Selling in 2021

There is an enormous amount to think about when you are embarking on a development and it is important to consider every eventuality before you get too progressed in a project. Not only will forward planning ensure that you have an accurate overview in terms of costs but it can also reduce the issues you may otherwise face when you come to sell. 

The following is not an exhaustive list but some items to consider if you are planning to develop and sell a development in 2021.

Some Clients I know, engage the services of renowned architects, at least at the initial stage, in order that they have the additional gravitas of a “designed by…” to aid their marketing. Whilst I am unsure of the value that a buyer may attach to such a move, it is something you could consider. Similarly you may wish to appoint a Contractor of high repute or specify some fittings within the property from highly regarded suppliers in order to try and add to the eventual marketing of your scheme.

In addition there are a number of on site aspects which are going to require some consideration early on in the development.

If you think it is important to have a super fast fibre connection to your property this will need to be installed very early on in the development. The fibre cables cannot be positioned at right angles and nor can they be positioned externally. In short, they need to be installed internally, very early on in the build stage otherwise you will need an alternative solution for using the internet.

Another one to consider is the requirement for a FENSA certificate for door and window installation. Many builder quotes include the supply only of windows and the contractors fit these themselves. If the builder is not FENSA registered then they will not be able to certify these works, something which is generally required at the conveyancing stage with your buyer. This is potentially resolvable as the work could be subjected to separate Building Control inspection but achieving this after the event is likely to be difficult given that the no longer visible aspects such as cavity trays are no longer capable of inspection.

For those of you who are developing buildings with a cladding element, you are likely to need to produce an EWS1 form which demonstrates that the external wall surfaces have been inspected and can adequately withstand fire. These forms are expensive to procure and given the current lack of assessors, can take some time to achieve. If your buyer is mortgaging then it is likely that an EWS1 will be required to satisfy their lenders.

If you are excavating for new foundations or drainage, or undertaking work to a party wall then the Party Wall etc Act will need complying with. Ensure that this is undertaken thoroughly as one of the standard enquires on the conveyancing forms asks this very question and you will need to have any necessary paperwork available to ensure a seamless sale.

Many buyers and their lenders will also require a warranty for the property, especially if there is a new build element to your project. Obtaining a warranty retrospectively is both more difficult and more expensive and so this should be a consideration early on in the scheme. It is worthy of note that a build warranty may be required simply to remortgage and retain the scheme. 

Separate to a Build Warranty a Buyers lender may also require an insurance backed guarantee on some aspects of your scheme such as flat roofing. It is therefore potentially important to ensure that the Contractors you select have the appropriate experience and standing to meet any warranty requirements.

My final tip with developments is to try and maintain positive relationships with your neighbours. I appreciate this is not always easy particularly given the issues with construction sites but it is important given that neighbour disputes are disclosable on the seller property information form you fill in when you sell your property and any adverse comments in this regard could potentially derail your sale.

In all of these respects early consideration will make the project more seamless and allow you to factor the often not inconsiderable costs of these items to your general project budget.

You do not want to make the mistake of creating something beautiful which you cannot unlock the value to.

I wish you all well with your property endeavours in 2021. Let us hope it contains fewer obstacles than we experienced last year!