Buying with Barratt

Discussion in 'Barratt Homes' started by Cmoo, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Cmoo

    Cmoo New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    My fiancé and I have been saving for sometime and are looking to buy our first home together relatively soon. We're interested in the new Help to Buy scheme and so have to look exclusively at new builds. We've got it narrowed down and at present our front runner is part of a new Barratt Homes development. As this will be the biggest purchase of our lives to date i wanted to ask what this forum's general experience of buying from Barratt is.

    I essentially want to know 2 key things...

    1) If you've bought from Barratts how did you find the experience? Was is positive? Would you recommend them? Were there any problems with the buying process, house etc and if so how well were these handled?

    2) I have read it is possible to negotiate a better deal than just paying the list price. Has anyone here done that and if so what was your strategy, how much did you get off the price, were there any extras thrown in etc?

    I'm sorry i know these are a lot of questions but as i don't know anyone who's bought a new build it would really set my mind at rest if i got some answers here.

    Thanks!
    C
     
  2. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert Well-Known Member

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    First of all, you should be VERY CAREFUL about using the Help-To-Buy scheme if it is shared equity "Help"
    You should check that the 100% new property price is market realistic by checking sites for local postcodes on Zoopla and Mouseprice.
    It is no good paying over the odds for a home especially when you are only buying 80% of it.
    The scheme is aimed at "helping" people who cannot afford to buy a home, buy one anyway by loaning even more money.
    What will happen to you when (not if) there is a market correction, interest rates rise to the historic average after inflationn takes off again thanks to all that Quantitative Easing? (aka money printing)

    It would have been more "helpful" to reduce or suspend Stamp Duty on all homes rather than subsidise the house building industry by subsideising new builds only.

    That said if you are certain, and that owning 80% of a new potentially overpriced home on a cramped estate and paying interest in year 6 at 1.75% (rising every year by inflation plus 1%) on the other 20% then fine.

    Barratt did have a dreadful reputation within the industry a few yaers ago.
    But judging by the lack of complaints on here and the number of NHBC awards their site managers consistently win every year and the fact that Barratt have been rated five stars in the HBF survey for four years running they would appear to have improved the quality and service.

    However, as with any new home built by any house builder, you should get the home independently inspected by a professional snagging inspector. Even a builder with a good track record on paper, may have a rogue site and rogue site managers building poor quality new homes.

    You can always negotiate on the price.
    Sales Advisors have can give 3-5% reductions on the spot to get a sale, certain times of the yaer are better than others. be aware that Barratt year end is 30 June and any new home started now will be rushed to be finished to be included in their figures. To get the best deal buy a fully completed stock home on the site at the end of May!
    Extras can be thrown in and included as incentives. Be careful as they may be poor value.

    If you want to know more and find out how to get the best built new home at the best price buying at the right time and what pitfalls to watch out for then you really need to spend some time reading the information on brand-newhomes.co.uk.

    A final piece of advice, get a copy of the Consumer Code for Home Builders and read it BEFORE going to any house builders sites.
     
  3. Cmoo

    Cmoo New Member

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    Thank you so much for that very thorough reply NHE it answers a lot of my questions. I hear what you're saying about help to buy but the way we're looking at it is this...Using the scheme will allow us to buy a house 12-18 months faster than we would be able to and i'd rather spend that year paying down my mortgage than paying more rent. I am very aware of the risk with interest rates and there will definitely be some wiggle room in our budget to account for this. The plan is to use the fact that i'm paying less on the mortgage to either overpay it or save up to begin paying back the shared equity. I am familiar with the area the development is in as it's on the outskirts of the estate where i grew up and about 4 streets away from my mum. I think the development may be slightly overpriced based on where it is but it's also substantially cheaper than the Bellway, Persimmon and Wimpey developments nearby in other areas.

    I fully intend on getting a professional snagger which is how i found this site actually but I am pleased to hear Barratts have cleaned up their act a little.

    Thanks again for all your advice

    C
     
  4. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert Well-Known Member

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    Please stop dumping links to Barratts website! It is not even the house builder but the Shoe firm! Are you even a REAL BUYER?

    Be aware that there are added costs involved each time you repay a chunk of the government loan (known as staircasing).
    The other builders you mention receive by far, the most posts from unhappy buyers in the last year on this forum.

    One last point but essential........is that you knock on doors of existing owners and ask them about the quality of their new home and the after sales service they received. The longer they have been living there the more reliable the opinion.
    Do this BEFORE you reserve anything!
     
