Legal and Financial FAQs
House Buying Process FAQs
Can we reserve a property before it is released for sale?
No, you cannot reserve a property before it is released for sale. However you can advise the on site Development Sales Manager of your interest in a particular plot. We can then let you know once the plot is released for sale.
Do I need to make an appointment to visit the showhome or sales centre?
If you would like to discuss something with the Development Sales Manager it would be wise to make an appointment in case the sales centre or showhome is busy. You can make an appointment via this website, please use the 'book an appointment' facility on any of our development pages. Otherwise please feel free to visit our sales centres anytime during opening hours.
Do you offer assisted move packages?
We do have an assisted move package 'MiMove' which is available on some of our developments. Please visit the sales centre on your development of interest for more details.
Do you offer Part Exchange?
How do I reserve a new home?
Visit the development you are interested in purchasing a property on and speak to the Development Sales Manager there. The Development Sales Manager will confirm the price of the property and advise whether it is still available for purchase. They will ask you a few questions to ensure you are in a position to reserve a property.
Your reservation fee reserves your new home, unless you are using online reservation. If you complete an online reservation we will hold your home for 72 hours, in which time you must visit the development to attend a reservation meeting and confirm your reservation.
During this reserved period your new home will be withdrawn from sale and it will not be subject to any price increases. We will then ask you to exchange contracts and pay a deposit on exchange (usually between 14 and 28 days after reservation). This reservation fee and deposit are then deducted from the price of your home.
If you have any problems meeting deadlines please inform us immediately. We will do our utmost to accommodate delays but regrettably we may have to put your home back on the market if you are unable to meet your exchange deadline. However we can sometimes arrange for you to have first choice of future releases.
How long will our property be reserved for?
The property will normally be reserved for 14 days in Scotland and 28 days in England as this is when conclusion of missives / contract exchange is expected to take place.
How much money is required as a reservation fee?
We usually require £250 as a reservation fee for properties up to £150,000 and £500 as a reservation fee for properties priced between £150,000 to £500,000. We ask for a £1,000 reservation fee for properties over £500,000.
How much of a deposit will I have to pay?
You are expected to pay a deposit when you exchange contracts on the property (usually 14 days after reservation in Scotland and 28 days after reservation in England). The deposit will vary, it is usually between £1,000 and £2,000 in Scotland and approximately 10% of the property value in England.
Is my reservation fee refundable?
Should you cancel your reservation then Miller Homes will retain a proportion of the reservation fee to cover reasonable costs and expenses, and the rest of the balance will be returned. This fee is payable at any point after the day of reservation.
Is there a waiting list for each plot / development?
The on-site Development Sales Manager usually holds a list of customers who are interested in particular plots so that all parties are informed when the plot is released for sale.
You can also sign up for automatic updates by either SMS or email by registering your details on our website or with the Development Sales Manager on your development of interest.
What documentation do I need to bring with me to make a reservation
You will need to bring a valid passport or photo driving licence so our anti-money laundering checks can be completed.
If you do not have a valid passport or photo driving licence, you will need to bring:
Any Government issued document (without a photo) for example;
- Old style driving licence
- Council tax statement
- Tax credit entitlement
- Pension entitlement
Plus, evidence of your address;
- Utility bill
- Bank statement
- Mortgage statement
What is the earliest date you can reserve a property?
The earliest date you can reserve a property is when it is first released for sale. The on site Development Sales Manager can keep you informed of plot release dates.
What security packages are available?
The security packages vary on each development, details of these will be in your development sales brochure. Please ask your on-site Development Sales Manager for further information on burglar alarms etc.
When should I insure my new home?
Your new home is insured by Miller Homes until the moment of legal completion. From then on you are responsible for the insurance of both the buildings and its contents.
Your mortgage lender will insist on building insurance. They may recommend an insurer but you should also be able to shop around for the best deals - please check with your lender on the type and amount of cover required.
Contents insurance can in many cases be included within the building insurance policy. However you can have separate insurance providers for buildings and contents. It is your choice whether to insure your contents or not.
