New Houses - any good?

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SWMBO has been dragging me around showhomes again. I've tried all the usual objections to avoid having to stump up for a new house ('too expensive', 'tiny plot of land', etc) and tried the 'look how badly made they are' tactic.
I was a little surprised to see how badly finished some of the showhomes were (considering they are supposted to be 'show' homes - the name gives it a away, really) and it got me to wondering, just how well made are new houses?
Are they designed to last 12 years then crumble into dust? Or are they better made than a 20 year old house due to improved materials/techniques?
spog
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On Tue, 15 Jul 2003 10:00:31 +0100, "Jonathan@Home"

That's why you do a snagging list with the site foreman shortly after or shortly before moving in. Those shortcomings should be fixed at no cost to the owner.
There's nothing like a good site manager for new homes. They can save you an awful lot of trouble because they catch the problems as the house is going up, rather than later when it costs more to put right.
Having lived on a new development I've seen different site foremen come and go over a period of a couple of years. The really grumpy bad dudes seem to be the best because they don't give a damn about having a confrontation with a workman to get things done. At the other end of the spectrum is the site foreman who you would consider to be a decent son-in-law. Usually completely hopeless because they won't say boo to a goose (and usually the site developer ensures they have a shorter than average career).
The poor quality of a new home is invariably linked to the quality of the site manager in my experience.
Andrew
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Smaller rooms, studding walls and smaller plot. The only advantage a new house is likely to have is better insulation.
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writes:

Most new houses have a utility room.
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<snip>

So, whereas a new house is likely to be small, of mediocre build quality, be exactly like 100s of other houses in the locality, have a garage that is exactly 10cm wider and longer than a Ford Mondeo, be total devoid of any character, and have a garden so small as to be unsuitable for swinging a mouse (much less a cat) .... it will be energy efficient, so that's OK then :-)
Given that this is a D-I-Y newsgroup, isn't part of the fun that you *can* rip out and change everything in an older house, whereas the new build gives you a choice of 3 different bathroom suites and 5 different colours of kitchen door?
Julian
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wrote:

Not so. many are quite big these days and better laid out in design. Most modern homes are having study rooms and en-suite showers and bathrooms as standard.

Not so. Also depends on the builder, etc. Like comparing a Lada with a RR in new cars.

Not so. The new builds are a mixture of differing house style. Look at Camborne in Cambridgeshire, where no two houses are the same, and most of Milton Keynes. You are thinking of the 1960/70s.

Depends on the builder/house you buy.

Not so. Once again see Camborne in Cambridgeshire, and most of Milton Keynes

Once again depends on the builder, so look around.

That is a great plus, and a condensing boiler and a high pressure shower too. And it will have far superior burglar resistant doors, windows etc

Full renovation and DIY are very different. When moving into a new house there still will be enough DIY: a shed, racking out the garage, maybe flooring the loft, planting flowers, maybe a patio or decking if you didn't get the builder to do it, etc.

One builder I was looking at had a choice of about 200 kitchens, with 3 price levels. If you want a top notch wow type of kitchen you got it. They have to offer these to shake off the poor 1960/70s image, which is still bouncing around your mind.
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wrote:

A bathroom as standard? Ooooo! I want one!
;)
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wrote:

A tin bath in front of the fire for you me boy.
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wrote:

<snip>
Thing I don't like about new builds is their roof - I like large areas for storage - maybe even a conversion in the future. Most new houses' roofs aren't suitable for conversion - plus, whilst it may be possible to store something up there - moving around between the supports isn't exactly easy.
D
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wrote:

Roof trusses have been around since the 1950s, coming in from the USA. It is easy enough to mate in an extension roof. Why would you want to amend a new house?
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wrote:

A new house now may become a 2nd hand house in 5 years time, and then maybe in 10 years time someone (or maybe the original owner if they never moved) doesn't want to move, but needs more space....
The 1930's semi I live in at the moment was once a new house - whilst you'd be unlikely to do such work soon after moving in - at some point someone may want to do something with it - and then you notice the restrictions (as seen in this group - the number of people who've asked about loft coversions for trussed roofs only to be put off by the additional cost). I guess I would call it future proofing.
Then again, I guess, as the trussed roof spreads the roof weight to the outer walls - this can mean you can gut the whole house and change the internal layout if you wished. Doing that with a traditional roof and walls would not really be possible - at least, probably not without RSJs and the like.
D
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David Hearn wrote:

I agree with that. I recently floored my loft and the contortions necessary to thread myself through the trusses would make it suitable for an assault course on the Krypton Factor.

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I'll grant the convenience of en-suite shower/bathrooms. However, I've yet to see a modern (as in less than 10 years old) with a "study room" that would actually be capable of holding a decent sized desk and a filing cabinet :-(

... so how come so many people buying new houses report having to call the builders back to fix all the bits that weren't done properly (or at all)? Obviously, *some* new houses are well built, but I bet those are in the higher price brackets.

Not the ones I see. Minor variations in layout and finish don't count, nor do making adjacent houses "mirror images".

