We caught up with Jackie about her experience of buying, moving and living in a brand-new Genesis Home at Sanders Brow in Armathwaite…
Why a new build/Genesis Homes?
I had spent 37 years in a farmhouse heated by a Rayburn and an open fire. Throughout the years I had chopped a sufficiency of kindling and logs; I never quite summed up the courage to add up what the heating cost. One of the main attractions of a new build was that it would be insulated and energy-efficient in a way my charming old house wasn’t. I liked the small-scale nature of this development; it’s not a sprawling characterless estate – the houses are a mix of detached, semis, bungalows and they alter subtly from one another with different coloured doors, some frontages have rendering, others brick. I like that. Layout and style have been thoughtfully addressed.
I looked at several houses prior to deciding on this new build. I was prescriptive about living in Armathwaite – it was the only place I wanted to be, so I thought I would have to compromise on something… but I haven’t. I have the most epic view across to the Pennines, which none of the other houses I viewed offered. Traditional villages were built, in the past, in sheltered places which means there is rarely much of a view but being up on the hill means that that is not a factor. The house is filled with light and because of the expansive views, there is a tremendous feeling of space. It is also incredibly quiet because there is no through traffic.
As far as Genesis Homes is concerned, I went to look at a Gelt (the style of mine, 3 bed semi) in real life on another development and I liked it immediately. There is quite a bit of storage space for a new house and the finish throughout is superb – it feels built up to a standard not down to a price – the doors are solid, the handles and so on substantial and elegant – and I didn’t go for the premium range, by the way! The bathrooms have tiled floors, not lino; similarly, the kitchen flooring is a quality product.
I didn’t look at second-hand modern houses but more traditional properties. I think that apart from quality, I wanted an easily managed house.
What attracted you to buy new?
Partly, the opportunity to put my stamp on the house – the range of kitchens to choose from (Symphony) was excellent. Again, mine came from the regular collection not the premium one and I love it – there was the chance to customise in places so I went for one of those carousel things to make maximum use of the corner cupboard and that’s been a good decision. All the appliances are high-end (Bosch, Siemens) built in and hidden, of course, and again, there was a bit of choice. Some daft things – everything has been thought about and installed, right down to the doorbell… you really do only have to move in.
I thought initially that I would have preferred a kitchen/diner but now I am settled, I like the layout as it is – mostly because of the views! I sit with my back to the window when I have guests, so that they benefit from what I enjoy all the time!
How was the buying process?
The Early Bird scheme is a great idea – it gave me reassurance that I had my name on the house! The rest of it was all pretty straightforward as I had gone into a beautiful rented property after selling, so I wasn’t doing that mad thing of doing everything on one day! And I left the rest to my solicitor, really. It was useful to be able to go across and meet Jane (sales executive), watch the house progress and eventually do a bit of measuring prior to making the move.
What are the best things about your new home?
That view of the Pennines! Awesome… And the revelation that by flicking a little dial on the wall everything becomes toasty in minutes! That said, the house never feels cold anyway – I was away for nearly a month in Australia and left the heat on the absolute minimum but it was plenty warm enough on my return. As I turn in to the close, I see my house straight ahead and just think “ah, home!” and really, I felt instantly at home here. Love it!
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying a new build?
Take your time selecting what you want – look at others, traditional, newish but second hand and then weigh up whether you want to take on a project or just move in to somewhere that you can instantly put your own mark on, without spending time ripping stuff out first! Consider efficiency, environmental impact, space – the greatest luxury – and then ask yourself “can I see myself living there?” To me, the scale and density of the development was very important too – these houses aren’t squashed in so that you can hear your neighbours changing their minds… you do feel that you have a nice bit of privacy and space.
Obviously, there have been some snagging issues but they have all been, or are being, sorted. Some issues arise simply as a consequence of the property being occupied and drying out but I have been very happy with the way anything has been resolved. I am hugely impressed by the way the site has been kept so tidy – even when it was a proper building site, it was always neat and clean at the end of the working day and I have to say, the lads on site have been so friendly and helpful – one even wanted to put my bin out!