Legal and Financial FAQs
How much can I afford to spend on a home?
In theory, you can afford a property costing no more than the combined total of the deposit that you saved (or can save) plus the amount you can borrow on mortgage. Typically, this is three times the principal income plus one times the second income. But some lenders will lend more, and some less.
There are common areas on the development, what does this mean?
These are the areas within a development which do not form a plot to be assigned to an individual proprietor. They include play areas, landscaped areas, roads and footpaths that are not intended for adoption by any of the relevant local authorities.
Within flatted areas on a development, this may include parking areas, street lighting, and communal stairways, which are not intended for adoption by the local authority.
Miller Homes normally appoint a Managing Agent for the upkeep of these.
What is a valuation survey?
Prior to making a mortgage offer your lender will have the property valued for mortgage purposes. A small fee will normally be payable.
Please note that the value the lender puts on the property is a valuation for loan purposes and may not reflect the open market value of the house. If you order a lot of optional extras for your new home the full value of these may not be reflected in the value the lender puts on the property.
What is Stamp Duty?
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) is payable on all homes with a purchase price of over £125,000. The amount you will have to pay will be based upon the selling price of your home. Currently the scale charges are as follows:
Nothing on the first £125,000 of the property price
2% on the next £125,000
5% on the next £675,000
10% on the next £575,000
12% on the rest (above £1.5 million)
For example, if you buy a property for £275,000 you'll pay £3,750 of SDLT. This is made up of:
Nothing on the first £125,000
£2,500 on the next £125,000
£1,250 on the remaining £25,000
Use our Stamp Duty calculator to work out exactly how much you'll pay.
If you are a first time buyer in England, you don't pay any Stamp Duty Land Tax up to £300,000 and 5% on the portion from £301,000 to £500,000. A first time buyer is someone who has never owned freehold or leasehold interest in a dwelling before and who is purchasing their only or main residence. Residential property anywhere in the world is counted when determining whether someone is a first-time buyer. Where there are joint purchasers, all purchasers would need to be first time buyers. The charges for first time buyers in England are:
Nothing on the first £300,000 of the property price
5% on £301,000 to £500,000
Standard rates from £501,000 and above
Land and Buildings Transactions Tax (LBTT) was introduced on 1 April 2015 in Scotland, and replaces UK Stamp Duty Land Tax. For residential property transactions, the rate of tax is determined by reference to percentages of the chargeable consideration for the transaction falling within the proposed bands below:
Up to £145,000 = 0%
Above £145,000 to £250,000 = 2%
Above £250,000 to £325,000 = 5%
Above £325,000 to £750,000 = 10%
Over £750,000 = 12%
LBTT is charged at the appropriate rate on the amount of the chargeable consideration within the relevant bands. For example, a house bought for £280,000 is charged at:
0% for the first £145,000, then
2% for the next £105,000
5% for the next £30,000 and
so £3,600 must be paid in LBTT
NB - these figures are set by the Government, and are subject to change.
What is the difference between Leasehold and Freehold?
Land held under a lease for a specified number of years on which a ground rent is paid. Find out more here.
The full ownership of both the property and the land on which it stands.
When does the sale of the house become legally binding?
Your solicitor will arrange for you to sign a binding purchase contract. At this time your agreed deposit will need to be paid. Miller Homes will also sign their copy of the contract and send it to their solicitors.
Once these contracts are exchanged the transaction becomes legally binding.
If you are selling your present home, the timing of the exchange of contracts is finely worked out. It is up to your solicitor to ensure that both sets of contracts - the sale of your existing home and the purchase of your new one - are exchanged simultaneously and a suitable moving day arranged so at no time are you 'homeless'.
Sometimes it is not possible to co-ordinate the sale of your existing property and the completion on your new Miller Home for the same day. If this is the case you may have to consider staying with friends or family or living in rented accomodation until your new Miller Home is ready.
What are Local Authority Search Fees?
