If you’re buying off-plan, go and check out other schemes that the developer has built, and talk to the residents there.
Before buying a brand new place, consider longevity. If there’s not a lot of storage and you’re about to get married and start a family, perhaps think about buying a second-hand property you can do up and extend.
Check that your home will come with a building warranty (usually for 10 years).
Bear in mind that the show home will look bigger than it really is: tricks of the trade include putting smaller beds in the bedroom, and removing doors from hinges.
On a new development, buy early for the best position. The corner flat on the top floor will have the most light, and as you’re above everyone else, it’s unlikely to be noisy.
Check the local authority planning department website for future development plans in the area. A big, new building next door will spoil your river view.
Get as many extra freebies as you can: carpets, kitchen and bathroom appliances, garden landscaping.
Even better, get the developers to pay your stamp duty, or solicitors’ fees, or put down half your deposit. Some will give you cashback when you buy.
Buy a place and rent it back to the developer. They can use it as a show flat or offices. You’ll need a place to stay in the meantime, though.
Haggle over the price of your home, and the specifications. You can always be cheeky and try to get your kitchen, bathrooms and some appliances upgraded. It’s always worth asking, to see what you can get.
Tips from Phil Spencer