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Harron Homes Review & Complaints

This post is going to be amended as we progress through buying our Tiverton/Windsor from Harron Homes. For the record this is the first time I’ve moved home, having bought my current house 15 years ago straight out of university. Needless to say a lot has changed.

Disclaimer: Apart from my buying a new build home from Harron Homes I am in no way affiliated with their marketing. This is my personal experience and thoughts of the buying process and not part of some SEO campaign (tho I’d love a crack at it). Ive tried to make this a genuine resource for new build home buyers irrespective of supplier.

Selection Caveats

When we started looking for a new home we had a few criteria that had to be ticked off:

  • Good value for money
  • Lots of land
  • Close to motorways (and preferably closer to work, i have a 35 mile commute each morning)
  • Close to trains
  • At least as good a spec as the current house (3 bed, integral garage, garden front and back, drive, great views)

Picking a House & Location

Firstly about why we chose a new build from Harron Homes and not from one of the other builders:

Barratt / David Wilson (DW) Homes

The same company owns both. We looked at a local development near Pellon Lane in Halifax which was the last phase on a development that’s been around for years.

The show homes were both OK with well designed interiors except that in each case the stairway twisted around on its self part way highlighting the lack of space and small footprint of the house.

All of the houses we viewed did not make a good use of space and had odd spaces which were not useable. We found the layouts odd and claims were being made about rooms being big enough for a living room and dining room in the same space. On inspection it was clear that these rooms not big enough to be combined spaces.

At Pellon lane the back gardens were a warren of fencing this resulted in poor views at the rear of most properties.

The service was OK but in the end we decided not to peruse this as the homes had no roadside garden and were tightly packed together on a hill that meant everyone was overlooking everyone else and the development felt dark.

We also visited houses which were for sale at the Castleford site and these had lots of snags such as cracked ceilings, cracked walls and were finished badly. These were not a good advertisement for the houses available and did not make me want to buy. At the Castleford site the sales team wanted to sell houses to us which had already been build rather than discuss the houses which were in the first phases.

Overall we were not impressed with DW Homes or Barratt and would not recommend them.

Persimmon Homes

We looked at a few persimmon homes and were impressed with the space around the site. What irked us was that exactly the same house was around £10k more in a location closer to us, Also it became quickly clear that Persimmon buy land next to (very large) industrial units and liked buying land that had issues with water. Persimmon’s homes have lots of space and uniquely have loads of bathrooms and a utility room which was nice.

At Persimmon in Heckmondwike the sales team were judgmental and it was obvious that they did not think we could afford the houses we were looking at as they were initially dismissive and unhelpful. Once the credit checks had been completed they became more animated and engaging. On the this particular site there were houses with posters in the window telling people not to buy and to knock on the door to see all the snags Persimmon had not corrected. This was off putting due to how pro-active residents on this site were at stopping others buying houses. Even when walking around the site residents were actively telling you to steer clear and that there were a lot of on going issues with the houses.

The most helpful salesman was at the Blossom Meadows site when making initial enquiries. At this site residents were positive about the experiences they had with Persimmon which was reassuring given the negativity about the company at the other site.

What is impressive about Persimmon is that they are open and honest about what are extras in the show homes as they have tags on these with the prices. This is helpful as it gives you an idea of how much things cost. From looking at the extras for Persimmon it highlights that the houses are of a low specification and that there is standard is lower than other builders. For example the cooker and hob as standard is white where as other companies it is silver.

In terms of working out budgets it was difficult to do this on the Persimmon homes as the sales teams did not know the council tax bands and we expected the sales team to readily know this information.

The negative publicity for Persimmon led to us looking at forums for the company and this reinforced what had been said to us at Heckmondwike. Also on a personal level somebody we know bought a Persimmon home in a different area and they advised us not to buy with them as it has taken a year to correct all the errors and they informed us of there bad experiences.

Overall the publicity and the negative feedback led to us not wanting to pursue a house with this company as we could not trust in the firm. We would not recommend these houses and would warn people to check the extras book out before entering a process with this company as it may turn out expensive.

Miller Homes

The miller homes developments near us resembled Persimmon’s however their property was leasehold, not freehold meaning you’d have to pay ground rent forever… another hidden cost.

The show homes we looked at were okay but we were not blown away by them. There was not a lot of land with the houses.

Miller failed to make an impression on us hence why there is not a lot to write about!

Taylor Wimpey

We visited two Taylor Wimpey sites one at Lindley and one at Castleford.

At Lindley the sales advisor was fantastic as she was engaging and interested in our needs. The site being built is small and a large number of the homes were earmarked for affordable housing. We viewed the show house at this location and noticed the ceilings were exceptionally low (we are both 6ft), this is the only company where the ceilings have been a problem.

We viewed three show homes with Taylor Wimpey in total and we found the downstairs layouts odd as the living room is at the back of the home, the kitchens were galley style and there was no utility room. The bedrooms were of an okay size and there were lots of storage which was good. The storage space stood out as most new builds do not have this or have very little of it.

This was just a no go due to the ceiling heights but from looking at the specifications good quality materials are being used and the standard specification is impressive.