This will establish if your new home is likely to be affected by any planning decisions or other proposals.
After Sales FAQs
Can you tell me about the gas supply to my new home?
If you smell gas and suspect a leak:
- Put out all naked flames and extinguish any cigarettes.
- Do not use any electrical switches, the smallest spark could cause an explosion.
- Turn off gas supply at the mains.
- Open doors and windows in an effort to disperse the gas.
- Call the Gas Board on the local emergency number, you will not be charged for their visit.
Can you tell me about the heating in my home?
Your Miller Home will have either:
- A central heating systems with a boiler, thermostatically controlled, supplying radiators and hot water. Most systems will have a selector for both the heating and hot water allowing you to control both in line with the needs of your family.
- Night storage heaters.
If the boiler or controls show any signs of leaks or corrosion have them checked by an expert.
Controls are electrically supplied and if a problem occurs please use an approved electrician to deal with remedial works.
When re-decorating your radiators do not paint over the small valves, these are the bleed valves which allow you to release any air trapped in the radiators.
Can you tell me about the NHBC Buildmark policy?
Your new home will be covered by NHBC Buildmark. It is therefore very important that you familiarise yourself with Buildmark and what it covers. Your Sales Representative will give you a copy of the NHBC's brochure "Buildmark Cover for New and Newly Converted Homes". This provides an explanation of the NHBC and what Buildmark covers.
Pages 4 and 5 of the NHBC's booklet - "Guide to your new home" also provide an overview of Buildmark.
Complete details of Buildmark will be found in the NHBC's Buildmark booklet. Your solicitor will provide this document. Please ensure that your solicitor passes it to you. If you would like to read a specimen Buildmark Cover booklet there is a form you can use in the brochure "Buildmark Cover for New and Newly Converted Homes".
As a Miller Homes customer buying a brand new property you should pay particular attention to the differences between the first two years of cover and the cover from years three to ten.
You must read the NHBC's documentation for a full explanation.
Can you tell me about the water supply and what I should do in the winter?
Most new homes now have water meters situated in the service strip close to the property. The cold water supply enters your home via the mains stopcock and is then stored in the cold water storage tank. Some homes may not have a cold water storage tank dependent on the design of the hot and cold water services, water pressure and heating system. Listed below are useful hints to ensure a trouble free plumbing system in your home:
Winter Rules :
- To avoid frozen pipes try to leave some background heating on all the time.
- Although your pipework is well insulated, if you think the pipes may be frozen do not turn on hot water taps as this will empty the hot water tank.
- If you have to go away during the winter you should drain down the water system, heating system and boiler. If you are unsure of how to carry this out call an approved plumber. Alternatively, put the heating on for an hour or so each day and ask a friend or neighbour to check the home.
- Make sure the stopcock to any outside taps are shut off during frosty weather.
Normal Conditions :
- Always close the main stopcock before beginning work to any part of the plumbing system.
- If the system has been drained down, do not light the boiler or switch on the immersion heater until you are sure the system has been refilled.
- Do not let water overflow from storage tanks or cisterns.
- Take care when fixing down carpets, find out where the pipes run to avoid nailing through them.
- If you are unsure how to carry out plumbing works then call an approved plumber.
Deferring problems, what does this mean?
New homes require time to settle. Some settling issues are covered by our warranty and some are not. Please refer to your NHBC documentation. During the first few months in particular a settling problem can occur more than once. The first time you report such a problem we may ask you to wait a short while before having the remedial work undertaken. It is better to wait until all the settling has occurred then we can do all the remedial work in one go thus minimising any inconvenience to you.
Our systems will not allow us to forget when you have agreed to defer work. They will constantly remind us that work is outstanding on a customer's property. We will also send you a letter to confirm what we have agreed to do and when we are expected to contact you again or to undertake the work.
