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Buying off-plan, reservations & purchase schemes

September 2023

By Owen Setter, Head of New Homes

If you’re looking at buying a new build, you might find that there are a few different ways to do it. It can be slightly different to a ‘normal’ house purchase due to the options of reserving, buying, and even selling an existing home. In some cases, it can provide buyers more opportunity and flexibility. 

Buying Off-Plan
It is actually possible to buy a new home before ground has been broken on the site. This process is called ‘buying off-plan’, because you are simply buying the property based on its plans. 

With the lengthy process of planning, design, and everything else that goes into building a development, the developers will know for a long time how many homes will be available. What’s more, they’ll have extensive blueprints, detailed architectural drawings, site plans, and sometimes example show homes at other developments to help you buy a home with full confidence. 

Buying off-plan can offer lots of benefits. Firstly, in popular areas new builds can be extremely competitive to purchase. Being able to reserve a plot before its built means you can sit back in the know your home is secured. 

You can also have a say it some design features, including kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and landscaping (depending on the plot build stage and options offered by the developer). The home will be bespoke to you – not many homes can boast that!

Reserving a new home
Whether you buy a new home off-plan, mid-build, or post-build, you’ll go through a slightly different purchase route then buying an existing property. 

Once you’ve selected the property, you have a reservation appointment. These can be lengthy, detailed appointments, where the sales advisor will confirm all-sorts of things with you, such as going through drawings of your property, the plot location, and confirming any bespoke choices you may be able to make, and the timelines within which they will need to be made.

If you already have a sale agreed, or don’t need to sell a home to purchase, you will be able to move straight onto a full reservation.

A reservation fee will be payable, along with the signing of reservation paperwork. This all means that your new home is secured for you. (Fees will vary, but usually a portion of the reservation fee is due back to you, should the sale not go through within a certain timeframe. Always be clear on the terms agreed).

Reserving a new home can be daunting, which is why agents and developers have dedicated team members who are experts in new builds to support you on your journey. 

Purchase Schemes
Another way buying a new property can be slightly different is the purchase schemes that are often offered. Depending on if you’re a first time buyer or need to sell to buy, there’s a few different schemes that can help. 

Part-exchange – some developers may be able to offer you a part-exchange on your current home if you have a property to sell, allowing you to ‘trade-in’ your current home for a lovely, shiny, new one. 

If you need to move quickly and your home of choice is ready to move in to, you can get your move completed very quickly using this method. If your new home isn’t yet built, you get to stay in your current home until your new build is ready for you to move into, reducing stress levels all round knowing you have a buyer at the other end.

Assisted purchase - this type of scheme has many names – ‘Smooth Move’, ‘EasyMove’ and many more. By using this method, the developer may be able to take the stress of selling your current home, by dealing with local estate agents for you, arranging for them to market and sell your home whilst your chosen new-build is put on hold for you.

This option is slightly different to part-exchange, as the developer will not ‘buy’ your property, but instead will help sell it for you.

Purchase schemes vary from each development, so always discuss with the sales advisor any purchase schemes available and which one might suit you best. Always confirm your financial position with a financial advisor before committing to purchase schemes or reservations. The developer will want to confirm with their preferred financial professionals that you’re in a suitable financial position to purchase a property.

If you are looking to buy a new home, or have any questions, contact our dedicated new homes team by calling 01823 334466, or emailing We have a large range of developments currently available across the West Country, with many more coming soon! You can register you interest with us for future sites, and see what offers might be on the market. 

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