By Carol Brady MBE, Chief Executive
If you’re selling new build homes covered by the main warranty schemes, you need to comply with the Consumer Code for Home Builders (“the Code”) to give your buyers the best service and reduce the risk of disputes for developers.
All developers building homes covered by the four leading warranty providers, Checkmate, LABC Warranty, Premier Guarantee or NHBC, must comply with the Code, which makes the process of buying a new home fairer and more transparent. This includes pre-sales and reservations right through to occupancy and after sales.
How you work with developers will vary from site to site – you might only be responsible for advertising the properties, or you might be providing a full sales service. Whatever your role, it’s worth being aware of the Code’s requirements so that between you and the developer, you can make sure home buyers are getting what they need.
Here are some of the ways you can help developers comply with the Code:
- Include the Consumer Code logo in new build sales brochures and give buyers a copy of the Code or access to an online version. Although this is a requirement in itself, it’s also an opportunity to highlight your commitment to customer service which will give buyers additional confidence. Copies of the logo can be downloaded from our website and you can order free window stickers from the warranty providers.
- Complete the free online training on Code Requirements on our website.
- Provide enough pre-purchase information to enable buyers to make an informed decision. This is not only important for compliance with the Code, but can help ensure you don’t fall foul of Consumer Protection Regulations by omitting important information. Pre-purchase information must include a written reservation agreement and information about the home warranty and what it covers. A sample reservation agreement can be downloaded here.
- Ensure the sales contract is clear and compliant with legislation and includes termination rights.
- Provide reliable information about completion dates and legal handover. If these have to change, alert the buyer as soon as possible and explain the reasons why.
- Explain the after sales service, including any applicable guarantees and who to contact queries or complaints.
It’s also a good idea to keep a record of conversations and decisions, so that you can refer back if there are any queries later on.
The Consumer Code website provides lots of useful information about how to comply with the Code, including the full set of Requirements which can be downloaded here. You can also download our handy compliance checklist for developers and agents.
Although the responsibility for compliance with the Code rests with the developer – and in some cases you may only have limited involvement in selling new-build homes – by helping developers comply, you will also be helping to ensure home buyers receive the information and support they need. Not only that, by meeting the requirements and providing clear and accurate information to buyers, you will reduce your own risk of falling foul of Consumer Protection Regulations for which agents are directly liable.
For a summary of Code compliance tips, take a look at our video: https://consumercode.co.uk/top-tips-for-agents-selling-homes-on-behalf-of-home-builders/