Many people think a relatively easy option is to buy a new-build house as they expect to be able to move in on a set date and have no work to carry out to make it liveable.

This, in theory, means they should be able to calculate a pretty precise budget as they will not be expecting to cope with the cost of broken boilers and other unforeseen problems. Unfortunately this is not always the case, so it is vital to do thorough research before committing yourself to what, you hope, will be the home of your dreams.

One reader, who would rather not be named as he is still in negotiation with his house builder, knows only too well the potential pitfalls of a purchasing a brand new property.

He and his family accepted the keys of their home, which they had bought off-plan, in summer 2004, but within days he felt it necessary to commission a defect report by a professional snagging company which uncovered 140 defects.

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