Fix now or inspect? :
Sometime we cannot be sure of the best course of action until a problem has been thoroughly inspected. For this reason we may arrange for an initial inspection of a defect to be undertaken in your home to ensure that the correct diagnosis is made and that the correct trades are deployed to fix it. Where such a defect is covered by our warranty we will either arrange deployment and completion within our normal procedures or we may ask you to defer. If an inspection is necessary, this may extend the overall time it takes for us to finally complete the job, however, we will do our utmost to meet the stated service criteria.
How can I minimise condensation?
Condensation is a common problem to new homes because of the amount of moisture absorbed in their construction. It is also caused by steam and water vapour turning to water when it touches cold surfaces (i.e. glass and tiles) and condenses. To minimise condensation we suggest the following guidelines:
- Please keep your new home warm and ventilated. This will avoid in extreme cases condensation which could lead to mould growth in restricted areas.
- Close bathroom and kitchen doors while in use and ventilate these rooms by turning on ventilation fans or opening windows a little.
- When drying clothes indoors keep a window open. This applies especially if you are using a tumble dryer that is not vented to the outside.
- Do not let kettles boil longer than necessary.
How do you know if I'm satisfied with my new home?
At Miller Homes we understand that the ultimate judge of our product and service is our customer.
For this reason we post a short questionnaire to every customer around 6-8 weeks after their move in day. This questionnaire will take only a few minutes to complete yet it provides us with a lot of valuable information that is used to further improve our products and processes.
We do indeed take action based upon the feedback received.
We do hope that you will be able to take the time to complete your questionnaire - your feedback really matters.
How long will repairs take?
When you call you may be asked to describe your problems in detail - this will help us to ensure that we provide you with the right level of service. You will also be asked to provide as many contact telephone numbers as possible.
If you report an emergency you should expect the following service:
- A telephone call within 20 minutes if additional information is required from you.
- Someone in your home within four hours to put an end to the emergency situation.
- Contact the next working day to establish if further work is required. Further work will normally be classified as Standard (see below).
If you report a Standard job (a standard job is anything which is NOT an emergency) you should expect the following service:
A telephone call within 24 working hours. (Working hours are Monday to Friday. Therefore if you call at 16.30 hours on Friday you will be contacted by 16.30 on Monday).
- Where the job requires labour only we expect to complete it within 10 working days.
- Where replacement parts are required we expect to complete the job within 20 working days. In rare cases where parts deliveries are held up by our suppliers then we may exceed the 20 days limit, we will contact you if this is the case.
- A letter from us explaining the jobs we have agreed to undertake and when we expect to complete them.
How should I deal with minor faults?
We recommend that if you have any minor problems during the first month of occupation that are not serious you should wait until you receive the courtesy calls from the Customer Service Department before reporting them.
I have a query with my new home, who do I speak to?
The role of the Miller Homes Customer Service Department is to attend to and solve any problems or warranty issues you may have with your new home. So, after moving into your new home, please direct your questions to this department rather than to the Sales Representative or Site Manager on site. The Customer Service Department has systems and procedures in place to ensure that all problems or questions can be dealt with as quickly as possible.
The hours of operation of the Customer Service Department are 9.00am to 4.30pm Mon-Fri.
I would like to be economical with the heating in my home, any tips?
Your Miller home has been constructed with fuel economy in mind and is already very well insulated, but by following the guidelines below you should be able to conserve energy.
It is not normally necessary to heat a room to a temperature higher than 17C (65F) unless it is extremely cold. However, small children and elderly people need more warmth. 20C (70F) is the recommended temperature for a small child's room
Your heating system has been fitted with a timing device so use this to its optimum effect. Most homes do not need to be heated throughout the night.
Gas boilers will heat water more cheaply than an immersion heater used at peak times.
The hot water tank in your new home is well insulated so you will not need to heat water constantly.
If I have a query, what should I do?
We build our homes with care and we hope that nothing will go wrong. However it's good to know that Miller Homes has a comprehensive service network on stand-by should anything go wrong.
No need to write in :
Your NHBC Buildmark cover requests that all complaints should be put in writing to the builder. With Miller Homes you do not need to do this, just pick up the phone and let our sophisticated customer service systems do the rest.