Harron Homes

For us, Harron Homes trumped all of the other developments based on a number of critical factors:

  • The house styles are well thought out
  • No strange architectural details to compensate for poor layout
  • Largish front garden
  • Not built next to working factories or industrial businesses
  • Not built on areas with water issues
  • Many of the homes have wooden banisters on the stairs (funny how this becomes important)
  • The housing developments weren’t cramped together
  • They had not only lots of bathrooms and a utility area but also a built in dressing room on the master bedroom.
  • Large back yard
  • Not built on a hillside
  • Integral garages (not shared)
  • Unique architectural details i.e. brickwork in each development that stopped the developments feeling like a factory produced builder
  • Next to no bad press about the business since the mid 2000’s

…and we loved the layout of the Tiverton which ticked all our boxes (except storage which we sidelined due to the integral garage)

We visited three Harron sites in total and have viewed five of there show homes. We had good experiences with two of the sites however the third was horrendous.

At the sites where our experience was positive the sales staff were friendly, helpful, spent time with us and made us feel welcome. Whereas at one site the sales team appeared to be judgmental and did not want to sell us anything even-though we were interested with builds on there site. Interestingly enough other people have felt the same when we have spoken to other couples who have attended this specific site.

One big niggle about un-professionalism at Harron is that when we have visited the sites the area manager has been hiding behind an open car door smoking and been huddled with another member of Harron smoking in front of the show home. I hold a strong opinion that you do not smoke where customers can see you. Most firms do not allow this or promote this type of behaviour due to the companies image.

A Word About Show Homes

You gotta love show homes. As we looked around the various property developers sites we took a ton of photographs of their show home interiors. Its interesting how they place mirrors which was my major discovery. Just be careful when looking starry eyed around these developments because there’s a few things you should know.

Your home comes unfurnished and with the bare amount of fixtures and fittings when you move in. Imaging this… bare cables with just a bulb hanging from the ceiling in most rooms, no carpets or flooring anywhere, an unfinished back garden that isn’t level an doesn’t contain grass, tiles that don’t reach the ceiling and just act as splash-backs for sinks etc, everything painted in magnolia, white not chrome switches and sockets, no extra lighting details in kitchens i.e. under cupboard lighting or extra spotlights and no curtains or rails. In fact much of the detail you see, in the case of Harron Homes are things like a mixture of tiling on the walls in the bathrooms adding an attracting pattern, aren’t available full stop.

We discovered that Harron Homes pretty much exclusively use next.co.uk for their interior trimmings and fittings. So head over there if you’re trying to recreate a look.

Buying the house

We first looked at another development which had the show home we liked. The development was almost complete and in its final phase and we thought we’d take a look at a few house types.
From the outset the sales team appeared to not want to help us and gave us the opinion that we weren’t good enough for their development. Our continued contact with this particular team reinforced this as they systematically went out of their way to give us the worst possible service.

Needless to say we tried our luck at a near by development that was just starting out which had the same house style albeit in a slightly less desirable location. The sales exec was warm and welcoming , a complete contrast to the team at the previous development. The sales rep admitted that she was new to Harron Homes, setting the scene for a bit of give and take while she got used to Harron’s particular offering.

As we were initially interested in two different houses on different sites this complicated the part exchange process. On one of the sites it felt like they were forcing us to the other site just so a sale occurred there as they kept saying ‘we cant match the deal they will give you’ and ‘we wont give you anything’. In the initial stages at this site it was obvious there was no room for negotiation, we took advise from online forums about negotiating a price for the house however it became apparent that Harron do not drop the prices of there homes. Also the sales staff were clear from the outset they would give us nothing and did not want to do a deal.

What was infuriating was that the sales staff at both sites were openly talking and communicating in front of us about how they were doing with us and discussing who would get the sale. The behaviour felt tactical and we felt played. These conversations should have been completed when we were not present.

The deals

There’s some caveats that you can apply when negotiating your deal as to the incentives Harron Homes give,

  • They wont negotiate on property price – to do this means devaluing the other properties on the site which i guess messes up the mortgage and valuations for buyers.
  • They may give you over market value when you part exchange your property – we got a good offer on our home which we were more than happy with
  • Discounts for buying the first/last houses on a site – once they’ve finished a house they need to sell it to fund further phases/other developments so expect things like increased payouts on your existing house (see above).
  • Help to buy schemes get flooring and fees paid for free – this should be the very first thing you negotiate because if everyone else is having it then why not you?
  • Deposit is £500 which they hold in escrow in case your property needs repairs before they sell it on.

Tie ins

They make you sign a piece of paper stating that you have to use their solicitor and mortgage advisers. I assumed that this was so they could claw back some referral fees. I’ll talk about each provider in detail later in this document.

We were told that if things didn’t work out that we could use our own mortgage people etc. Don’t take this as gospel as many things we were told have been less than true.
Update: We’ve found out after the fact that this is against the Consumer Code for Home Builders which states:

You should not restrict the Home Buyer’s choice of legal representative

This would suggest that incentivised legal fees cannot restrict you from picking your own solicitor.

Hidden Up Front Costs

As mentioned above we were assured that having paid our £500 deposit that everything else was paid for and didn’t expect other bills. Where we did expect bills we foolishly thought these would come in at the end after our equity was released.

  • Legal Retainer £300 – you have to pay this up front to their preferred solicitor. I have no idea if we get this back as part of the £1,500 Harron Homes are contributing to the legal fees etc.
  • Mortgage Retention Fee £200 – you have to pay this to the mortgage company to secure the mortgage you’ve selected/been offered
  • Upgrades (in our case) £2,000 – for the various enhancements to the property that we wanted i.e. floor to ceiling tiling in the bathrooms. We were told that this was a very low amount.
  • Electrical inspection fee and fix £600
  • Gas safety certificate £300
  • Annual estate management fee £120 – covers the upkeep of the shared spaces. I’d have thought the council would have managed this as they do any existing property but this doesn’t seem to be the case

That’s a whopping £3,520 we had to find that we didn’t expect to pay out.

