Buying a new build house/apartment involves a different legal process to buying a second hand house/apartment.

As with buying a second hand house/apartment it is important to establish a budget (see above) but then the process differs. The purchase of a new build house/apartment can be from plans but more usually is on foot of a show house/show apartment. Usually the property to be purchased is not yet built though it may be partially constructed and in some cases near completion.  

Once a deposit is paid the builders solicitor will send out contracts and copy title to your solicitor together plans and specifications in addition to a building agreement. Usually with a new build house/apartment there will be two separate contracts to sign, a contract to buy the site and a separate building agreement to build the house/apartment. An important aspect of the building agreement is the timeframe within which the house/apartment has to be completed. Usually developers will stipulate 12/24 months and this can create a difficulty for borrowers as often a Loan Offer from a bank is only valid for 6 months. It is important that a suitable loan clause is put into the contract to protect the buyer. Usually the new build house/apartment is covered by insurance such as Homebond to cover serious structural defects for a period of 10 years and in addition there is normally a warranty in the Building Agreement to cover minor defects for a period of 6 months and major defects for a period of 18 months. Price Variation clauses which allow the builder to change the price if building supplies go up should be refused but the builder will insist on price variation clause should the rate of VAT go up.  

When the house/apartment is completed the developers solicitor will normally serve a completion notice on the buyers solicitor requiring completion within 2 weeks and within that 2 week period the buyer needs to drawdown their loan, comply with their lenders requirements and importantly have the new property inspected and a snag list prepared and sent to the builder for completion. Usually developers are optimistic when they give estimated completion dates at the outset. It is also important to bear in mind that a change of job or health circumstances can affect a loan offer which is relevant if there is a significant time lag in the build. You should look into the ‘Help to Buy’ Scheme at www.revenue.ie

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