FAQ and Glossary

Answering some of the most frequently asked questions, plus definitions of some industry terms

Frequently Asked Questions:

A mortgage is a loan secured on your home. The money received from your lender (less any tax or other costs) is known as the mortgage advance and the mortgage deed refers to the formal document that confirms the mortgage provider's (lender's) interest in your new home. The mortgage offer is the formal written offer of a mortgage made to you by your mortgage provider.

We want to ensure whatever mortgage you take out is affordable to you. Checks by a lender usually involve looking at your credit score, assessing your income and any outgoings you may have. From this, they’ll give you a figure that you are qualified to borrow.

It’s necessary to be requalified for a new build property as not all mortgage lenders are willing to lend the same amount of money to purchasers who are buying a new build property. Also, if using a scheme such as Help to Buy, which can only be used to buy a new build home, this can also affect the value of the home you are able to buy.

More and more lenders now have a range of exclusive products for customers purchasing a new build property. If using an IFA or mortgage broker, they will be able to tell you about these.

Bovis Homes may be able to help you. We have a number of purchase assistance schemes.

HTB – Help to Buy
ATP – Authority to proceed
ATE – Authority to exchange
CTD – Confirmation to developer

They are professionals who will advise on financial products available. Note: not all IFAs give mortgage advice. A mortgage broker can give mortgage advice but may not be able to advise on other related financial products such as life assurance.

Once you have found your dream home, you’ll be asked to complete an affordability assessment with an IFA. If the home is affordable to you, you’ll then be provided with a reservation agreement and asked to pay a £500 reservation fee, which will be taken off your final purchase amount. The reservation agreement will stipulate details about the home you are buying, agreed timescales to exchange contracts, and anticipated legal completion date for your new home. Our new six-click reservation process is managed through an online portal. Once your offer has been submitted on your preferred home, the terms of your reservation agreement are presented in the portal. Here you can review the offer and reservation agreement, enter details of your solicitor and IFA, accept the terms and conditions, and pay your reservation fee.

Unfortunately, we can’t hold a reservation. Once you’ve found the home you would like to buy, you’ll need to pay a reservation fee (taken off your final balance upon completion) to secure the property. Once this is paid, we’ll take your home off the market. If you change your mind within 48 hours of reserving, we’ll refund you 100% of your reservation fee.

Build stages refers to the milestones we reach when building your new home. From laying foundations to putting the roof on, we’ll keep you updated every step of the way..

Every Bovis Home comes with a 10 year 'Buildmark' warranty provided by the National House Building Council (NHBC), which covers any major defects to the structure of the property, or in its construction. We also include our own two year warranty on the property, with a supporting customer care service should any issues arise in the first two years - giving further peace of mind.

The conveyancing process for a new build home has many elements, by committing to a timely exchange of contracts this will prevent any delay to your purchase. It also ensures you have financing in place from a mortgage lender on time. We also know that you’ll be keen to personalise your home, and this can only be done up to a certain point of the build stage. If you want to buy upgrades and add them to your final statement, then this needs to be done once you’re legally obligated to the purchase.

Many local councils will not take responsibility for cutting grass and the upkeep of communal areas on new developments. This means an estate management company is appointed to take on these tasks, which all residents will pay a monthly fee for.

A management fee may cover the upkeep of a play area on the development, grass cutting, street maintenance, and if you’ve bought an apartment, cleaning of communal areas and lift maintenance.

Not all options in the Select range are suitable for every home type. Also, depending on the build stage at which you reserve your new home, it may be too late for certain choices to be fitted.

We’re proud of the options we have available for customers to personalise their home, from contemporary kitchens, to stunning bathrooms, we have included many ways for customers to create their perfect home. We deliver over 12,000 new homes annually, so our range is tailored to ensure that every customer receives the five-star quality they would expect.

The long stop date is the absolute latest your new home will be completed.

No, garages are not included in the internal sizes stated. You can ask your sales consultant for more information about the size of your garage or garden.

Yes, you can buy our show homes before they are built back agreement. This gives you an excellent investment opportunity, as once you’ve bought the property, you lease it back to us for a fixed period, guaranteeing you an exceptional yield with no running costs for the length of the lease.

We don’t have a list of available investment properties, so it’s worth contacting the specific development you are interested in buying at directly for more information.

We always try to reserve new homes ‘off-plan’, but from time-to-time we do have properties available to move straight into. When searching on the website, just select the ‘ready to move into’ filter to show those properties available now. These homes will also be highlighted on the interactive site plan.

Most new housing developments today include an element of 'affordable housing' as part of their planning requirements. In practice, this means that these homes are not available on the open market, they are only available to a restricted number of people that fulfil certain criteria, such as keyworkers and those on low incomes. Eligibility depends on the development itself and who the affordable homes are owned by, usually a housing association. The housing association will have a list of those eligible. Homes can be available for rent or shared ownership, whereby the occupier owns part of the home and rents the remainder.

