This article has been compiled from the mass of e-mails we receive from Fairford Leys residents concerning the problems of buying a new home in this development and we hope it will be helpful to anyone considering buying a property here.

The Pros and Cons
Buying a house is generally regarded as the biggest investment that most people ever make, so when choosing your new home, you should take all the advice you can get, and you could do a lot worse than ask the people who live here already about their experiences. The first thing you need to ask yourself is “what are the pros and cons of living in a new development like Fairford Leys?”. To help you decide if this is the place for you, we have put together a pros and cons page which we recommend you read now if you haven’t already done so as this raises a number of issues which are specific to this development.

New or Used?
Assuming you want to become part of this community, the next step is to buy a house here. There are plenty of different designs on offer by a number of different builders and if you’re new to house buying, its easy to get swayed by the brochures in the sales offices. Judging by the general increase in the number of complaints about builders, it would appear that the build quality has been steadily declining while the prices asked have been creeping up. It is not uncommon to find only the cheapest fittings in new houses such as ugly bog-standard light switches and wobbly plastic loo-seats to name but two. Buyers should also be aware that in order to make a house a more attracive to buy, builders will sometimes throw in a number of fittings or carpets rather than reduce the price. Beware of fully fitted kitchens as generally customers pay through the nose for such things as washing machines, cookers, dishwashers etc and they may not be a particularly good make.

It is difficult to know for certain how the builders arrive at the sale price for a new house but observation of the housing market suggests that they look at the prices of similar houses for sale and then increase their price by a small amount for a new house. Taking these things into consideration, perhaps the best deals are to be found in secondhand houses as the build quality is often better and any problems regarding the build standard will have already been addressed by their former owners. In addition, any settling in cracks will have stopped, they may well have been decorated and domestic appliances will generally be in good working order (as most faults in equipment happen either soon after manufacture or when the equipment is wearing out). In addition, the garden, which is usually heavy clay, will have had a chance to grow and mature. Since an increasing number of people choose to move within the village, it is well worth checking the local estate agents as there are usually a number of houses in Fairford Leys on the market at any one time which can offer excellent value for money.

Fixing a Date…
If you decide to buy a new house, there are some pitfalls to avoid. These are generally the result of greedy developers cutting corners and the community of shoddy builders to whom they contract the actual construction work. As you might expect, the builders and their sales staff will be keen to do anything to help until you’ve actually bought your new property and then the attitude is often one of indifference. Don’t let them bully you into moving into your new home by a date which is convenient to them and not to you. They are mainly interested in getting people into a home at the first available opportunity so that they can meet their sales targets. If you’re not convinced that the house will be properly finished, hold off until you are and get yourself a snagging list. Also, you need to be aware that the completion date they will give you is unlikely to be correct and you may find yourself moving into your new house up to several months after the date you were given initially, which makes it very difficult to plan your move and you are unlikely to get any compensation from them to cover the extra costs involved.

Any Extras?
Some people are happy with the standard fittings supplied with the house but sometimes you may want a little extra such as an more power sockets, light switches, outside security light or a run of pipe for a gas fire. Sometimes the sales office will tell you what options are available for your particular home but not always. If you want optional extras, make sure you tell the sales office in plenty of time. Ideally, you should tell them about any extras you want before the ground floor is put in place as modern houses are not designed for ease of maintenance. Gas, water pipes and electrical wiring all need to be in place before walls and floors are fitted. Once this is done, it is extremely difficult to get access to them as your house will almost certainly have a floor consisting of large sheets of interlocking MDF rather than conventional floorboards.

Getting a Snagging List
One of the difficulties people experience is knowing how to inspect their new home to make sure the builders have done a proper job. Moving into a new house is a stressful experience and often people are too busy to inspect their new property adequately within the first few weeks. One solution to this is to use a snagging list and employ a qualified person to inspect your new home against it. This is likely to cost about £300 but many people find that such an inspection and the subsequent pressure that can be exerted to put things right, is well worth the outlay as according to some statistics, there are between 100 and 200 defects in one third of new homes. To find out more about this service visit www.newbuildinspections.com. If you would like to inspect the property yourself using your own list, you can download a snagging list for £14.99 from www.snagging.org.

Think Carefully Before You Buy a Recent Bryant (Taylor Woodrow) Home
Of all the complaints we receive, the majority of them concern recent Bryant Homes (older Bryant Homes don’t appear to have any significant problems). We think the reason for this is that Bryant Homes, once a builder with a good reputation (at least in Fairford Leys) was bought by Taylor Woodrow and since then, there has been significant change in their corporate attitude. Whilst the Bryant Homes trade name remains, the culture, build quality and customer care has in the view of many residents, declined noticeably. A large number of residents have written to us complaining about how difficult it is to get Bryants to fix any problems after they move in and some have even had to resort to legal action against them. The advice from many such residents is “don’t hand over your money until you’re satisfied with your purchase”.

Check the Plans
The pressure is on from government to build as many houses as possible so the builders are taking every opportunity to squeeze an extra house in where they can. It is true that there is a master plan for the village but it can be ammended and planning permission has been obtained for exrta houses here and there. If there is an area of green space near to where you intend to live, our advice is to check carefully if building work is likely to commence on it in the near future. Once you’re settled in, the last thing you want are hoards of builders rumbling past your door as they lay waste to another area of greenery. Many residents have moved to Fairford Leys under the impression that the views they enjoyed over green fields would not be disturbed only to find themselves facing more houses a few years later. New residents often report that neither their solicitors nor sales office told them anything about further development when they bought their houses. Builders are simply not sufficiently concerned about existing residents when construction work is underway as many residents in Great Meadow Way or Andrews Way will testify. If you wish to see plans for building work, the parish clerk will be happy to show them to you if you make an appointment to see him at the parish council office.

Household Items Known to Have Been Unreliable
1. Potterton Boilermate 2000
This has developed numerous faults and residents have had to have the motor, sensor or main circuit board replaced. If this boiler is fitted in your house, you would be advised to check the warranty and make sure it covers the whole water heating system.

Please contact us if you have had any experience with unreliable fitted appliances with details of what went wrong, how soon after purchase the fault appeared, what you had to do to get it repaired and how much it cost.

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