No Regrets

After 9 months living in my home, I can safely say that I am absolutely delighted with the house and have absolutely no regrets about buying a new house.

My only real problem is the lack of money to finish furnishing my home. Starting almost from scratch was an expensive business.

I have only had minor faults with the home and these were fixed very quickly. The worst issue was a problem with the hot water system, although I never went without heating and the problem was fixed painlessly.

All I can say is “Well done Taylor Wimpey”

Further House News

It’s hard to believe that I have been in this house for 6 months now. Other than a dining table, I now have most of what I need and I hope to buy the table, that I have had my eye on for a while, very soon.

The next step is to start work on the garden before it becomes overgrown with weeds. I have eschewed the idea of a lawn and am thinking along the lines of shrubs around an area of decking. I plan to take some time off work soon and that may give me an opportunity to at least add some colour to the garden, though I think the decking will have to wait – maybe even until next year.

What I assume will be February Courtyard opposite is taking shape quickly and hopefully after that, I’ll still have a year with unbroken views of the river before they start work on the riverside phase.

House Update

It’s been a few months since the last posting on this website and it’s been a busy few months that’s for sure.

The purchase of the house went ahead as planned on 16th October, and after a busy and expensive few weeks is now feeling like home. Most of the furniture is bought, with really only a dining table and chairs the main outstanding purchases. Curtains, blinds and other soft furnishings are the other outstanding things to sort out – with John Lewis coming to fit those in early Feb (just in time, as it turns out because the houses across from me start to be occupied in February).

The house stood up to the test of the recent cold snap well, despite a minor problem with the heating that has now been sorted. Despite all the horror stories you hear about new houses, I have actually been very impressed (so far) with the finish quality and the lack of snags.


Finding a sofa that I liked and which fitted the roomspace properly was quite tricky. And expensive.

My original thoughts were to have two 2-seater sofas, however after moving into the house, it became clear that the shape, layout and aspect of the sitting room wasn’t going to accommodate that arrangement very well.

My friend Craig was (mostly!) a great help in providing a second opinion and after many trips to Next, M&S, Barker and Stonehouse (not to mention the cheap and cheerful places like DFS), I/we eventually found a corner unit that was stylish, beautifully comfortable and expensive and found a fabric that was outwardly quite plain and understated but on closer inspection, quite funky (just like me!)

Barker and Stonehouse in Newcastle is a great furniture store with very good, attentive and professional service. The manufacturer of the sofa also came up trumps – I was told to expect delivery before Christmas (and so expected early/mid Dec). I actually took delivery well before the end of November, only a few weeks after ordering, and it was delivered the day after the store called.

Why a new house?

The house I am currently buying is not my first. I owned a house in the northern outskirts of Birmingham from 1998 until 2005. This was an early-1900s 2 bedroom terraced house in the suburb of Erdington.

Although I had a survey undertaken before buying this house, it transpired that there were a few things wrong that needed several thousand pounds to fix. I learned a lot about owning an old house and about myself during that time.

With an old house you get:

  • Character and space
  • Imposition of previous’ owners tastes
  • Small jobs that are anything but (removing wallpaper revealing rotten plaster etc)
  • Poor energy efficency
  • Not good for someone who is slow to get on with and finish things.

With a new house you get:

  • Smaller spaces or large space at a high premium
  • Poor build quality
  • Blank canvas to work with
  • Ability to move into a house ready configured to your needs and tastes
  • Excellent energy efficiency

Add to that the fact that I spent 6 months selling my old house because of a constantly breaking chain in what was then a buoyant market.

I decided that buying a new house was the best course of action for a stress-free life!

Amtico Flooring

My friend Craig told me about the wonders of Amtico flooring. At a basic level, it is fully customisable vinyl-type flooring. The quality is such that it can look and feel like stone, wood, leather or any other material.

I am intending to use Amtico for my kitchen/dining area and the hallway in two very different shades.

Even if you have never heard of it before, you are likely to have seen it in shops or restaurants.

Choosing my Options

One of the key benefits of buying a new house is the ability to choose your own optional upgrades to the standard house specification provided by the developer.

As a result of cost-cutting by the developer, the options process is dealt with by the site sales assistant rather than at an options centre. In my case, I think this led to me not knowing about all the options I could get, although in retrospect I should have gone with a number of questions and aims to ensure I got what I needed. I did try to get hold of the standard specification for the house which would have been helpful, but this did not seem to be possible with George Wimpey.

I was also quite surprised by the limited options available and the ability to which I could specify what I wanted and not just go with what was easy for the developer. One of the main, surprising, limitations was with carpets. A limited range was available and the whole house had to be carpeted in the same colour! These carpets themselves, even the higher cost carpets, were low in wool content and I doub t the underlay would have been much better.The decision was therefore made to undertake sourcing floor coverings myself.

Progress with new house

Since last posting about the new house I have bought, significant progress has been made. The house is now effectively watertight and the interior is being fitted out – I visited last week and the kitchen was being fitted. The builder’s options, such as tiling, carpets etc have turned out to be qute expensive and I am therefore sorting out flooring myself. This will allow me to save money while also getting exactly the flooring I want. As the house is so advanced, I expect to be in posession during early October and probably move in later that month. ë_

I’m buying a house!

Now that I am certain that I want to stay in Newcastle, I have finally bought a house. In fact the house is a new-build and is expected to be ready in October or November.ë_ I have actually only reserved the place for ë£99, but contract exchange should take place in the next few days. It’s a 3 bed end of terrace house, living room with separate diner/kitchen.

The development I’m moving to is called South Staiths and is located on the south bank of the River Tyne, between Gateshead and the MetroCentre. It will be about a 30 minute walk to Newcastle city centre or a 10 minute cycle ride.

I hope to provide updates on progress over the next few months.