For our joint peace of mind after your call we will write to you with details of every problem that you tell us about. If you do not agree with the contents of this letter or you do not receive anything within three working days then please call customer service right away. If we hear nothing we will always assume that our letter to you is an accurate description of the problems reported.
Sometimes it's better to wait :
Having remedial work carried out on a new home can be different to other types of remedial work that you may have experienced. Sometimes it is better NOT to have the problems fixed straight away.
Is there anything I can do to speed up the repairs?
Please help us to meet our service standards by noting the following:
- We can only work in your home if we are allowed access to it.
- If an appointment has been made to visit your home and you find that you cannot keep to the date or time please call the customer service department immediately.
Is there insulation in the loft?
Your loft is insulated to help keep your home warm. Please adhere to the following:
- Do not obstruct the ventilation provided as this may cause condensation.
- Do not store anything in the loft that can be damaged by the cold conditions.
- Do not leave loft access open in cold spells this will allow heat loss to your home and condensation to form.
- Do not store heavy objects in the loft as it is not designed to carry such loads. If you have to carry out any work in the loft please ensure that you walk on the joist timbers.
What do I do if there is an emergency in my new home?
In the event of an emergency in your new home, all problems should be reported to the Miller Homes Customer Service Department NOT to your site manager or sales representative.
If you have an emergency out of normal office hours, or on weekends, bank holidays and over the Christmas period please call the emergency number 01207 503 293.
Is it an emergency?
The following situations count as emergencies:
- Complete failure of the heating or hot water systems*
- A water leak that can't be stopped
- Complete failure of the electrics*
- Flooding caused by blocked drain threatening to enter the home
- Lock failure on an external door or ground floor window causing a loss of security
- Failure of the alarm system
- Gas leak. Where you suspect there is a gas leak you should contact your National Gas Emergency Service
- Roof leaks. If this is caused by a serious storm, you should call your buildings insurance company in the first instance. Please note though, that health and safety regulations prevent work from being done on the roof during bad weather
*Before reporting these emergencies, please make sure they're not caused by a general supply failure in your area
What maintenance is required to the outside of my home?
Roofs and gutters:
If you should need to carry out any works on the roof of your home you should always use a roof ladder to protect the tiles or slates, and for your own safety.
Gutters and any gullies should be regularly checked and if necessary cleaned of leaves and other debris. Take care not to lean ladders against plastic guttering.
When using ladders make sure the foot is on level ground and an adult is holding the base.
Damp Proof Courses and Air Bricks:
Please ensure that no garden material or soil covers the damp proof course and airbricks. Soil and any paving or patio areas should be kept 150mm (6 inches) below the damp proof course.
What should I do if there is a fault with an appliance?
Your new home may have built-in appliances provided and these will have a manufacturers guarantee.
Should you have any problems with your appliances contact the manufacturers.
When decorating my new home, what do I need to know?
New woodwork absorbs a lot of paint or stain and the initial decoration may not give as good a finish as future re-decorations.
The exterior of the home should be regularly re-painted using a good quality paint or stain.
Emulsion paints are normally used on interior walls. Further coats of emulsion and oil-based paints or wallpaper can be used for later re-decorations after a drying out period (normally 9 to 12 months).
When re-decorating never paint on wet wood. External paintwork is best done in the summer or early autumn. Interior cracks on walls and woodwork can be made good with filler.
When re-decorating artex ceilings or other similar plastic compound finishes, these should never be sanded or washed with water as this could spoil the texture. Lightly brush these surfaces before applying one or two coats of emulsion.
When you require fixings to walls (i.e. curtains, pictures etc) and you are not certain how your walls are constructed, please call the Customer Service Department.
We suggest you buy a pipe/cable locator before fixing items to walls.
Fixing to a dry-lined wall is done in much the same way as fixing to a solid wall, but the fixing device must cross the small cavity behind the plasterboard and penetrate well into the solid wall behind. Suitable propriety fixings are available from most D.I.Y. stores.