Reviewing the Plans

You get to look over the site plans in great details. These come in different layers covering everything from landscaping to sewers. Here’s some things to look out for when reviewing these plans:

  • Manhole Covers – it seems that Harron Homes like to dot manhole covers all over the place. chances are that your home has at least 2 or three of these on your property, usually in the garden. This is a major pain as surely there’s enough sidewalk space for these? My guess is they’ll be a lot of garden digging ups gong on when things go wrong in the future.
  • Street lighting – check if you have a streetlight outside your house or face the dull orange glow into your bedrooms all night
  • Power cables – in Harron’s case these were moved from being overhead to underground. If your concerned about this then make sure you check it out
  • Balancing Ponds/pools – This seems to be a feature of most sites now.
  • Visitor Parking Spots – You know there’s going to be a fight for parking… just look around any modern development so if you know your going to have lots of visitors you might want to choose a plot that’s close to a visitor slot.
  • Gradient – In Yorkshire, you know every developments going to be on some sort of hill. Check the plans for retaining walls and other eyesores. Also ask about the gradient in your garden as no one wants to mow up/down hill.
  • Imagine the views – look at the house and imagine the views form your windows to get some insight into how its all going to look in the end.

Promises Made

As part of the buying process you’re going to want to check and double check a lot of facts. Here’s some of the things we asked about

  • Double Drive – Due to the severe lack of road side parking I checked and was assured by the site manager that we’d fit two ‘normal sized’ cars (their words) on the drive.
  • Trees (landscaping) – In our plans it shows a tree on top of where the manhole covers are. I’m still waiting for a response to this as I wouldn’t want tree roots to cause issues with drainage on the site.
  • Garden Gradient – As the site is on a slope I wanted to check that both the front and rear gardens would be if not flat then at least level and was assured that this would  be so. Part way through the development the front garden is still a concern for me as there’s no sign of this leveling out and i can see from the brick work where they anticipate ground level to be.

Picking Your Fixtures & Upgrades

If you’re buying off plan and the roof isn’t on your property yet then now is the point at which you get to select your interior features and appliances.Its also the point where you can upgrade any ‘free’ incentives offered when you first negotiated your deal. Harron Homes provide a booklet and each site office has a set of swatches and samples that you can look through.

A word of warning. Although Harron Homes’ website says they will try and accommodate your requests and that there are a range of off-book additions that you can request again the truth is somewhat different.

Standard Specification

The spec of a standard house with no incentives is pretty good and can be viewed here. You get a fitted kitchen, branded taps, choice of branded tiles, branded oven and hob, branded shower fittings and branded bath, loo and sink. branded taps and in most houses a bespoke branded set of wardrobes in the master bedroom. As i mentioned before the only things missing to make the house livable from the outset are flooring, curtain rails, curtains and lampshades, so make sure you negotiate/buy these first.

The Book Selection

  • Carpet – 3 grades of carpet from around 6 different shades most of which are creams and light browns
  • Lino – 2 grades of lino from around 20 different styles. Note there’s no White tile style designs. We suspect this is due to them wanting to up-sell the show home style flooring as a tiled not linoleum floor.
  • Wall Tiling – 2 grades of tiles from around 16 different styles. Bathrooms can be upgraded not only in tile specification but also the amount of tiling provided. As standard you get a small amount of tiling around your sink for example. Full and half tiling is also available. In the show homes they mix and match wall tiles to add feature panels to sinks etc. This isn’t available unless you buy the show home in which case you have to have the style as seen.
  • Floor Tiling – We didn’t opt for this but there were around another 16 styles to pick from.
  • Worktops – One of Harron Homes big selling points is that their kitchen worktops are 60mm deep as opposed to the standard 30mm available on the high street. You can pick from around 6 basis styles including several wood effect, a light and dark granite style design and some in between. The up sell is for real wood or stone again available in several styles and colours.
  • Cabinet Doors – On the show homes they mix and match cabinet doors which look great. Again this isn’t offered as an option. What you do get is 2 grades of door in around 6 different styles and colours.
  • Cabinet Door Handles – you get a choice of around 8 different styles
  • Wardrobe Doors & Surround – You get to pick the style of door and have a choice of mix and match panels from mirrored to coloured. The surround for your wardrobe is also customisable with another selection of colours and finishes to pick from.
  • Bespoke Wardrobe Interiors – In the booklet it does say you can further tailor your wardrobes but we were told that this wasn’t an option any more as bespoke work cost them a lot of money due to things not being how the buyer wants when they finally move in. This was a major pain for us as we needed double hanging wardrobes. In the end we received a quote of about £1000 for a double hanging rail and opted to save £995 by buying a £5 one from ikea.co.uk. I suspect they price out things they don’t want you to have.Because of our persistence (we even went direct to the manufacturer) this has been removed from the extras list so make sure you have an up to date one.
  • Heated Towel Rails – Available in white or silver costing around £400 each!
  • Spotlights – Around £70 each!
  • Silver Sockets and Switches – around £20 each
  • Alarm System – Around £500 for a basic alarm system with not enough PIRs for your home so expect more up-selling for window sensors and PIRs
  • Shower Upgrades – you can upgrade to a rain shower head and add showers if your home doesn’t have a dedicated cubical in the master bathroom (ours did)
  • Home Entertainment System (Piped Music) – You can pay for a home entertainment system that pipes music throughout the home.
  • Under cabinet/worktop lighting – There’s a range of different lighting options available from under cabinet lighting and kick-board lighting to a lighting strip that follows the edge of the counter-top. We’re planning on doing this ourselves and saving a fortune thanks to ikea :)
  • Sky – You can have sky pre-installed
  • Oven/Hob Upgrades – We couldn’t have this as our oven is built in under a worktop
  • Dishwasher – we got ours as part of our incentives
  • Wine Chiller
  • Fridge Freezer – we got ours as part of our incentives
  • Washing Machines
  • Dryer
  • Fitted Wardrobes in other rooms

The extras booklet isn’t very easy to read and i’m sure we missed many things we’d probably like. Rightly or wrongly the sales team at Harron make no effort to ‘sell’ you anything. This takes the fun out of what should be one of the most exciting tasks. I’d have preferred more help with this.

