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Why we're avoiding new in our house hunt

Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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One of the disadvantages of being a journalist is you often only see the worst side of things rather than the best.

A large part of our job is to investigate things which have gone wrong and we need scepticism to see through the marketing puff.

Take new homes for example.

My wife and I are looking to move house at the moment but a couple of stories I have written in the last month have put me off buying a new-build for good.

Basing my decision on a couple of news stories isn’t particularly rational of course.

My parents-in-law and brother-in-law live in beautiful new houses.

Thousands of new homes pop up every year without any issue and the chances of me having a problem with the one I get are slim. I also understand why people like the convenience of a newly-built place and we clearly need more affordable homes to be built.

I’m just not going to buy one myself.

It goes back to only seeing things when they go wrong.

I wrote an article last month on problems home owners are having with their new homes on the Queen’s Hills estate in Costessey.

They have already had to move out of the Taylor Wimpey homes once so repairs can be made and they are going to have to move out again. The build problems have affected a large part of the street.

They include a lack of insulation, doors needing replacing, badly-fitted windows and the staircase failing building regulations.

You could argue Queen’s Hills is an isolated example. It has had its unique set of problems which have been well-covered in this newspaper for years.

Then yesterday I reported on a development in Stoke Holy Cross where homes had been built before conditions of the planning application were discharged.

Work was not meant to begin until conditions for flooding, sewage disposal and roads had been agreed with the council, but the homes went up anyway.

The council’s limp response was to say it was “disappointing”.

As the planning authority the council should be more than disappointed. It is embarrassing.

I haven’t looked yet at how widespread this is but the fact the council has called a meeting with all major developers about it, suggests it is not the only case.

So we’re sticking with old houses in our hunt. They may need more work, but they may also have fewer nasty surprises.

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