With other partitions where no solid masonry walls are available you must use one of the wide range of fixtures which are on sale at most D.I.Y. stores. For medium weights use a toggle bolt fixing.
Ceilings are of a similar construction. If possible locate the joists and fix to them, if not use toggle bolts. Again if in doubt ask at your local D.I.Y. store.
When working in my new garden, what do I need to know?
Miller Homes use their own landscape architects to design development landscaping acceptable to the Local Authority and to ensure the continued beauty of the environment.
Rear gardens are a very personal thing like decorating and are left so that you may design as you choose.
Turfing and planting may be provided on the front garden to enhance the development.
We include a few points to bear in mind when planning your new garden:
- Trees and hedges take moisture out of the soil. If this is clay then new planting may cause it to shrink, while removing existing trees and hedges may make it swell. Excessive shrinkage or swelling could damage foundations, much depends on the type and size if the trees and type of clay. Obtain advice from an expert before planting new trees.
- Remember that recently planted trees and shrubs may need to be watered copiously during their early months if they are to get away to a good start.
- Your new lawn should be watered regularly during dry spells. When established it will need constant attention (i.e. feeding, weeding, cutting and raking).
- The drainage in gardens can take a while to settle. Don't worry if there seems to be some surface water after the rain. With time, your garden's drainage will improve.
Will Miller Homes keep in contact with me?
Within the first week following your legal completion date you should expect a call from the Customer Service Department who will introduce themselves formally to you. They will also ask you if you have any problems or issues you need to have addressed.
You will also receive a call around one month after your legal completion and again you will be asked if you have any problems or issues you need to have addressed.
House Building Process FAQs
Can I visit my new home during construction?
We know that you will want to visit your new home during construction and we will do all we can to allow you reasonable access.
A new home building site is exciting, but it can also be dangerous. Your safety is of prime importance to us. Therefore, we must require that you contact the Sales Representative before visiting the construction area. We reserve the right to require that you wear a hard hat and that a member of our staff accompany you during your visit. We also reserve the right to refuse your request to enter the building site if there are any safety concerns.
Please observe common-sense safety procedures at all times when visiting:
- Keep older children within view. Due to safety regulations, no children under 16 are allowed on site.
- Do not walk backwards even one step. Look in the direction you are moving at all times.
- Watch out for boards, power cables, tools, nails or other building materials that might cause an injury or accident.
- Do not enter any level of a home that is not equipped with stairs and rails.
- Stay a minimum of two metres from all excavations.
- Give large, noisy building machinery or delivery vehicles plenty of room. Assume that the driver can neither see nor hear you.
Visiting your new home during the 14 days prior to legal completion:
During the final 14 days prior to your legal completion your new home will be inspected and tested on at least three occasions.
From this 14-day mark we are especially strict about what goes on in your new home. Our aim is to deliver a clean and complete home to you on legal completion day. This means that your home will have restricted access. Only finishing trades and customers are allowed inside.
Should you visit your new home during this period we ask you to note the following:
- Please do not enter your home without the prior permission of the sales representative.
- Trades may still be working in your home and surfaces may not be dry or finished.
- Please do not place items on surfaces that might be marked.
- Please keep children, other family members and pets under your control. New surfaces and finishes can be easily marked.
- You may see some cards and stickers on the walls, doors, windows and fitted furniture. These form part of our extensive quality control process please do not remove them.
- Smoking, eating or drinking in the home is not permitted.
How long will the bricks last on my property before they crumble?
We use high quality materials to build our properties. The expected lifespan of different materials and components will vary depending upon the location, usage, exposure and degree of maintenance they receive. Bricks are made from naturally occurring raw materials and should last for many years providing they are correctly maintained. Remember all our new homes are covered by a ten year NHBC warranty.
What level of sound insulation and construction will there be in a semi detached property?
All properties meet the relevant Building Regulation approval and NHBC standards. Construction and insulation varies due to the different styles of properties. Please contact the on-site sales representative who could discuss this further with you or arrange an appointment with the site manager.