NewBuy Part Exchange: selling your home to a builder


houseHomeowners moving up the property ladder can now trade in their old property via the NewBuy Part Exchange scheme. But will part exchanging get you a good price for your home?

Housing Minister Mark Prisk launched NewBuy Part Exchange last month. Under the scheme builders offering the NewBuy scheme will offer to buy a customer's existing property before selling them a newly-built home.

The ideas is to help free up the housing market, not just for so-called second-steppers, but also for aspiring first-time buyers, as it means more properties are available to buy.

The NewBuy scheme was launched in England in March 2012 and aimed to help first-time buyers to purchase new-build properties. Purchasers buying through the scheme are able to get a 95% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage, meaning they only need a 5% deposit.

Lenders are willing to lend at such a high LTV because they have the added security of a special indemnity fund.

Part exchange
Part exchange allows homeowners to trade in their home as part payment for their new property. It's much like part exchange on a used car and has similar advantages.

Firstly, as the builder buys the property from you, it gives you certainty about timescales which you don't get when selling your home on the open market through an estate agent. You don't have to worry about chains, gazundering or people dropping out.

Secondly, there are no estate agent fees to pay on part exchange, which can save homeowners thousands of pounds. Assuming an estate agent had a percentage fee of 1.8%, selling a £200,000 home would cost £3,600 plus VAT.

The advantages to the house building industry are clear; part exchange helps them secure buyers for new builds in a slow market. And if the builder can sell on part-exchanged homes at a profit they'll be quids in.

The downsides
Much like used cars, the potential downside of any part exchange scheme is that you're likely to get less for your property than you might get on the open market.

The home builder will arrange for at least two independent valuations of your existing home and will make you an offer based on their valuations. Unfortunately, it is likely to be less than the market value of your home. However, if a part exchange deal makes the difference between moving and not moving taking a low offer might not matter too much to some sellers.

Home builders tend to be pretty vague about the percentage of your home's value you can hope to achieve so it's a good idea to shop around a few housebuilders to see what they offer. But bear in mind that the housebuilder offering the best deal might not necessarily be selling new builds in an area you want to buy in.

Not all homes will be deemed suitable for home exchange as there will be stipulations about the value and the type of property – after all, homebuilders only want to buy properties they think they can sell on easily enough.

Properties that might be excluded from part exchange include anything unmortgageable or with structural defects. Owners of leasehold flats with less than 80 years left on the lease or studio flats might also run into problems.

There also might be rules about the value of your home compared to the one you intend to buy.

For example, Taylor Wimpey says your existing property should be no more than 70% of the value of the new home you want to buy. So if your existing property was worth £250,000 you'd need to be buying a property worth £357,142 – a big leap up the ladder for most people.

Before you sign on the dotted line, be 100% sure. If a housebuilder agrees to buy your property via part exchange and you later decide not to move, there could be a penalty fee to pay.

NewBuy mortgages
First-time buyers and second-steppers buying through NewBuy have a choice of six mortgage lenders who have signed up to the scheme. They are Halifax, Santander, Natwest, Nationwide, Barclays and Aldermore.

However, rates for NewBuy mortgages can be higher than for other mortgages. For example, Barclays offers a four-year fixed rate at 4.89% for NewBuy customers but offers a five-year fix at just 3.39% for first-time buyers, remortgages or homemovers with a 30% deposit.

The UK's priciest property areas

The UK's priciest property areas