As a young person buying your first home, there is nothing more exciting than the prospect of buying a newly built house that has never been lived in. The carpets are brand new. The walls are freshly painted. The lawn is crisp and green. The kitchen and bathroom are new. Everything is ready for you to move in and there are no worries of being forced in to redecorating as you have bought yourself a blank canvas to do with as you please. Bliss.
In January 2015, my boyfriend and I moved in to our new build property. As it was our first house buy we were able to take advantage of the government’s Help To Buy scheme. I won’t give the name of the company which we bought from. I’ll refer to them as Bob. That’s the only way to be fair to Persimmon Homes…
The first sales guy for Bob we met in April 2014 was lovely. He was very friendly and informative about what we needed to do. He was a true asset to the Bob team. We had no hesitations about buying a house which had not even been built, we were confident that our house would be ready by September. Six months to wait which gave us plenty of time to keep on saving money to furnish the new house. Further down the line, September became October. October became November. Eventually, on 22nd December 2014, we got the keys.
On the day we picked up the keys we were to be met by the site manager and the sales guy. By now, the sales guy had changed to a younger, more arrogant, little man. This didn’t really matter as we were buying the house and not his snooty attitude. When we walked in to the house we were met with the lovely smell of new carpet, paint …and an annoying beeping sound. Beep…. Beep…. Beep…. This was coming from the downstairs smoke alarm. Why would they put an old battery in to a new smoke alarm? The electrics were only connected the week before. Beep…. Beep…. Beep…. And more importantly, why wasn’t this new sales guy embarrassed by this obvious cock up? Beep…. Beep…. Beep…. Why wasn’t he rushing to get a new battery? Oh yes, he needed to rush off quickly to get to Leeds for his Christmas shopping. How selfish of me for wanting the biggest investment of my life to be perfect. Beep…. Beep…. Beep…. We then had to buy a new battery ourselves however it was still beeping. What was wrong with this thing? In the end we were forced to ring the Bob head office and have an electrician come to investigate. It turned out that the smoke alarm was faulty and needed replacing. Nice work Bob. Also, hats off to the New Build inspectors who supposedly checked to make sure the house was ready for us. They must have been hard of hearing to miss the smoke alarm by the front door. Or maybe they also had Christmas Shopping to do so had to rush off too…
There were many, many, many, many more issues to follow after this; lumpy floor in the kitchen and living room, stains on the kitchen/living room ceiling where something had leaked from the bathroom, kitchen units which had been sawn in to yet still used, French doors to the garden which wouldn’t shut properly, windows that spontaneously cracked on their own, and a bath which leaked on to another part of the living room ceiling (just to name a few). Regarding the leaky bath, this should have been easy to sort out. I reported this to the Bob head office and they would send out a plumber. When he came, he spent a few minutes under the bath and reported back to us that the leak will stop. Super, thank you plumber Bob. The next time we showered we saw that it was still leaking! What the chuff? Eventually my boyfriend (who has no plumbing experience whatsoever) managed to locate where the leak was coming from (which was not under the bath) and solved it all on his own. We have since employed our own plumber for any other issues as clearly plumber Bob doesn’t know what he is doing.
A ‘luxury’ of buying a new home is it comes fully carpeted. Brand new carpets throughout the whole house. We could choose the colour, any colour we wanted, they were spoiling us now. What we weren’t expecting was for Bob to buy the cheapest carpet on the market (confirmed by the site manager) and for this cheap carpet to by fitted by the muppets. This was the only way to explain why it was so poorly cut and fitted. We have two cats and even they were disgusted at the state it had been left with all the loose ends hanging off. We had to go around the house with scissors to cut around the edges to tidy it up.
While I have complaints about the house, I have no complaints about the neighbours. Everyone is very friendly and nice and we have a community Facebook group just for us so we can get to know each other. It is a great way to discover who everyone is, it helped us to develop a Neighbourhood Watch and in the beginning it was a way to share our Bob horror stories. From bombsite bathrooms, drains which were at the wrong angle, lazily installed extractor fans and broken promises, it wasn’t just us who had been having some drama.
Would I recommend buying a new home? No. Wait until it has been lived in for a few years. If you’re the first people to live there, and you work full time, you will waste a lot of annual leave for days to be at home for their contractors to come out and fix any issues which won’t be fixed straight away so it will be another day at home. Make sure you research the company beforehand and try to speak to people who are already living on the site. Listen to what they have to say before you make any decisions. This could be the biggest investment of your life, be careful.