I can’t quite believe that I’m writing this. I never thought in a million years that we’d be doing this so early on in the year but… we’re buying a house!
This is something that Ollie and I have been thinking about for months now. Ever since he moved in with me last year, we’ve been saving our socks off to get out of rented accommodation. I’ve been renting for nearly two years now and I hate thinking about how my money is just going straight into someone else’s pockets. Don’t get me wrong; renting does have its pros e.g. maintenance issues are sorted out by the estate agents. However, I don’t like how I can’t re-decorate and not park outside my flat (literally, it’s a mad dash for a parking space on the streets around us at 5:30pm when everyone gets home from work). Renting in the middle of a city is also incredibly expensive to the point where paying a mortgage is actually considerably cheaper.
We were keen to buy a new build as we wanted to use the government’s Help to Buy scheme and we both have Help to Buy ISAs. I also love knowing that no one would have been in the house before us. It’s all fresh and new and you can work with the house builder to customise it how you wish. I love living in Exeter so we began looking at new build developments close to where we live now but the houses were incredibly expensive. It started to annoy me how house builders were asking for considerably more for a house type when you could get exactly the same house type at another one of their sites that was outside of the city. This just goes to show you how much location influences house prices!
So we started looking at developments close to Newton Abbot, far enough away from Exeter for the house prices to drop but not so far that you can’t visit Exeter easily. We were big fans of Redrow Homes – we loved their house types and their developments. However, after visiting one of their sites, we were quite disappointed. Their customer service was definitely not up to scratch. We felt the lady turned her nose up at us as soon as we walked through the door and she saw a young couple who were first time buyers! She wasn’t helpful at all and all their homes had massive waiting lists, which she was quick to tell us.
Moving on, we looked at a Taylor Wimpey development that was just up the road from the Redrow site. Hele Park looked stylish, modern and not too crammed in. Walking around the site, we were impressed with how peaceful it was and how spacious the houses looked. Sales Executives Julie and Jackie were so friendly and we had a completely different experience with them than we did with the Redrow lady. They couldn’t do enough for us, gave us plenty of advice and allowed us to look around the show homes at our leisure.
We’d completely fallen in love with a three-bedroom townhouse, the Ashton, and after thinking about it for 48 hours and ensuring that it was within our budget and we could afford the mortgage, we went ahead and reserved! We loved the spacious hallway and were impressed with the size of the bedrooms. I also love how the house is spread over three floors – we used to live in a townhouse when I was younger so it takes me back to my childhood! Take a look at this video of an Ashton house type which will give you a flavour of our new home 🙂 We don’t have a conservatory though, we’re not quite there yet 😉
Ollie and I are so excited for this next chapter of our lives and I want to share every minute with you here on the blog. We reserved back in February but I’m only just starting to write about this now as I wanted us to get a little further through the process in case anything fell through. So far, we’ve had a meeting with our financial advisor, had our reservation meeting, appointed a solicitor, met our site manager and we are just beginning to choose our options. Our house should be ready to move into by October if everything goes to plan.
I’m going to do a series of blogs that will give you an insight into the process of buying a new build from start to finish. I hope these will be useful for other first time buyers! I’ve been reading plenty of blogs to try and familiarise myself with the process. If there is anything you’d like to know or anything you would like me to write about, please leave me a message in the comments below!