  5. Cmoo

    Cmoo New Member

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    Hi NHE,

    Thanks again for your reply. I was very confused about your comment about links but now i see what you mean. I can assure you it's not me doing it and if you check out your own post it's doing the same thing. I can also assure you i am 100% a real buyer.

    I wasn't clear about which costs i'd have to pay to staircase, can you clarify this please?

    Thanks
    C
     
    #5 Cmoo, Apr 19, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  6. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert Well-Known Member

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    I see what you mean about the links. It is a package of paid links called skim links I think. Very annoying but may give some revenue for the forum owner.
    Regarding staircasing: if you look at the Help To Buy section on my website and click on the links.
     
  7. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

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    Hi Cmoo,

    Be very careful if you are buying leasehold (e.g. a flat). Last year Barratt sold me a flat telling me the service charge estimate was £1200 to £1300 where in fact it was actually £2300.79!!!! I took them to the Consumer Code for Homebuilders and was awarded compensation. If you go to the following site, I have uploaded the entire adjudication (I have just been informed I need 5 posts before I can upload links so I will have to write it long-hand). "www" dot "honeybadgerblog" dot "co" dot "uk"

    Also, you can negotiate them down, I got 5% knocked-off - BUT - I would never buy with Barratt again!
     
  8. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations for your Consumer Code Claim WIN
    If more new home buyers followed this process, which is really easy and starightforward, then perhaps, just perhaps, house builders would start to behave in a reasonable manner.

    Clearly you were given false information which not only contravened the Consumer Code for Home Builders but also the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008.

    You should notify your local trading standards office although the Adjudication Scheme T&Cs require confidentiality!
    However your useful website www.honeybadgerblog.co.uk already does this!

    It is a pity you did not claim for the £250 maximum for "inconvenience" as you have had gone through quite a lot to successfully win a fairly small amount (£2,700) much less than you were looking for and IMO much less than you should have been awarded.
     
    #8 NewHomeExpert, May 6, 2013
    Last edited: May 6, 2013
  9. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

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    NHE - Thanks. I feel slightly duped by the CCHBAS - if I'd have known I was not have going to get the amount I had asked for i.e. the maximum, then I would have asked for the "extra" £250. I am going to reject the £2700 though. I think it is letting Barratt off too lightly. It is less than 0.8% of what it cost me to buy the place (including stamp duty and fees). I think from Barratt's perspective this is great value - i.e. they sell 66 units at full profit, 1 person complains and it represents less than 1% of 1 flat ... what is to stop them doing it again?

    When I was doing the research for my claim I reported them to the police via the fraud website because I believe they have broken the Fraud Act 2006. I got a crime number but nothing else.

    I tried to report them to local trading standards but you have to go through the citizen's advice bureau now. The call-centre person I spoke to had no grasp of any aspect of the law and sided with Barratt - needless to say I got a reference number from them and nothing else!

    In doing what they did I believe Barratt breached the Property Misdescriptions Act, the Misrepresentation Act, the Fraud Act and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 as well as the Consumer Code for Homebuilders.

    I am going to take them to the County Court and see how they explain themselves out of all the above - I am really looking forward to it (although I haven't filed yet).

    Yours is a great site by the way. Had I known about it before I bought, I probably would have been A LOT more careful!! Thanks, and keep-up the good work!
     
  10. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your kind comments!

    "In doing what they did I believe Barratt breached the Property Misdescriptions Act, the Misrepresentation Act, the Fraud Act and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 as well as the Consumer Code for Homebuilders"

    The Property Misdescriptions Act has been largely replaced by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. The latter Act is what Barratt appear to have broken. You should note that the Consumer Code for Home Builders, such as it is, was only really introduced to clarify the 2008 statutes, not as they claim as a result of the barker review 2004. Why else would it have taken until April 2010 to launch the Code?

    Clearly as your own cases demonstrates, the Consumer Code for Home Builders lacks teeth and I wish you well with your legal action.
    History IMO would appear to indicate that Barratt will probably use its legal advsiors to negotiate with you/your solicitor and settle confidentially out of court.
     
  11. melbunny

    melbunny New Member

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    Last month I was unfortunate to be on the receiving end of appalling customer service from Barratts. Thursday-our offer was accepted by Barratts under the premise that completion would happen in 6 weeks. Thursday we spent most of the day checking with our solicitors and mortgage company that this could be achieved. Spoke to sales team 6pm on Thursday agreeing that we'd pay the deposit Friday morning as all was looking like it was ready to go. Friday morning another customer walks in and they immediately sell the house to them! No phone call to us and we only found out that the house had gone when a few hours later we rang to pay the deposit! Fobbed off by the regional sales director after complaining....a letter to the MD is being composed concerning their customer service!
     
