In this instalment, I’ll be sharing our experience with new build developer Taylor Wimpey.
So, where were we?
The last time you heard from me, we had just accepted the offer on our house and the same day found out we were rejected for the house we were in love with. We were crushed. But little did we know that just a few days later there would be a major turning point in our house hunting journey.
But before I tell you about that, I wanted to provide some background for our experience with new builds over the last 18 months.
A Bit of Background
I have to admit, I’d never been wholly taken by new builds, but truthfully, I hadn’t ever really given them much thought. But after we visited our family at the back end of 2020 who live in one, it got me thinking. Would we ever be able to have a house like that?
I asked James whether he had ever considered a new build, and he looked at me and said how funny it was, he’d been thinking about the exact same thing since we visited. Thus was the start of our consideration and exploration of new build homes.
The World of New Build Developments
We began searching for developers around the areas we wanted to live in, drove to a few different developments, and began enquiring about the various different processes for each. Some of the developments were half or mainly complete, whilst work on others hadn’t even begun and would take years for houses to become available. We liked the location of some, and not of others, and we liked the house styles on some, and not on others. We used to think a new build was a new build, but we realized that the world of new builds is pretty varied.
We found a Taylor Wimpey development that we liked near where we currently live. Houses were waaaaaay off being finished, but we figured it wouldn’t hurt to enquire. And then came the news that we couldn’t proceed with a mortgage anyway due to my newly self-employed status, so we stopped our research and didn’t give it another thought. That was, until around July 2021 when our circumstances changed and we contemplated being able to move in 2022.
We went back to the Taylor Wimpey development we liked and by this point, building had commenced and a lot of progress had already been made. We enquired about the type of property we were after (a 4-bed ideally because we didn’t want to move again in a few years; we were buying a house for at least another 10 years) and they told us they had several plots on the site. They had an Easymover scheme for people like us who had houses to sell, and we were excited by the prospect of being able to move there in the next year or two.
The only catch was that the 4-beds are competitive and highly sought after. On top of that, Taylor Wimpey operate on a first-come-first-served basis, meaning that we couldn’t put our name down on a waiting list even though we had already chosen the exact house and plot we wanted. We would need to be the first people to call up when the house is released and be in a position to pay a 10% deposit and proceed with the purchase immediately.
Sounds straightforward enough, doesn’t it?
No it doesn’t! Do you have any idea the chances of being a) on the website the exact second the house we want is released and b) able to proceed immediately when we have a house to sell?!
No? I’ll tell you. The chances are pretty fucking slim.
But naively, we figured that we could contend with it and we would make it our entire focus to get the house of our dreams. People say that when you want something bad enough, you make it happen. By this point, we wanted it bad, so we figured we could make it happen.
Did We Actually Believe we Had a Chance with Taylor Wimpey?
Call us dreamers, but yes, dear reader, yes we did.
We told our parents of our plans, we made notes of the houses and plots we wanted in preference order, we visited the all the show homes around the North West for the houses that would be on the development, and we even started sussing out the local pubs around the development (priorities!). We continued to call the sales office on a weekly basis just to check for any further updates, and we were glued to the website at this point, constantly refreshing. We were nervous, but excited.
We were told that when houses are released on this site, it is usually a Monday, Thursday, or Friday and that we should keep checking the website for updates. We rang so often that the sales guy began to recognize us. Every time we called, he would say that he didn’t know what type or plot was coming, but that he suspected there would be one soon.
And then the moment came. A house came up.
It was a Saturday morning, and technically houses weren’t supposed to be released that day so even though I was checking all day every day at this point, I was caught off guard. I just happened to be refreshing the website and one had been added since the last time I refreshed 5 minutes before, so I ran downstairs in a frenzy screaming to James that we had to call them. He didn’t have a clue what I was trying to say because I couldn’t get my words out quick enough, and then, we both got a text message sent to their list of enquirers notifying us of the house release. I was already on the phone leaving a frenzied message and asking the sales guy to call me back as soon as possible because we wanted the house when we got the text.
He called me back about 10 minutes later, advising me that the house had gone.
Apparently, it went within 2 minutes of it coming online. Somebody had got in there sooner, even though it was only released 5 minutes before I rang, and they had paid the deposit and everything by the time he called me back. Of course, they were a first-time buyer, and able to proceed easily and effortlessly.
When I reminded him that we were under the impression we could move with their Easymover scheme, everything we had been told up to this point suddenly seemed to change, and he advised that first-time buyers would always be preferable because of their position to proceed so quickly.
Well that was fucking news to us!
So reeling from this disappointment, we began to contemplate our options. We were up against god knows how many people who wanted these homes, many of whom would be first-time buyers. Would we put our house on the market having zero clue when a house might come up with Taylor Wimpey just so we could get it sold and hope to be in a position to proceed? Would we move into rented accommodation or in with our families for however long it might be until a house came up?
We really began to take a cold, hard look at whether we realistically had a fighting chance with a Taylor Wimpey new build.
To be continued…