Facilities, location, and value for money are hugely important factors when buying from a developer. However, HomeViews data revealed that one aspect of buying a new-build is being overlooked: after-sales care. So, what should your developer be doing to help after the boxes have been unpacked?
Most property developers offer after-sales care in some form. The service can entail financial advice, home care maintenance, property updates, progress reports, furniture packages, property insurance, and service payments. It can even extend to things like getting help with insurance, utilities, furniture, schools, and moving day arrangements.
However, after-sales care receives the lowest score out of all our ratings on HomeViews, achieving 3.58 out of 5 stars overall. Residents regularly report that their developer has either handled this stage of the transaction poorly or has neglected to handle it at all. One verified owner, Gabriel, experienced a multitude of problems in the years. After he bought his home he has been frustrated by the lack of accountability from the developer:
“Since I moved in in September 2011 has not been many leaseholders meeting with Senior Management Staff, I can’t recall more than 3 to be honest. This give you a hint of how much it cares about its customers.”
So, how can developers do more when it comes to after-sales care?
The minimum requirement for developers is to provide after-sale care for one year, after which time it is passed onto a management company. It is clear from HomeViews data, however, that this system is not proving successful.
In the context of buying a new build property, one year is still early days. Problems could still be revealing themselves at this juncture. Further, being passed onto a management company can feel like a bit of a raw deal for residents. Having been communicating with the developer for months or years prior, the change can be derailing. The splitting of liability between developer and management can also lengthen the process of resolving issues. This is because the two bodies often negotiate over who is responsible for fixing a problem. Another verified owner, Sush, had a typically poor experience with the company that took over her after-sales care:
“After the initial move in the management was handed over. They have promised lots of things that they haven’t done the main one being CCTV cameras which the residents wanted as mail was going missing and this hasnt been delivered. From speaking to other people there seems to be no good management companies in the UK.”
What you need to know about owning
Homebuilders should guide you through the process of owning. This is done by keeping you in the loop about the progress of your home and remaining on-hand to answer questions. You should receive a full demonstration of how to operate your new home on moving in and maintain close contact in case of problems thereafter. Some companies also choose to provide after- sales care for longer than the minimum requirement. Berkeley Homes for example, offers a warranty of two years rather than one.
Developers should also be encouraged to put their money where their mouth is. The Consumer Code for Home Builders ensures that home buyers receive fair treatment, reliable information, and speedy dispute resolution, and should be something that your developer adheres to. Independent agencies such as Investor in Customers (IIC) can also conduct customer experience assessments; Berkeley Homes received the accolade of Investor in Customers in January 2018 and 2020.
Reviewers on HomeViews seem to appreciate extra effort when it comes to after-sales care – Berkeley’s Kidbrooke Village development has received an after-sales care score of 4.29 out of 5.
“They go out of their way to make this best experience possible. Helped me with a lot.” Sarah, verified owner at Kidbrooke Village
“Berkeley homes have promised a lot and so far, and have delivered.” Luke S, verified owner at Kidbrooke Village
So, if you are considering buying a new-build property, think beyond the initial purchase. Check out resident’s reviews on HomeViews before choosing a developer to ensure that you will be properly looked after post-move in.