solicitor will send a completion notice to your solicitor. This notice requires you, the buyer, to finalise the purchase within two weeks. During this fortnight, you will need to access your loan, ensure that you meet the lender's conditions, and crucially, have the new property inspected. The inspection is where the snag list is created then forwarded to the builder for resolution.
Joseph McCarthy leads the conveynacing department at McCarthy + Co. Joseph has been an integral member of our team since 2013, bringing a unique blend of expertise and dedication to his role. Joseph provides a problem-solving oriented approach to homeowners and prospective homeowners in their property buying or selling journeys.
Joseph can be contacted via email at: email@example.com
About McCarthy + Co
McCarthy + Co. are a team of solicitors with more than 30 years of experience in providing legal advice, guidance and assistance to clients across Ireland.
We are a family-run business with offices in Dublin and Cork, but we have dealt with clients everywhere from Galway and Limerick to Waterford. We are honest, plain-speaking and thorough – we will work alongside you to ensure your property sale or purchase is as efficient as possible.
Our Awards & Accreditations
We are a multi-award winning firm, accredited by the Law Society of Ireland.