Off Book Selection

As mentioned previously Harron Homes state in their literature that you can ask for pretty much anything you want. Here’s a few things off-book that we requested.

  • Mirrors – The show homes have fitted mirrors in the bathrooms which are inset like tiles. The finish isn’t that great but we thought it would save on drilling holes and risking cracked tiles. Harron Homes really didn’t want us to have this and quoted around £500 each for a 40cm mirror in each bathroom. We’re saving our money and going to risk putting our own in from the excellent styles available from The Range. Again we think they priced this job up so we wouldn’t go for it.
  • ‘Industrial’ Matting Inside the Front Door – You see this in the show homes and its a great idea especially when you’ve new carpets.
  • Patio – We requested a quote for a 7′ patio out back to accommodate our garden furniture and were quoted £1000 for this. I plan on saving a ton (or asking the team on site if we can get one done for cash when we move in.
  • Lawn to the rear – £130 a bargain. The backs of the homes come unprepared and the ones we’ve seen are a weed infested mound of earth. This is money well spent.
  • Custom Wardrobe Interiors – They say they’ll do it but they really don’t want to and provide ridiculous prices for the smallest changes despite the manufacturer being known for bespoke fitted furniture. We suspect they’re simply provided in kit form to Harron Homes and that they’re not actually installed by the manufacturer hence all of the problems we’ve had with this.

We Paid Extra For

  • Carpets/lino upgrade – £200 (why not)
  • Full tiling to master and en suite bathroom using 2 different tiles in both
  • 1/2 tiling to the down stairs cloak
  • Extra sockets at the foot of the stairs (vacuum)
  • Extra sockets at the end of the dressing area (straighteners/hair dryer)
  • Spot lights in the utility room (to save space)
  • Heated towel rail in the en suite
  • Lawn to the rear – £130
  • Industrial matting behind the front door – £35

This cost around an additional £2,000 which had to be paid up front.

Build Progress

We’ve just signed and visited the property. No roof on yet and it looks like the first floor is being fixed in place due to a large number of support struts littering all of the downstairs levels. I’m concerned about the level of the front garden and whats going to happen down the side of the house. I’ve been assured that the front will be level and the drive accommodate 2 ‘normal sized’ cars however the side remains TBC.

Build Progress

Managed to view the property for the first time. Its all breeze block walls and no partition walls, stairs or windows yet. I expected solid wood beams and am surprised to see some modern replacement that appears to be steel reinforced web-board. I checked online and this is pretty standard in modern builds. We’ve asked about the possibility of a patio out back and been quoted a ridiculous amount for this however grass appears to be more than reasonable.

The Mortgage Process

Up until this point things have gone fairly smoothly. As mentioned earlier part of Harron Homes’ sales process ties you into using their mortgage provider. In this case its The Mortgage Bureau.
Alarm bells were already ringing as I’ve previously encountered the Mortgage Bureau when helping a local mortgage brokers with their SEO. At the time they were the pushy sales people who helped with the financial crisis, fudging peoples incomes and getting mortgages for 120% more than a properties value (this is hearsay but definitely what i heard).

Needless to say we continued with trepidation.

Initially we corresponded through email and were asked to send over all of our personal info including passports etc through the post. Needless to say we were not happy about this and demanded that they visit us to collect and copy whatever they needed.

During the visit we pulled out all of our available documentation which we were assured would be enough, the rep touched upon insurance but we politely declined and thought everything was good to go. We were also asked to pay £200 through a strange website link to secure the Mortgage (yet another hidden cost) which I’m sure went straight into their back pocket for commission or something as despite having several re/mortgages. I’ve never had to pay an up front fee before.

The sales adviser we had was domineering and bullying when he visited the home as he wanted to up-sell and we declined. As we said no to things he was extremely challenging and rude as he was not getting a sale.

One thing you may not know is that few banks and building societies will provide a mortgage on a new build property and there are hidden charges applied to your mortgage if you don’t buy insurances and have accounts with the prior to your application. Our advice is to check with your adviser and work out ways around this as there is a saving to be made. Our mortgage is with the Nottingham Building Society. As a building society and not a bank I’m happy to pay a higher premium as at least they’re investing their own money and not virtual funds as you’d expect from a bank. In short, don’t expect moneysavingexpert.com or gocompare.com to help you find a mortgage independently.

The weeks following this meeting became incredibly stressful when we were palmed off on a group of junior executives and repeatedly asked to produce ever more paperwork and proof of income. We’ve nothing to hide however receiving two emails a day from different people which seemed a bit too much. I appreciate that they want to get things done quickly however we both work full time are generally away before the banks open and back well after they close and only had minimal time during the weekends to get the required information.
We’d have preferred to have been given a fixed list of what was needed at the beginning which I’m sure would have made the process smoother.