Ah, you're always good for a laugh, Adam. Until you claimed that "most of Milton Keynes" has character I thought you were serious!! If John Betcheman was still alive, I suspect he'd update his "Come, friendly bombs ..." poem, and the target wouldn't be Slough :-)

I can only look at the way in which new houses have been built in the parts of the country where I've lived for the last 15 years (North and West Yorkshire). Even 4-bed, "executive" detached houses tend to have no more than 25-30 m^2 of garden. I thought that you'd have picked up on this one ... after all, if it wasn't for draconian planning laws and over-zealous protection of greenbelts, then land prices would be lower and developers wouldn't feel forced to stick 15 houses on a plot that would realisticly hold half that number if they had decent sized gardens.

Only if its a primary concern for you - I don't recall "energy efficiency" being a lead selling point for many developers, which suggests that the majority of potential buyers aren't that concerned with this.

... I'm sure I'm not alone in having most of these in a house whose basic structure is 200+ years old.

Even a casual perusal of this ng suggests that people take on *much* more than this - especially when you add in those projects that people do partly as D-I-Y and partly bringing in tradesmen.

Just how much variation is there among those 200 kitchens (especially if there are only 3 price levels)? The advantage of an older house is that you can (probably) live with what's there while you work out what's needed to fit your lifestyle. The last time I was even tempted to buy a new house (enough to look at show houses, about 4 years ago) the sales folks tended to look aghast at questions like "how much does the price go down if we don't take any of your kitchens?", -- suggesting that there's a pretty steep markup on the options they do provide.
I know that some people prefer to buy new houses, and for them they have many advantages. However, for me (and, I suspect, for many others) those advantages are peripheral when compared to the benefits of older properties.
Julian
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Sounds like buying a new car. Drying out and the likes. Everyone know the builder will have to come back.

Like RRs?

You should look a bit more.

Very serious. The greenest city I have been to, and I have been to countless all over the world. the newer suburbs are very attractive, and the city has still about another 1/3 to go yet.

He was a total pillock.

They may be small in certain areas and you have a point about us all being ripped off by an artificial land shortage being created ramping up house prices.

It is now. The eco movement is amking an impact.

They are being educated up to it. Not there yet.

200 years? All that cold and damp! I pity you. Pull it down ASAP and re-build.

Doors, worktops, appliances, lighting, details, etc, etc. many permutations.

Never heard such nonsense. And all that damp, cold, poor plumbing and high heating bills too.
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<snip>
Doesn't stop it being the dullest, soulless place I've ever seen (although there are one or two suburbs of Phoenix AZ that run it close).

Exactly. Far too many places are prone to:
[Developer] We propose to build 20 houses on this site (which is realisticly big enough for 10) [Planning Committee] 20! That's far too many! [Developer] OK, we'll build 18, and we'll pay for the access road [Planning Committee] That's just fine and dandy!!
:-(
<snip>

Cold? Damp? Eh oop, lad, I'm talkin' about t'North 'ere. Nowt wrong wi' a bit o' cold and damp - builds character :-)
Actually, having lived in an early 19th century cottage for 10 years, and in a barn conversion parts of whose structure are (probably) late 18th c (4 years so far) neither is in the least cold or damp - you'd be surprised how effective the combination of 18-24in thick stone walls with modern double glazing and decent roof insulation is like. The only problem we've ever had w/ damp was the result of a previous owner's botched attempts to change the guttering -- easily fixed.
<snip>

As I expected ... now try suggesting that you want a completely different layout - see how much that adds to the developer's price. Or that you'd prefer to use your own kitchen designer and supplier ....

Do you get all your information about old houses from reading "Cold Comfort Farm" then?
Julian
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My aunt and uncle used to live in a old farmhouse of various ages in Herefordshire. My Aunt had regular complaints about parts of the structure, the ones with character, iow wattle and daub and mentioned in the domesday book as a hunting lodge ;-)
Peter
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Don't rate your choice in car manufacturers then. Guess you ought to stop buying Ladas, because the last 6 new cars I've bought have been faultless from the day I collected them.
Cheers Clive
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Julian Fowler wrote:

I'm not sure that this is all down to the greed of developers. A chap in our village (in Wiltshire and a Conservation Area) lives in a large bungalow on about 0.25 acre of land. He wants to downsize now that the kids have left home but wants to stay in the village. He did some cost analyses and decided the best way, financially, would be to demolish his bungalow, split the plot in 2, build 2 houses, live in one and flog the other. When he went to the Planning Dept. they told him that if he did that then he would have to build *three* houses on the plot; something about a Govt. rule saying there must be 9 houses per hectare.
With typical bureaucratic illogicality they told him the if he demolished *half* his bungalow he could put a single house on the space created and then extend the remaining half of the bungalow at the rear.
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parish <parish_AT_ntlworld.com> wrote:

That isn't bureaucratic illogicality it is inventive getting around the rules to achieve the desired result. I believe it's called being as helpful as possible.
Peter
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"parish" <parish_AT_ntlworld.com> wrote in message

This is to appease the greenies who are funded by large landowners to keep people out of the country so they can keep their lucrative acres. Only 7.5% of the land mass is built on. So much for emotive words like "urban sprawl" and "concreting over the countryside".
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