The housing market has changed dramatically in the last decade – as have the homes we live in. For a start, we’re having to squish ourselves into our flats and houses more tightly. According to a study by the University of Cambridge, the UK has the smallest homes (by floor space) of any European country.
around 300 people a week were dissatisfied with the repairs and quality of building work
The average new build property covered just 76 square metres compared with almost double that amount of (137 square metres) in Denmark. Another victory for those pesky Vikings then. The same study also found that over half of homes were falling short of minimum modern space standards. (sadly, a guide, not a law).
And once we’ve moved in, the picture is also isn’t that cheery. According to a recent all-Parliamentary report, around 300 people a week were dissatisfied with the repairs and quality of building work when they moved into their new homes. A whopping 93% of people reported problems to their builders.
Based on those reports, it’s easy to think we’re a nation of people getting struggling to get by in tiny homes that are falling apart all around them. Is it really that bad?
Actually, you’ve got loads of rights when it comes to you buying a home. From building guarantee schemes to insurance policies that cover you’re for a range of surprises. Here’s a quick guide to your rights.
If you’re buying a brand-new property, it makes sense to do a few checks before you move in. The good news is the vast majority of home building companies subscribe to the Consumer Code for Homebuilders. This is an industry code of conduct introduced after years of bad publicity for home builders. It was designed to make the process of buying a new home fairer and more transparent for purchasers. There’s a dispute resolution service too, just in case you find you’ve got a problem you can’t sort out.
Next up is The National House-Building Council (NHBC) - an independent organisation that runs a register of builders of new houses. It’s pretty comprehensive and all members need to sign up to various rules and quality requirements. NHBC run a scheme called Buildmark which can help you in some circumstances if the builder goes bust. Under the scheme, the builders are responsible for repairs for the first two years and after that, the provider of your warranty (part of the scheme) is responsible for the next 3 to 10 years.
you’ve got loads of rights when it comes to buying a home
Now we aren’t the biggest fans of warranties in the world here at Resolver. Lots of them aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. However, many mortgage providers insist on you taking out a warranty when you buy a new-build and these policies can be essential. But of course, given how much we care about our homes, lots of people make complaints about them.
Warranties are regulated which means you can go to the Financial Ombudsman if you really do hit an impasse with the complaint. Check the documents to see who the underwriter is first, though. And scan, photo or keep a copy of the documents.
The good news is Resolver can help you get started with any complaint about your home - from the quality of the repairs to claims or issues with your mortgage. There are a couple of things to bear in mind, though, to help things go smoothly.
It’s a blank canvas that you can make your own! Owning a brand-new property means no baggage and less hassle. The building will have vital things that we take for granted pre-installed, like central heating, lots of plug sockets and insulation. But things can and do go wrong. And if they do…
Feel that space! And that character! Yes, old houses continue to be popular for many buyers. But as any owner of a ‘pre-loved’ home will tell you, there are often many unexpected surprises waiting for you.