The documentation we were asked to sign we posted this to the company to the address on the advisors email signature. The paperwork did not arrive to the advisor and he then accused us of lying about sending the documentation back this then led to him sending the documentation to the Harron sales advisor. Whilst at Harron it became clear that it had gone to the wrong address and needless to say he never did apologise for his e mail signature not having the correct address or for the misunderstanding.

We’re currently being hounded to sign a document stating that we don’t want their insurances. I wish they’d take the hint and accept that as we’re not responding that we don’t want it. The reason we will not sign it is because nobody has gone through the services we are declining from them. We asked for this to be done in person and our request was refused as they do not do home visits and would only engage over the telephone.

The whole process from beginning to end seemed like an exercise in taking money from us and causing maximum inconvenience.

We have not been impressed with the company we have had to use and would tell people to stand there ground and do not use the recommended company as it is nothing but hassle.

Selling your home

We knew that our current home was desirable. Its cheap, has 3 bedrooms, a garage, drive, great views, garden front and back and is in a quiet cul-de-sac. I’ll be sad to leave. Houses on our street go fast and we were assured during the estate agents visit that we wouldn’t be waiting long and that they already had buyers wanting to buy a new home in the area.

Make sure you spruce up your home before the estate agents arrive. De-clutter all surfaces and artfully position decorations, ornaments and furniture to make the most of your home (and hide any DIY mwahahahaha!). They will quickly run around each room, taking photographs, using a light meter to measure walls and ask a few questions about the house. Ask about the surrounding area and you’ll learn a lot about what other properties go for.

The sale sign goes up and the estate agent starts booking people in to see your house.

Remember that while your showing people around you need to keep the house as close to pristine as possible which basically means constant cleaning inside and out. At this point you’re probably starting to box things up for moving.

  • De-clutter – This is a great opportunity to de-clutter and get rid of anything superficial.
  • Think curb appeal – clean any exterior surfaces, windows and paving, kill all weeds and have a general tidy up like throwing away those empty plant pots/planters you’ve been intending to fill for the past 10 years. Clean you car, mow the lawn etc.
  • Turn on all of the lights – even the under counter/cupboard lights. This makes your home look larger and more inviting
  • Eradicate smells – clean the oven, light scented candles and make sure you look has a quick squirt of bleach
  • Depersonalize – While you want your home to look lived in tone down your personal touches. Pack away all of your family photographs, paint over any bright and bold wall paper and box up the collection of crystal penguins (you get the point)
  • Entrance hall – clean the mirror (if you have one) remove all footwear, coats etc and ensure this area looks great. First impressions last.
  • Look at each room from their respective entrances – clear away any clutter and make sure you focus everything on the rooms best feature.
  • Stage each room – imagine all of the show homes you’ve seen while picking your new home. They’ll have had fresh towels in the bathroom, plates and candles on the dining tables. Carry this through to your home and you cant go wrong.
  • Update furniture, bedding etc – Remember if you buy it now you can take it with you so its a great time to revamp your furniture and decor as it will also help sell your house.

When you part exchange its a strange process as you’d typically ‘sell’ the house to any visitors when selling direct. You’re not there to haggle on price, you can suggest leaving things you don’t want to take with you i.e. those Ikea wardrobes that wont go into your new home.

 The Paperwork

You’ll also need to provide Harron Homes with:

  • FENSA certificate for any windows
  • Gas safety certificate
  • Electrical safety certificate

When i bought my current house back in 1999 I didn’t get (or know to ask for) any of these. Needless to say it came as quite a shock. I know there was some sort of pack that needed to be produced a few years back but thought this had been ditched.

Now i don’t know about your home but I’m lucky to have family in trades, which means I’m generally good for the odd leaky tap or bathroom renovation. This however isn’t enough for Harron Homes meaning we’ve had to pay out for official certification, contact suppliers from years and years ago, and get trades people in to upgrade things like fuse boxes. So a word of warning. If you’ve been living in your home for around 10 years then there’s a load of hidden costs to bring your home up to code coming right at you. It might be worth looking around for free loft insulation and cavity wall insulation while you’re at it.
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Build Update

At this point Harron is estimating that we’ll be moving in in around 4 weeks however no date has been set. This deadline has moved on a full 6 weeks past the original ETA for completion of the house.

The house is now secure however a photo through the peep-hole shows the kitchen is now in including the extractor fan. Rooms appear to be being painted and the downstairs cloakroom has all sanitary ware installed and they’ve started tiling. I have noticed that despite our asking for 1/2 height tiling to this room, they’ve not done the back wall so will be monitoring this in future visits.
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The Legal Process

This is where we’re up to right now. After complete silence since we originally paid our retainer it took until the mortgage was completed and accepted by the building society for the Solicitors to re-engage. We recently received a packet containing lots of documents including scans of land registry maps etc.
Wading through the legal jargon we quickly came to realize that the legal documents were less than impartial. Instead there’s a mass of restrictions Harron place on you as a condition of the sale. Some of these include:

  • Aerials having to be placed on the back of the property despite where line of sight is with the main mast.
  • Harron needing to approve any future building on your property
  • Harron intend to charge the estate management fee despite the shared areas being incomplete

Needless to say we’ve queried all of the above as:

  • If the aerial gets a better reception at the front of the home then that’s where it should live. Otherwise this means having a pole stuck high at the back to reach over the roof of your house.
  • Whilst we accept that Harron need to keep the development uniform until all of the plots have been sold surely after this point they do not need and therefore should have a say in what I do with my property… that’s between me and the planing dept’ at the council
  • There’s no ‘estate’ to maintain due to our being the first people on the site and all shared spaces being currently under the bulldozer or covered in building detritus.

