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It’s been well established that the UK needs far more new homes than we have been building for years, so if you are a serious potential buyer, then the sooner you start looking to secure the new build property you want, the better.

Buying ‘off-plan’ means securing a brand new home before it has been finished, maybe even before its foundations are laid, perhaps relying only on the floorplans that the housebuilder is working with.


While this could seem risky, and there are some things to consider carefully, if done well, an off-plan purchase can be very advantageous. Keith Osborne, Editor of new homes portal Whathouse.com, talks us through some of the benefits of buying off-plan, and some key elements to consider before taking the property plunge…


Being an early bird off-plan buyer could be a chance to ‘catch the profit worm’. If property prices in the area you’re looking at are on an upward trend, waiting a year before buying a home might mean having to pay a significant amount more for it. If you buy sooner, the value of your property could even increase before you even move in. For example, if you pay £250,000 for your home, and a year later the property is worth £280,000, you have already made a tidy profit! Buying a home of course always comes with risks, and you should always seek professional advice before making an investment.


Purchasing off-plan could be a chance to secure the ideal plot. Perhaps it’s a particular house type, it comes with great views or a south-facing garden in a quiet corner of the site, but buying early on usually offers the most choice. Some urban and city developments come with limited parking, so it could also be a case of first in, first served in terms of availability and choice!


You may be able to personalise some features. Some housebuilders and individual developments offer a range of options and upgrades for their homes, from flooring and tiling to integrated appliances and smart technology. Selected few may also be able to change the layout of a home, moving or removing a wall to meet the preference of the buyer. If you’re keen to utilise this opportunity to personalise your new place, buying early in the build process is key.

As with every home purchase and big investment, there are key elements to consider carefully when looking to buy off-plan.

  • Make sure you get the right financial guidance. Many mortgage providers will only keep their offer open for six months, so if you are buying further ahead than that, or in case there are some unexpected delays, be aware of what yours will want to do and if an extension is possible.
  • It’s vital that your solicitor is familiar with the regulations of buying a brand new home, so they can offer the best advice for your individual circumstances.
  • Most housebuilders are very good at informing their off-plan buyers of updates on their new home, but be sure to keep in regular contact to stay up-to-date with progress.


Whathouse.com lists thousands of new homes all over the country, from small regional developers to the largest national housebuilders. You can search by location, budget and property type to get a shortlist and then look at each one in detail before contacting the housebuilder to speak to them personally.

Keith Osborne, Editor of new homes portal at Whathouse.com