  12. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

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    They absolutely will not be bothered by your complain, you are wasting your time writing to them.

    Just be thankful you had a lucky escape!
     
  13. Cmoo

    Cmoo New Member

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    Oh dear Mel that sounds awful! Whereabouts in the country are you if you don't mind me asking?
     
  14. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert Well-Known Member

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    First of all, did you actually RESERVE the home.
    That is sign a Reservation Form and pay a Resevation Fee.
    You cannot expect any house builder to hold a property for you unless you do this.
    After all, you may have changed your mind, found a better house or never have come back!
    Money talks.

    If you did "Reserve", then you have been very badly treated and you should complain to Barratt in writing and if you are not happy with the reply you should complain using the Consumer Code for Home Builders Adjuducation Scheme.
     
  15. Cmoo

    Cmoo New Member

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    Hmmm well the plot thickens where my potential purchase is concerned. As i said in previous posts my fiance and I are looking to buy a new build property using help to buy later this year. We found a house we were interested in but it's in a later phase of the development and weren't expecting it to be released for a few months giving us time to get enough for our deposit.

    Today however the sales woman from the development has called and said it's available now! I initially said we were sad but we couldn't proceed as we simply didn't have the money in place to exchange in 28 days which i believe is standard with these purchases. She called back and said that she had permission from head office that we could exchange on a much smaller amount and would only need the full amount when the house was completed in Nov or Dec.

    I'd love to believe her as we really want this house but from what i've read a sales person will generally swear black is white if it gets them a sale. Can you all give me your thoughts on how i should proceed please?
     
  16. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert Well-Known Member

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    I can smell the rat from here!
    You are quite right the sales staff will say anything to get a sale.
    The fact that they are even prepared to 'fiddle' the 10% required for Exchange of Contracts shows just how desparate they need the sale.
    It is often possible to book interest in a future unreleased unprioced plot via an "Early bird" scheme. No deposit is necessary and normally the early birder gets first refusal on the chosen plot when the time comes.

    In your case it sounds like the builder has incresaed the price and then used the negoitable to find the balance of your deposit, or perhaps it is a dircet interest free loan. Basically it is very wrong for any house builder to be shoving buyers into new homes they cannot obviously yet afford.
    In addition, who is to say that your circumstances will not have changed in 6 to 8 months time when the house is built? Interest rates may be higher, you may lose a job, be expecting etc etc.

    My advice is don't buy later what you cannot afford now.
     
  17. Cmoo

    Cmoo New Member

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    Well actually we did fill out an early bird on this property. When we were looking initially not all of the first phase properties had sold (there's still 4 available now) and she was very clear that the next phase wouldn't include our property either so naively we thought that would give us the few months we needed to finalise our deposit. That is would be available now less than 6 weeks after that conversion never entered our heads. I wonder if the fact that Barratt's year end is June means they're looking to do some kind of accounting jiggery pokery to make it look like their sales are higher than they are even though we wouldn't have completed by year end.
     
  18. Ryan

    Ryan New Member

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    I would echo what NHE has said.

    In terms of your finance, the Help to Buy scheme does not become live until January 2014. I imagine once it then becomes live it will take at least a few weeks to navigate.

    Once you exchange you are committed to the purchase regardless of whether or not you manage to get a mortgage in place. Personally, I would not exchange unless I had every last piece of finance in place and would have completion on the same day or a maximum of a couple of days later. Between exchange and completion you, as the buyer, bear the entire liability and exposure. If your finance falls through, you are in trouble. Don't make the mistake of thinking the seller will be sympathetic because they won't.

    P.S. As a general point, make sure you get everything in writing, even if it is only a confirmatory email.
     
  19. Cmoo

    Cmoo New Member

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    Thanks Ryan,

    I am taking on board everything you and NHE are saying and believe me i have no intention of doing anything rash! The only incorrect thing you said was about help to buy, the mortgage guarantee element doesn't start til January but the equity loan element we want has been live since the beginning of April. Thanks again for your post :)
     
  20. NewHomeExpert

    NewHomeExpert Well-Known Member

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    You are quite correct CMOO, Barratt's End of Year date is 30 June and they will want to shoe horn in as many buyers into homes that can be "finsihed" for that date. In practice, this will mean that they will need to be constructed and pass a CML final inspection around 14 June 2013.

    Quite how an up field house could be constructed or even finished in this time is strange.
    As you say perhaps they just want your sale as a forward sale in their report for the year end.

    And yes Help-To-Buy (20% equity share part) has been available from 1st April this year.

    And as Ryan says GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING!
     

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