The solicitor has just got back to us and the gist of the responses are that ‘this is standard’ and due to this are happy to sign the contract.

image_1

Designing your new home

When it comes to be creative and having a vision then I have the edge over the Mrs as I’m a designer by trade. She loves loud colours and patterns however through a lot of demonstrations I’ve managed to convince her that bold means small and dark while neutral means light and airy. Between the two of us I think we’ve managed to define our style. Having vision is important as with a new build you’ll have to live with magnolia throughout for at least 12 months while the walls dry. We found that looking through show homes was illuminating (literally) and by taking note of furniture placement and decor the patterns associated with achieving this look became really easy to spot.
image_3

Lounge/Living Room

Colour Scheme: mid/light grey walls, mid/dark grey carpet, eggshell blue and mink accents, mid grey sofa. glass topped side tables and sleek oak units. The addition of mink to the blue allows us to warm up what would be a cold feeling room and allows us to brink in the oak from our furnishing which will also be run in through the legs on tables, sofas etc
There’s no fireplace in the new build so we’re going to place our low TV unit centre stage on the side wall. The wall facing the window will be eventually painted eggshell blue to match the curtains opposite

A mirror will be hung over the sofa facing the tv to increase light in the room

A large painting will be placed over a second sofa backed against the eggshell wall

A mixture of wall and table lamps will be placed in darker corners to add light

In the absence of any good looking ottomans, we’ve decided to build our own window seat in the bay windows using the Kallax unit from ikea.com. We just need to figure out how to attach a soft furnished top to it.

We’ve decided against running the curtains inside the bay window and will instead frame this area running curtains wall to wall across the void.
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Stuff that needs buying

If you manage to buy a house with no incentives then be prepared for a shock when you wank in through the door for the first time. This will probably be when you’re snagging. By default the finished house contains:

  • Kitchen
  • Shower
  • Oven & Hob
  • Extractor Fan
  • Sanitary wear in bathrooms
  • Single wire light fittings on the roof
  • Spotlights where they come as standard
  • Built in wardrobe in master bedroom
  • Extractor fans
  • Plumbing for washer/dryer (but no vent)
  • Waste/recycling Bins – £40 from your local council

There’s a lot missing from this list. Here’s the things you’ll need to buy or negotiate when your signing up:
image_4

The essentials

  • Carpets & Lino/stone floor tiling – ours was free as part of our negotiated incentives
  • Curtain Rails/Blinds & Curtains – as the window sizes are odd, we mirrored the show homes and bought extendable ones from next.co.uk. Surprisingly for curtains we found the quality to be superior from Dunelm mill compared to next who seem to rely of cheap printed effects.
  • Lamp shades or replacement light fittings – for now we’re opting to simply shade rather than replace as we cant decide on the type and style of fittings we like. Check your local next outlet for bargain discounts on lampshades
  • Alarm – Harron Homes only gives you 3 PIRs , the rest are up-sell so we’re contacting a local supplier and have a budget of around £500 for a decent system
  • Fridge Freezer – ours was free as part of our negotiated incentives
  • Dishwasher – ours was free as part of our negotiated incentives
  • Washer/Dryer – we went straight to the manufacturers White Knight and got a substantial saving and better model for less than could be found online. Otherwise try ao.com
  • TV Aerial/Sky Dish (no cable) – check with your local suppliers. We’re downgrading from Virgin to Freeview as we don’t watch live TV much any more and have been quoted £100 for an external aerial.
  • Phone line & Internet – Sky.com are offering a line rental only package with free 17mb broadband for a year and £100 M&S voucher effectively costing £85 for the whole year after the discount.
  • Bed(s) – opt for a storage bed with either drawers or a lift up frame as there’s not much storage in a new build home. I got the best deal price matching another site on click4beds.co.uk
  • Sofas – we’re bringing our existing sofa despite the fact it doesn’t match our vision of the new interiors. Since you can’t paint or paper for a year we’re going to live with it. Its a fabric chesterfield from CSL and on finance cost around £25 per month for a year.

Build Update

We’ve been told that the house should be ready in the next few weeks and is under ‘final fix’. We visited the same day we came back from our holiday and it looks like the house is nearly there. The walls are painted and internal doors in place,  we did notice that none of the flooring was in and there’s still a lot of work to be done on the exterior such as the back wall being completed, garden and turf, front landscaping and driveway.

On the subject of the driveway I took the opportunity to visit the nearest completed site  and took photos of how I’d like the driveway completed as having a 2 car drive is very important to me. With some houses there’s a single car block paved drive with a flagged path to the house. As our house is on a slight slope I want to make sure I’m not parking across the path as this wouldn’t be covered by the builders guarantee as its improper use and would most likely cause the paving stones to crack and/or the ground to slip. I took a photo and reconfirmed that the front would be like the emails attached image.

Packing Tips

Packing up your home in preparation for your move takes a lot of time so as soon as you sign start collecting boxes… a lot of boxes! Supermarkets often give away banana boxes which are great. They’re sturdy, come with handles and are easy to stack… you just need to make sure the hole in the bottom is covered, a sheet of A3 paper does the trick.

For larger items ask a local wholesaler or supermarket for large boxes and cut the corners out of them, placing these around your furniture to avoid scuffs and scrapes.

uy lots and lots of good quality parcel tape and a box of sharpies to label up the rooms destined for your boxed stuff.

Sell or Skip

Go through your house from top to bottom and before you pack anything have a massive clear out. If its not been used in over a year get rid of it. We’ve spend countless hours going to and fro from the local waste reclamation yards just to minimise what we’re taking with us.

