Skip to content

Compare & Save on Conveyancing Solicitors

Speak to accredited Conveyancers & save today!

Compare My Move Fact-Checking Standards

The Compare My Move team follows strict guidelines to ensure that every piece of content is accurate, trust-worthy and adheres to the highest standard of quality. Each article is expertly reviewed by members of our author panel before being published to promote accurate and quality content.

All Compare My Move articles adhere to the following standards:

  • Expertly reviewed - Our articles are reviewed by an industry expert with in-depth knowledge and experience of the article topic.
  • Data supported - All statistics, research and data must link or reference to the original source.
  • Accuracy - All research and data are taken from high-quality, trustworthy and authoritative sources.
  • Quality checked - Our content writers ensure every Compare My Move article is written to the highest of standard.

New Build Conveyancing Solicitors


Written by Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

30th Jan 2023 (Last updated on 15th May 2024) 7 minute read

When purchasing a new build, you must hire a conveyancer to assist you with the legal process. Not every conveyancer offers services for new homes so make sure you state that the property is a new build. Solicitors that deal with new builds tend to have a dedicated team to accommodate the complexities. Therefore, it is recommended to get multiple conveyancing quotes before choosing a conveyancing solicitor.

Typically, developers will reserve your property for 28 days. This means that your conveyancer should complete the conveyancing process during this time. This would be considered fast conveyancing and the new build conveyancing process is often quicker than other property types.

    However, it’s important to note that the process can take longer if any problems arise.

    Your solicitor will be responsible for handling all legal aspects of your home purchase. This includes checking all planning permissions are approved. They will also sign you up with the National House Building Council (NHBC). This will not be a cheap conveyancing process, as new build conveyancing is typically more complicated compared to buying an exisiting property due to additional checks.

    In this guide, we’ve gathered everything you need to know about purchasing a new build property and the conveyancing process.

    1. Conveyancing Process for New Builds
    2. How Much Do New Build Solicitors Cost?
    3. Pros and Cons of New Builds
    4. What Information or Documents Do New Build Solicitors Need?
    5. How Long Does Conveyancing Take on a New Build?
    6. Should You Use the Developer's Solicitor?
    7. Buying New Builds in Scotland
    8. What Should I Ask When Buying a New Build?
    9. Finding a Conveyancer

    Conveyancing Process for New Builds

    The new build conveyancing process is different from existing properties as they are still in development. Your conveyancer will have to conduct additional conveyancing searches. They will also need to arrange an NHBC inspection and deal with the planning permissions.

    The conveyancing process may differ depending on how far along the property development is. Here is the buying process timeline:

    1. Reserve the Property

    You have to pay a reservation fee before making an offer. This is often non-refundable but deducted from the final price. The property will then usually be reserved for 28 days.

    2. Find an Experienced Conveyancer

    A specialist new build solicitor can submit the appropriate documents quickly due to the strict deadlines. They will read through the contract draft papers to ensure all information is correct. We offer a guide to help you find the best conveyancing solicitors.

    3. Arrange Conveyancing Searches

    Your solicitor will arrange the relevant conveyancing searches. These property searches highlight any potential issues that could negatively impact the value. They will also review planning regulations and permissions as well as new home warranty schemes.

    4. Secure your Mortgage

    Your mortgage lender will request a surveyor to conduct a mortgage valuation to determine the property’s market value. If the house is unfinished, then the valuation will be based on the plans and specifications provided.

    5. Find a Snagging Surveyor

    A snagging list is a property survey for new builds. It's more thorough than a mortgage valuation, as it identifies issues with the ‘finish’ of the property and items of repair. This includes structural defects. You should hire a reliable snagging surveyor to conduct a thorough inspection.

    6. Exchange Contracts and Pay the Deposit

    The exchange of contracts will make the transaction legally binding. At this point, the buyer will pay the deposit and sign the necessary documents.

    7. Complete

    Completion dates are usually arranged 10 days after the exchange of contracts. However, a concrete completion date might not always be given. On the confirmed completion date, you will receive the keys, building logs, and owner’s manuals. You can then move into the property.

    Compare Local Conveyancers

    Speak to Accredited Conveyancers & Save Today!

    How Much Do New Build Solicitors Cost?

    The average solicitor fee when buying a house for new builds is £4,477. This cost includes the conveyancing fees, surveying, valuations, Stamp Duty, and a new build premium. The overall cost is based on the UK house average of £285,000.

    Here is a breakdown of the average cost:








    Stamp Duty£1,750
    New Build Premium£360

    If you are using schemes such as Help to Buy or Shared Ownership, this cost will increase.

    You can find an estimated conveyancing cost using our Conveyancing Fees Calculator. This includes any new build-related fees.

    Read more about How Much Can You Negotiate Off a New Build House?

    Pros and Cons of New Builds

    As the first resident of a property, there are certain things to be aware of when purchasing a new build. Knowing what to look for will minimise the chance of issues further down the line.

