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How can I find the best new-build home developers?

There are thousands of developers building new homes across the UK. Here’s how to choose the best to get your dream home, with the quality and features you expect.

Guest Author
Words by: Cathy Hudson

Contributing writer

The developer is an important consideration when you’re buying a new-build. 

Each developer will offer a different experience, whether it's the style and finish of their homes, their process and service as you move through the purchase, or the types of locations they choose for their developments.

Getting to know different developers is an essential part of your research as you search for your next home. Ultimately, shortlisting your favourites will help you find a home you love.

So how do you find out if a developer has a good reputation before you decide to buy?

Choosing the best new homes developer

There are 2,469 active home builders and residential property developers in the UK. 

That’s according to the latest UK Housebuilders Directory, published by Property Data in July 2023. 

So the choice is huge. 

There are home-building giants with names you've probably heard of, as well as smaller developers working in localised areas. We partner with most of them - just search for developments to see who's in your area.

So how can you tell if a new homes developer will be building the kind of home you’d like to live in? 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to identify which ones are likely to come up trumps. 

Buying a new-build home? Here’s everything you need to know

1. Read customer reviews on trusted sites

The Home Builders Federation

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) is the official trade body for new homes developers and it carries out a customer satisfaction survey every year. 

It also asks people who have bought new-build homes whether they would recommend their builder to a friend. 

In this year’s survey, which covers the 12 months from October 2021 to September 2022, the majority of builders received the maximum five-star rating, which means 90% or more of their customers said they would recommend them. 

If you’re interested in a particular developer, it’s also worth looking at how they’ve performed over time. 

Overall, 90% of customers said they would recommend their builder and 88% said they were satisfied with their home’s quality.

You can see the results of the HBF’s customer satisfaction survey here.

Find new-build developers

We partner with all the UK's major house builders, including Barratt Homes, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon.

It's never been easier to find and compare new-build developers, all in one place.

2. Look at new-build developer awards

There are a range of awards that recognise the best builders and developments, such as the Housebuilder Awards and the WhatHouse? Awards

The Evening Standard’s New Homes Awards also covers London and nearby counties. 

The NHBC (National House-Building Council) Pride in the Job Awards recognises the best site managers of sites registered for NHBC Buildmark. 

That’s the warranty scheme that covers the majority of developments in the UK, which is a good indication of how well a developer’s sites are run.

 3. Check out new-build developers on social media

You can also look at reviews on Google or Trustpilot, as well as on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, where you may find customer groups for specific developers. 

These are particularly useful for finding out about their aftercare and how well they deal with snagging issues. 

Consider speaking to people who have already moved into developments you’re interested in too.

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4. Do your homework before visiting a new-build property

Before you view properties on new-build developments in person, you can find out lots of information about them on property portals or the websites of the developers themselves, so you can decide whether they’re in the running. 

You can also request further details from the developers but there’s no substitute for an in-person visit.

Aside from whether a property has the number of bedrooms and features you want, has enough space and light and is in the right location, other aspects to consider include:

  • How energy efficient the property is, as this will affect your energy bills. You can find out by looking at its energy performance certificate (EPC). A and B are the highest ratings, which most new-build properties achieve.

  • What green areas and other shared spaces the development has. Do they seem well looked after? Who manages and maintains them and what charges will you have to pay for this?

  • Is the site well designed for pedestrians and cyclists? Is there bike storage? 

  • When it comes to driving more sustainably, all new homes with car parking must now have an electric car charger.

  • Forensically examine how well the property has been finished and the quality of its fixtures and fittings. If it’s not yet completed, does the site look tidy and well managed?

  • Make sure you know what new-build warranty the property comes with and what’s covered. Most new homes come with a 10-year NHBC Buildmark policy, which covers: 

  • Your deposit if the builder goes bust before legal completion

  • Fixing problems as a result of the builder not meeting the NHBC’s technical requirements in the first two years 

  • And fixing problems with certain parts of the property after that

  • Find out more in New-build home warranties: everything you need to know

  • And find out whether the developer is offering any deals or incentives to buy the property, such as paying for your legal fees or stamp duty, which could make it more affordable.

By doing your homework and arming yourself with all the facts before you buy, you should be able to find the perfect home that you’ll be happy in for years to come.

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We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.