Be ruthless

Once you’ve cut back… cut back again! you dont need most of it so focus on taking what you want

Hiring a moving company

I called around the local estate agents to see if they’d recommend a moving company and called the most prolific. For just the two of us and a few pieces of not very big furniture the moving company wanted to charge us over £800 to move. Having spent far too much money up front already we decided to do it ourselves… cue yet another de-cluttering.

Packing

If you have a garage or spare room clear it and nominate it for storage for packing. get as many large items into this room as soon as possible and begin boxing and storing.
We used our garage which still functions as our laundry space and overflow fridge which has caused problems.

Keep de-cluttering as you go along until you have most of it packed away. Our plan is to have an empty house 2 weeks before we move which is this weekend. so we’ve a busy time ahead. For the next 2 weeks we’ll be wearing and washing the same few sets of clothes, eating off a few plates and generally living the bare minimum.

Wish us luck!

Build Update

Nothing much has happened inside the house however they’ve leveled the back yard and installed a generous patio area which is far superior to that we’ve seen on on other Harron developments.
A chat with the Harron sales advisor has thrown things up in the air as we’re now no longer expected to move in on the 31st. By all accounts when you sign the legal documents you have to move in within 14 days of the NSBC having signed off the home.

The snagging is being downplayed  by the sales advisor who says the visit is mainly to introduce you to the home and find out how things work… however having read up i know this is a very different thing. Ive compiled a list of around 600 snagging items which i’ll publish when we do our snag which raised her eyebrows.

Changes in Planning

We were warned before that things on the plans we originally viewed were subject to change and expected things like the landscaping to move around however we recently discovered that plans had submitted a change in planning request for the next two phases of the development (ours being the first). This was further exacerbated by the developers building a path across the street from our house that did not contain the cut out for a road that was to be our view from the front window.

By visiting the councils website you can view the planning applications and see what changes are being proposed.

I was happy to see that the adjacent road was still there and that our view wasnt to be spoiled by 3 story buildings as a bit part of our buying the house was its location and outlook on the site.

Meeting the Site Manager

Last week i met the Deputy Site Manager to go through some concerns. My biggest issue was in managing our expectation. I wanted to be absolutely clear what we’d be walking in on when we finally exchanged contracts. Arranging a time was a pain in the bum as they only work 8am – 5pm weekdays which meant arranging time off at work in short notice. So on a muddy Friday morning we headed out to the site with our muddiest trainers on.

  • Drive – Having been promised that we’d fit 2 average sized cars on the drive I questioned how this would work as the garden is on a slight slope and i didn’t want to risk side by side cars slowly pushing any flagging or block paving out of alignment. The Manager said that it works best top to tail and that there would be room for our 2 cars this way.
  • Phone Line – One of the comments below suggests that Harron Homes don’t fit phone lines. The manager talked me through how this was done and explained that points were fitted as standard inside and just needed BT to hook them up to the local exchange.
  • Side gate & Fencing – The show homes have a side gate positioned at the front of the property however there’s only one gate for an area that is built so both houses could place their wheelie bins there. I wanted to make sure this gated area was ours alone and that we wouldn’t have to share. The Manager explained that in standard houses the gate is pushed back allowing easy access to any external Metres and that our gate led exclusively to our back garden.
  • Moving In Date – If you’ve been following the blog you’ll know that the moving in date keeps getting pushed back and back. Its at a point where no one will confirm a date at all. I believe this is due to a cock-up in the installation of services (gas, electric, water etc) on site which is managed through 3rd parties. Best estimates at present are the first week in December.
  • Planning Changes – I questioned the planning changes and placement of a path opposite our house that didn’t have access to the roads as displayed on the site plans. No clarification could be give however i suspect that this path is temporary as on all suggested amendments to the planning documents the road opposite is present. Fingers crossed this remains true as I don’t want my view of the valley spoiled.

Halloween Update

Our weekly visit showed that not much has moved on in almost 3 weeks now. Apart from our back wall reaching what seems like 10ft high securing our back yard from the road side and the entire site being secure so we cant even walk up to the front of the house again, the utilities still don’t look finished and the ETA for our moving in date looks like being put back again. In our mind it now looks like the weekend before Christmas before we’ll be in. The Harron sales advisor states the NSBC will be inspecting the property towards the end of the month so from that point onwards we’ll be looking for an official date.

It looks like we’ll finally be getting neighbors as 2 more properties have been sold on our row and the other row of houses look to have exchanged contracts. This is positive as if Harron Homes are pushing for completion then moving in date must be due.

At the moment i’m researching into alarm systems and will report back with what i find to be the best solution.

Solicitors Paperwork

We have finally relented and sent this back due to the solicitor emailing twice in one week saying Harron is pestering her for this as it is running over. We continue to find it odd that contracts can be exchanged when the house is actually not finished but we have learnt within this process that nothing has been about our needs and you basically get worn down.

The biggest concern we have had about sending the paperwork back is being forced to move when it is inconvenient, but we are now at the point where any weekend is inconvenient due to the build overrunning. We suspect that we will now be moving the week before Christmas as even though this has not been voiced it has been alluded to. We already know that whatever happens we will be in by the end of December as this is the end of the builders financial year.

Exchanging Contracts

There’s been a flurry of activity over the past 24 hours with both Harron Homes and the Solicitors bombarding our voice-mails and email with requests for us to complete. We planned on contacting them over lunchtime today but they managed to catch the wife before she left for work this morning. This activity started as soon as all the paperwork had landed back at the Solicitors.

