HomeOwners Alliance logo

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest property news, tips & money saving offers

  • Selling up? Step by Step Guide to SellingRead More

Should I move into an unfinished new build?

Would you move into an unfinished home? It sounds crazy, but more and more buyers are being encouraged to take ownership of incomplete new builds...

unfinished new build

Taking the shine off new build homes

New build homes are increasingly popular. Schemes such as Help to Buy, which let buyers purchase a property with minimal deposit make the new build option particularly attractive to first time buyers. The idea of living in a brand new home with all the mod cons and no maintenance is a huge draw for would-be homeowners.

However, new builds are not without their problems and many arise as a result of the buyer being encouraged to move in – and as such take ownership of – the property before it’s actually finished.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Who in their right mind would move into an incomplete home? But you’d be surprised. Knowing you’re keen to move, and likely to have already faced delays, some builders will even encourage you to act against your best instincts with cash incentives to move in.

And we’re not talking about collecting the keys to a home without windows or a kitchen. No, it’s the smaller finishes – the finer details – that you may think shouldn’t cause problems but, in far too many cases, do. Indeed issues that may seem inconsequential may actually have more complicated causes that aren’t initially obvious.

Build in haste…

Developers are under pressure to build whether from the government as a result of housebuilding targets or from themselves in an attempt to maximise profitability for their shareholders. As a result many new build developments are being rushed to completion. Buyers are encouraged to move in before the houses are finished while builders simultaneously move off site with promises to complete the minor works at a later date – minor works which when you add them up often represent a long list of problems. And if one area is unfinished, other areas often are too. What’s worst, once you’re in, there’s less urgency on getting them finished. On paper at least the builders have hit their deadline.

Even if building control have signed off your property there can be problems. Recent reports surrounding Bovis Homes revealed the housebuilder has had to set aside £7m to compensate buyers who’ve had problems with their homes.

Bovis has faced accusations that it was encouraging buyers to move into unfinished homes with cash incentives. That’s how desperate they are to build and run.

Your stories

We frequently hear stories from desperate homeowners whose properties are most certainly not up to standard yet developers are at best reluctant and stalling, and at worst refusing to do anything.

One homeowner we spoke to recently, who didn’t want to identify the development in question for fear of affecting their ability to sell in the future, said that she and her fellow residents had endured six years of faults and flaws since moving into their new homes. One property has had over 10 roof repairs as a result of leaks.

This is not an isolated issue. According to a report released by Shelter this week, 51% of new homeowners say they have experienced major problems with their properties including issues with construction, unfinished fittings and faults with utilities.

Shockingly, some developers won’t allow buyers access to the property they are buying to conduct a snagging report before completing. At the HomeOwners Alliance, we are lobbying the government to give new build homebuyers the legal right to conduct a snagging survey before they complete. It is unacceptable that a buyer should be forced to complete on a property without ever getting the chance to check that it’s up to standard. It’s time buyers’ rights took precedent over builders’ profits.

In the meantime, we strongly advise against completing on your new build property until you’re happy with it.

Become a member of the HomeOwners Alliance for tailored advice and help with your new build problem, or get in touch today with your story at


Leave a comment (4)* Required

  1. Erin BlaneyErin Blaney


    We are in the process of buying a new build apartment with Help To Buy scheme and are at the point of exchange. Two months ago we found out that the wrong kitchen cupboards were fitted and told that they would be changed. Only found out a few days ago that this has still not be done. The developers are saying that there will be a 5 week delay for these to arrive and that there will be some damage done to walls etc. when changing them which they said that they will have to fix. Most likely have to plaster and paint. We are due to complete in 10 days. Do we have right to not go ahead as it will be unfinished? They have said we can use the kitchen fitted until then but we don’t want to be moved in and then have to chase them to get it done.

    Any advice would be muchly appreciated.



  2. Kevin JonesKevin Jones

    Is there any legal recourse where property, clearly, is not completed ( landscaping, carparking, security codes, etc) after 2 years of completion?

  3. Peter rooneyPeter rooney

    My son is in the process (ready for collecting keys of persimmon home in Glasgow)of moving home with his family,,before hand I done a quick survey for him as he works offshore and won’t be home till handover day,external view is poor to say the least,would he be within his rights to not take possession of keys if by moving day these points aren’t rectified??

    • Sara HindSara Hind

      Hello Peter, as you’ll have seen from our article, we’d advise against completing on a new build property until your son is happy with it.

Buying a home? We’re here to help! 

property apps

✓ First time buyer?

✓ Need advice on estate agents?

✓ Stressed about moving?


We can help you through the key stages of buying a home

Read our step-by-step guide >

Sign up for our weekly newsletter this November for your chance to win a £50 John Lewis voucher

*Prize draw closes on 30th November 2021

Read our privacy policy

close popup ×

Before   you go...

If you found this website useful, could you spare a minute to leave us a review?