Social housing is vital so that those who cannot afford a home can still access one. Home builders need to adhere to a Section 106 agreement when planning a new development, which stipulates the percentage of affordable housing to be built on the site.

We are keen to create inclusive communities; the best way to achieve this is to integrate different tenures of housing throughout the development.

As part of your customer journey you have an opportunity to meet the builder, where you’ll meet the site manager and sales consultant to go through the aspects of building your home. You’ll also have an opportunity to visit your home at ‘first fix’ stage. This is where your home has walls, floors and ceilings, and we’re about to start on the plumbing, electrical and carpentry. If you would like to book further visits, you can do this with your sales consultant.

This will depend on the build stage when you reserve but your sales manager will keep you informed of progress. Kitchen choices may only be available if build has not progressed beyond roof stage so make sure you reserve early!

Our customer care team is on hand to help resolve any problems that may occur, but rest assured checks are made at every stage of the build process and your sales advisor will keep you informed of the status of your sale. We also adhere to the Consumer Code of Conduct which provides support, reassurance and peace of mind for buyers of all new build homes.

Your sales advisor will be happy to answer any questions you may have. At reservation, you will also be given a copy of 'Your guide to buying a new home' which will guide you through the process and give you a useful glossary of terms to refer to.


The home-buying, construction and legal purchase process can contain much technical and industry-specific jargon and language. If you are a first-time buyer, or simply not familiar with some of these terms we have compiled and explained a list of key words and phrases that may help you.

Build complete

Construction of your new home is now finished and once inspections are undertaken you will be notified of a legal completion date.


The legal process of buying and selling a property.


A certificate signed by an independent construction specialist to say your home has been built to expected standards.

Consumer code

The Consumer Code for New Homes is a mandatory Code for members which has been established to ensure that best practice is followed by registered homebuilders in respect of the marketing, selling and purchasing of new homes, and sets expected standards for after sales customer care service.


Legal papers relating to a property which transfer legal ownership to you.


Expenses incurred by your solicitor when paying for local searches, stamp duty, land registry fees and other associated legal costs

Exchange of contracts

This is when exchange of contracts takes place between your solicitor and our solicitors and a deposit is paid to us for your new home. This is when the sale becomes legally binding.


This is when you are presented with the keys to your new home. This generally occurs on the day of legal completion.

Legal completion

This is the day on which the balance of the purchase money for your new home is paid. It is the day you become the legal owner of your new home and is also referred to as the ‘moving in’ or ‘handover’ day.

Management fee (also known as a service charge)

An annual charge for the maintenance of communal facilities such as parking areas, gardens and communal areas within apartment buildings. This fee is normally paid to a management company.


A mortgage is a loan secured on your home. The money received from your lender (less any tax or other costs) is known as the mortgage advance and the mortgage deed refers to the formal document that confirms the mortgage provider's (lender's) interest in your new home. The mortgage offer is the formal written offer of a mortgage made to you by your mortgage provider.

Notice period

If you exchange contracts ‘on notice’ that is without a fixed legal completion date. The notice period is a timescale of 14 days and is the period in which legal completion takes place on a date agreed by the buyer’s and seller’s solicitors.


The National House Building Council – the independent regulator for the new homes industry. A non profit-making independent body which lays down standards for the private sector house builders that are registered with it.

NHBC Buildmark cover

A 10 year warranty from the National House Building Council covering your new home against specified risks.


When a customer pays a deposit and signs a Bovis Homes reservation form, the property is reserved at the agreed price for a specific time providing exchange of contracts takes place on an agreed date.

Registered title

A title of ownership registered at the Land Registry guaranteeing ownership.


Enquiries made by your solicitor in the early stage of the contract drafting. The enquiries are made of the district, or borough council to identify any issues that may affect your property. This could include proposals to build a factory or a road nearby, or historic rights such as coal mining or access

Section 104 Agreement

A legal agreement made under the Water Act in which a developer secures the adoption of sewers by a water authority.

Section 38 Agreement

A legal agreement under the Highways Act in which a developer secures the adoption of roads and footpaths by the local highway authority.

Section 106 Agreement

A legal agreement under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, usually made between the house builder and the local authority, in which the house builder makes financial contributions for local infrastructures to help sustain the local community in which it is building. This could include providing affordable housing, or a public open space.

Stamp duty land tax

This is a Government tax paid by the purchaser on completion of the purchase. Subject to contract This is when a sale is verbally agreed only, but no contract has been signed, so there is no legally binding agreement. Once contracts are signed and exchanged, all the terms and conditions become legally binding for both the purchaser and the seller.


A qualified law professional who is your personal legal representative and will act on your behalf and to protect your interests during the home buying process.

Transfer or lease

The formal document that actually transfers legal title in your new home to you. The title of the property is recorded at the Land Registry.


A professional opinion based on experiences and knowledge of the housing market at a given time, on the value of the property. Vendor The seller of the property.