    Advantages of New Builds

    • Chain-free purchase
    • Opportunity to customise certain features such as fixtures and fittings
    • New build warranties will be in place (this will likely be from the NHBC or a similar guarantee scheme)
    • Quick turnaround to move in

    Disadvantages of New Builds

    • Higher down payments due to new build premiums
    • Complex conveyancing process
    • Ground rent and maintenance fees for leasehold properties

    It’s important to note that the new Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill will be introduced in 2024. This includes raising the standard leasehold contract from 99 years to 999 years. The bill will also introduce a new law that makes it easier for leaseholders to buy the freehold.

    Read more on Buying a New Build vs Old House: Which is Better?

    Compare Local Conveyancers

    Speak to Accredited Conveyancers & Save Today!

    What Information or Documents Do New Build Solicitors Need?

    At the start of the conveyancing process, your conveyancer will request certain documentation to get the ball rolling. Some of these documents are identical to those purchasing existing properties including:

    • Proof of identification
    • Proof of address
    • Proof of mortgage offer
    • Proof of funds

    However, those purchasing a new build will also need a Section 38 Agreement (also known as the Highways Act 1980, Section 38). This confirms that the developer has received the relevant planning permission to construct a new estate.

    How Long Does Conveyancing Take on a New Build?

    The conveyancing process for new builds is 28 days. This is from the day the property is reserved to completion. However, depending on the search and survey results, the conveyancing process may be delayed.

    • Some of the jobs your conveyancer will carry out during this time include:
    • Check that there is access to drainage, electricity, gas, and water
    • Making sure that all planning permissions are approved
    • Read through your mortgage offer and liaise with the relevant parties
    • Look into any restrictive covenants such as title deeds
    • They will ensure that you are signed up with the National House Building Council (NHBC) and carry out relevant inspections

    Compare Local Conveyancers

    Speak to Accredited Conveyancers & Save Today!

    Should You Use the Developer's Solicitor?

    Your developer may recommend their solicitor act on your behalf. Despite the legal process having a short turnaround with new builds, there is a lot that needs to be done.

    Using the Developer’s Solicitor

    This can help save you time finding your own conveyancer. Using the developer’s solicitor can be helpful for those undergoing a last-minute move. In some instances, your developer may offer you incentives if you use their recommended solicitor. However, this is not always guaranteed.

    The solicitor will know about the property construction because they have worked with the developer. In addition, if they are building buy to let properities they might have buy to let solicitors they can connect you with.

    Using Your Own Solicitor

    There is a chance that something may be missed due to the restricted number of people who have inspected the property. Using your own solicitor will ensure that you receive a new and unbiased opinion of the property.

    Another advantage that comes with using your own solicitor is that they won’t feel any pressure from the developer.

    In some cases, your developer may receive a referral fee or commission if you use their recommended solicitor.

    Buying New Builds in Scotland

    The main difference between buying a property in Scotland and the rest of the UK is that your conveyancer will submit missives to the developer. Missives are an exchange of letters of negotiation between your conveyancer and the developer. Once an agreement has been made, this is known as a “conclusion of missives”.

    Read more on Conveyancing in Scotland

    Compare Local Conveyancers

    Speak to Accredited Conveyancers & Save Today!

    What Should I Ask When Buying a New Build?

    Asking your solicitor and developer questions will ensure that you are organised and able to make a fully informed decision. It will give you a better understanding of the property’s development, especially those that are in the early stages. Here are some questions to consider:

    • When is the property due to be completed?
    • How much is the reservation fee and is it included in the total cost?
    • How long is the New Build Warranty?
    • What is and isn’t covered by the New Build Warranty?
    • Are there any discounts?

    Your solicitor will be able to communicate with the developer on your behalf and give you legal advice on how to proceed.

    Finding a Conveyancer

    Compare My Move connects customers with up to 6 licensed conveyancers operating in the area. Fill in our comparison form to compare conveyancing quotes and save up to £700 on your total fees.

    Our conveyancing partners have passed our strict verification process. This includes being regulated by one of the following:

    • Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
    • Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)
    • Law Society of Scotland (LSS)
    • Law Society of Northern Ireland (LSNI)
    • Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX)

    Need a Surveyor?

    Once you've found a conveyancer, you soon might need the help of a RICS property surveyor. Simply fill in our integrated conveyancing and surveying comparison form to get connected today.

    You can compare companies through our integrated conveyancing and surveying form by filling out a few extra steps. We will then connect you with local conveyancers and surveyors to save on the whole process.

    Gareth Brooks

    Reviewed by Gareth Brooks

    Solicitor and Partner, RMNJ Solicitors

    With 19 years of experience in the residential conveyancing industry, Gareth Brooks is a partner and head of management for the conveyancing department at RMNJ Solicitors.

    Compare & Save on Your Conveyancing Solicitor

    Speak to Accredited Conveyancers & Save Today!