New build property lawyers
New build property lawyers

New build property conveyancing solicitors

We have dedicated new build experts and streamlined processes for both buying and selling new build properties and streamlined processes. We are here to help you exchange contracts as soon as possible.

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New build conveyancing experts, here to get you home.

Buying or selling a new build property can be more complex than buying a ‘second hand’ property. This is why we have a specialist team to handle new build property transactions. Often time frames can be critical, so a knowledgeable and direct point of contact is key.

Buying a new build can be fast paced, with a lot of extra information to digest whilst you are busy liaising with the developer.

Our team members here at RWK Goodman are passionate about new build properties and ready to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact us for a personalised estimate of our legal fees.

We deal with plot sales and regularly deal with sales of new build properties and converted properties for developer and house builder clients. This experience means that we can support both sides of new build property sales. For further information on our development services please click here.

Later living

Our specialist knowledge of the later living sector means that we are a safe pair of hands to guide you through the purchase of your new build retirement property.   We understand that this is an important step for you in your retirement planning and will help you navigate through the world of event fees and deferred management fees.

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our credentials

Acting for multiple property purchaser’s at Bath Riverside.


Acting for multiple property purchaser’s at a large new build site in Calne.


Acting for multiple property purchaser’s at various new build sites across Bristol.


Acting for a developer in selling properties at a large new build site in Radstock.


Acting for a developer in selling properties at various new build sites across Bristol.


Acting for a developer in selling flats in a converted office block in Bristol.

Glossary of Terms

Purchasing a New Build Property – Glossary of Terms

When purchasing a new build property there are a usually a number of terms which you might not hear when purchasing a second hand property. We have set out below some of the more frequent terms to assist you with the new build buying process.

Anticipated completion date

When purchasing a property that is not build complete when you exchange contracts you will normally get given an anticipated completion date within the contract, rather than a fixed completion date. The anticipated completion date should be the developer’s best guess on a fair / likely completion date. Often the contract will then provide for termination rights if the completion is delayed certain time periods after the anticipated completion date. Your solicitor should explain this in detail in your property report.

Buying off-plan

This is where you purchase a property which is not yet built. The developer or their representative will show you plans and should confirm the specification of the property you are purchasing.

Consumer Code

More officially known as the Consumer Code for Home Builders, is a set of requirements and principles that home builders must meet when selling new build property. The code is not law and only recommended, or mandatory if the developer wishes to use a new home warranty from NHBC, Checkmate, Premier or LABC. The code is being replaced by the New Homes Quality Code.

Contract papers

The expression used to refer to the suite of paperwork which is now normally electronically issued for the site and plot by the developer’s conveyancer to your conveyancer. Your conveyancer will then conduct due diligence (a full review) on the paperwork.

Completion on notice

Where a property is not yet built, contracts can be exchanged without a fixed completion date and the contract will provide for completion to take place on notice, the contract itself will set out the particular term of notice and what will trigger the notice.

Deadline to exchange contracts

When you reserve a new build plot the developer will usually confirm a date which you have to exchange contracts by. If you are not able to exchange contracts by this date there is a risk that the plot might be withdrawn from you or any incentives re negotiated. Therefore it is important to act swiftly in any tasks you need to do such as applying for a mortgage and replying to your conveyancer so milestones can be met and the developer can be content with progression. Sometimes this is also referred to as a reservation deadline.


A deposit of usually 10% is payable by a buyer on exchange of contracts. The developer may accept a lower deposit in certain circumstances.

Document fee / engrossment fee

An additional fee sometimes payable on completion of the new build property to the conveyancing acting for the developer for producing the legal documents to sell the property.

Estate management

There may be communal areas or facilities on a development which are to be privately  maintained and if so there will usually be an obligation within the transfer or lease for individual plot owners to pay a sum of money towards the upkeep of such areas or facilities, for example a play area or drainage pond.

Exchange of Contracts

When exchange of contracts take place this is when the deposit is paid to the developer’s solicitor and you are committed to purchasing the property under a legally binding contract.

Fixed completion date

If the property is build complete on exchange of contracts the developer may be able to offer you a fixed date to complete on.  You will not usually be able to delay exchange of contracts in order to obtain a fixed completion date.


The legal document used if you are purchasing a new build flat. A lease is often quite lengthy (anything from around 20 – 50 pages is normal) and will most likely contain plans to show the extent of the flat, the building and the surrounding grounds such as car parking areas, bin stores and cycle stores.

Longstop date

Sometimes set out as a termination date – is a date set out in the contract where a buyer could (following procedure set out in the contract) terminate the contract if the completion has not occurred by such date or in some cases a notice to complete has not been issued by such date.

NHBC (National House Building Council)

The NHBC are one of the main new build warranty suppliers. On some sites the NHBC will be dual function and deal with building regulations and the new build warranty, and will evidence that sign off with a single document known as an NHBC cover note. Then following completion the NHBC final certificate will be obtained electronically.

New Homes Quality Code

A code for developers that replaces the Consumer Code. The New Homes Quality Code is run by the New Homes Quality Board and enforced by the New Homes Ombudsman. The code sets out 10 guiding principles and is set out into four parts – ranging from rules on selling and after sales service.

Notice to complete

When the property is build complete and has had a successful final building control inspection and had a successful final inspection by the relevant new homes warranty provider the developer (if also ready) will ask its conveyancer to serve the completion notice / notice to complete on the buyer’s conveyancer to confirm the completion date.


New build properties  (houses or flats) are often referred to as plots. The plot number may well be different from the final postal address number for the property.

Reservation fee

When you make your reservation with the developer you will usually pay a fee to reserve the plot. This is usually between £500-£1000 although can vary depending on the developer. The reservation agreement / form will usually set out the terms surrounding any return of the reservation fee should you cancel the reservation or not proceed etc, please read the information carefully so you are clear on what deductions might be made by the developer.

Reservation form

When you make your reservation with the developer you will be asked to sign a reservation form – this is an initial agreement of some of the headline terms, but not a binding or legal contract to purchase the property.

Reservation period

When you make your reservation with the developer the reservation form will set out a reservation period / exchange deadline / exchange target, this is often 28 days from the point your conveyancer receives the contract papers but can be longer, some developers will give a six week period for example.

Transfer / Transfer of Part

When a new freehold property is sold normally the title will be created for the first time and that is done by transferring the property by way of a transfer of part. A transfer of part must contain a Land Registry compliant plot plan so Land Registry can create a title plan for the new property when they come to register the property. Whereas second hand homes are usually (not always) sold by way of a transfer of whole, i.e. the existing owner is simply selling the entire title they own to the new buyer and the existing title plan will not change.


Warranty provider

This is the company who provides a guarantee for the build. This guarantee will usually be valid for 10 years from the completion date. Most new build homes will be sold with a guarantee of some sort.

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Where you can find us

We represent clients across England & Wales, but also have a number of office locations if you want to meet with us

RWK Goodman, Midland Bridge House, Midland Bridge Road, Bath, BA2 3FP
RWK Goodman, One Castlepark, Tower Hill, Bristol, BS2 0JA
RWK Goodman, 69 Carter Lane, London, EC4V 5EQ
RWK Goodman, Cross Keys House, 27 The Parade, Marlborough, SN8 1NE
RWK Goodman, Godstow Court, Minns Business Park, 5 West Way, OXFORD, OX2 0JB
RWK Goodman, 3 Newbridge Square, Swindon, SN1 1BY
RWK Goodman, 7 Butter Market, Thame, OX9 3EW