Diary of a First-Time Homeowner (New-Build)

newbuild

I’ve wanted to write something about the experience – some of the quirks, joys and problems – first-time homebuyers might face for a while now, but I was acutely aware that it would vary enormously depending on whether the house was a new build or not.

With that in mind, this is the first part of a two-part article. It’s been quite a while since I bought my first home but, fortunately, I remember the experience of moving into a new build well enough to be able to write about it. At least I hope I do…

Before The Move

The best thing about moving into a new house is that there’s less of an element of surprise – provided the mortgage approval and everything else goes to plan, there’s no onward chain or existing residents to scupper things.

In fact, if you manage to find a decent solicitor, mortgage broker/provider etc. the whole process can be very… I’m reluctant to say easy, at the risk of setting expectations too low, so let’s just say smooth.

It’s an unbeatable feeling when you get the keys, and one of the nice aspects of buying a new build is that it feels like a blank canvas to put your mark on. Of course, the flip side of that is that for the first several months you’re absolutely terrified of making marks on the walls or spilling anything.

After The Move

As the first night drew in, I decided to put the heating on to warm the place up. Except, about an hour after putting the boiler on, I noticed the radiators were still as cold as ice. (And willing to sacrifice.)

After a VERY cold night I called the repairman over from the site and they sorted everything out. It turns out that a valve hadn’t been opened during the boiler’s installation.

I started that day with a much needed hot shower… only to find that the base had leaked all over the floor. Fortunately the same repairman – who soon got to know me by name – was able to sort things out by resealing the shower tray.

Since Then

From the above it might sound like I had a bad experience when moving in, but that’s actually not true. Minor issues like those above aside, the place seems to have been finished pretty well; months later and I haven’t encountered too many other problems.

The experience did get me thinking, though, about a big disadvantage of new builds: with no previous residents to have “worn the place in”, for lack of a better analogy, it’s up to you to find all the mistakes for yourself. For example, I recently read a horror story about a new build that hadn’t had any of the insulation put in that it was supposed to have.

True, there’s no guarantee that people trying to sell you their house will disclose such faults of an older property, but you at least know that it can be lived in. Of course sometimes, as we’ll find out in the second part of this post, sometimes it’s been lived in just a little too hard…

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