We regularly receive emails from prospective buyers asking if they should buy a new home from Berkeley Homes. Sometimes they ask us if they will get a bargain now that prices have dropped.
Its a tough one.
We can’t tell you what to do and we would urge you to ensure you have a good solicitor / conveyancer and take professional advice before making such an important decision. The fact you have found this web site, means you must have doubts about Berkeley Homes in your mind and started “googling” for information. Read our story carefully and consider Berkeley Homes’ conduct towards us and other buyers (use Google to find out how Berkeley Group generally treats the public, local authorities and so on – there is plently of information out there).
Our advice would be to think very carefully before signing on the line, especially if you are planning to buy with a mortgage. Valuations are still a big issue and have a nasty habit of being downgraded at the last minute or being “reassessed”. Mortgages are not guaranteed until the money has been transferred on completion day – your bank can change its mind anytime up to the day you get the keys – what would happen if your mortgage didn’t materialise or the bank dropped the LTV ratio at the last minute?
Ask Berkeley Group how they would help you in that situation? Will they screw you with the contract if your mortgage falls through or the bank changes the terms? Don’t believe the salesman – get any “promises” in writing as they might be quickly forgotten if you have mortgage issues on completion day.
If Berkeley Homes tells you they’ve had valuations done, ask to see them and demand copies. You might need them in future. Of course, you should always get your own independent surveyor (or you bank’s) to conduct a valuation and don’t sign a thing until you’ve received the report. Take Berkeley’s “valuations” with a pinch of salt. In fact, take all of their sales patter with a large pinch of salt.
If you have to think twice or you have any doubts, walk away. Don’t let them use the £1000-2000 “reservation deposit” to pressurise you into exchanging contracts (this is the point of no return). If you have doubts, valuation or mortgage concerns, walk away. We all wish we’d walked away.
And finally, perhaps consider a nice solid Victorian property down the road….built to last, no noise problems, no horrendous service charges and much more likely to hold its value