The process is slightly different from buying a second hand home as you do not need to wait for the seller to find another house to buy. Once you have decided upon a property, you will usually pay a reservation deposit to the developer. This secures the property for a fixed period to give you time to arrange mortgage finance (if needed) and for your conveyancer to carry out the legal work required before ‘exchanging contracts’ (ie when the agreement becomes legally binding). Developers cannot be expected to reserve a property indefinitely so you may run the risk of losing the reservation deposit if contracts are not exchanged within the reservation period. The contract will state the date on which the property will become yours: this might be a fixed date or if the property is not yet finished, on being given a number of days’ notice.