Concerns about exchanging contracts

The wife has just had a conversation through the solicitor with Harron Homes who’ve said that if we don’t exchange right now that they will pull all the incentives we negotiated as part of the deal. We will not be held to ransom and they are pushing the limit of our patience (it takes a lot for me to get rialled up this far!). All we want is assurances that the deal won’t complete while we’re on holiday as we have things and people to organise!

Just called the sales rep on site and explained our concerns and asked if a slight extension of a week or so would be available if completion happens over the holiday. Shes promised to speak to the area sales manager today and get back to me.

Found the Directors email addresses online and sent in a carefully worded email. It bounced! It seems like they don’t want people emailing them directly so copied the email into the standard Harron Homes customer service email address and highlighted that i didn’t ant the email simply passed onto the site sales rep. Received an email stating the message had been passed to the area sales manager. I replied that this wasn’t suitable and that it needed dealing with directly by the customer service rep or passed upwards to someone who had influence.

Update: Harron has called the wife and have changed their tune. Now we’ve been given a moving in date of the end of the month which if they exceed will be the second weekend in December. If this happens they’ll refund our moving costs! Which is a great result. Needless to say I’ve booked the day off and will be gung-ho finishing the last of the packing. I need to call around and see if people are free to help us move!

Snagging Your New Build Home

Our moving in date is fast approaching so in preparation for the day in which we can visit the property, I’ve scoured the web looking for tips, tools and techniques on how to snag. I did look into hiring a dedicated snagger however it started to cost silly money and was upwards of £1000 which i cant justify for a few hours work. As a web designer, even I don’t charge that much as my day rate.

Preparation

To prepare for snagging look into the following:

  • Free Snagging Lists
  • Image Galleries of Found Snags
  • Read all of the forums about snagging

Understand that Harron Homes don’t want you to snag and that as with everything in the process its going to be a battle.
With all of this done I’ve compiled my own snagging toolkit which joins up all of the freebie snagging lists and some tips on tools and procedures that will help the site manager action the snags.

Download My Free Snagging List Here. (40k docx file)

The instructions for filling each section in are basically Location > position > fault > trade i.e.

back wall > top right > patchy paintwork > painter

Once you’ve compiled your list I believe its best to break down your action points into trades and send them to the site manager.
As always i’ll let you know how we get on. No date for snagging has been set yet but it should be before the 21st!

Build Update

double drive
Visited the site today and got a pleasant surprise. The site manager was there and it looks like we’re getting a block paved double drive (side by side not top to tail) which is brilliant. They’ve also put in grass around the back and he confirmed the electrics and water were now in on site. They’ve also sold all of the units in our block now too. Its curious how the neighbors have grass down the snicket which is an odd choice as the houses are south facing so i’d expect this to die out soon. The site manager is a lovely chap. Go and see yours as soon as possible!

Build Update

We have been up to see the house as we wanted to see whether we would be moving in next week as advised…It’s been a very stressful week. This is unlikely as the house has still not been signed off yet and has been moved for next week. The 2 car drive featuring block paving is down and this looks fantastic and the garden is so much bigger than we had pictured, this we are are really pleased about. The walls and fencing for privacy are excellent. We are really happy with how the house is looking and just want to move now as we’re 2 months overdue.

Whilst at site we got invited to look inside our house which we accepted as we really wanted to see how our choices looked. The kitchen is impressive. It looks ace! We were really impressed with what we saw. The tiling is fantastic and the wardrobe is bigger than we remember. From being invited in the house we got to see that the tiling is not the full tiling we ordered but we have made the sales adviser aware of this and it is going to be sorted. Also the back garden was very swampy/spongy and looks like it might have a drainage issue due to clay soil which is in abundance throughout Yorkshire. There were footprints suggesting someones looking into it however we’ve prompted the sales team again just to be sure.

There looks like there is still a lot to do and it looks like we will be moving on the second date (December) which was agreed which were happy about… At least we now know.

Build Update

We can’t make it to the site this weekend but have been told that it will pass the CML today (fingers crossed). This is when the NHBC check the build and are happy to provide the 10 year guarantee. Its going to be a few weeks before we can snag and do the tour where Harron show you around and explain how to use the new heating system etc. No idea of the tiling has been corrected or carpets and flooring are down yet.

I’ve asked the solicitor how long you get to move in as the site rep has mentioned if you complete one one day you can move in on the next but don’t know the implications of this. For our December move in date the movers can only fit us in on the day after we’re due to complete.

Mini update: As of 11.30am this morning the CML has been signed off!
block paved drive

If Your Mortgage Quote Expires…

Last Friday was a nightmare. We thought everything had been put to bed and were finally on the home stretch.

Late in the evening we received an email from the site sales letting us know that the mortgage offer we secured at the beginning of this journey was set to expire just 9 days before we’re due to move in. We totally forgot that even tho you pay to secure your mortgage that it had an expiry date! By all accounts we should have been notified 30 days before this was due however for whatever reason this message hadn’t been passed to us by our mortgage company.

So late that night in a real tizz we emailed our solicitor and the mortgage adviser asking what the state of play was. Would we need to pay anything? Would this change our repayment amount?

What were the implications.

To our amazement both parties emailed back the same night. We received assurances that this was not unheard of with new builds as they have flexible end dates and that there is a provision in place extending this three month time-frame to six month.

Now that’s great service all around!

Check with your mortgage adviser and make sure you have the same provision!

Novembers Stamp Duty Tax Cuts

The budget in November 2014 has changed how stamp duty paid on house purchases is calculated. It doesn’t really apply to us as Harron Homes are paying our stamp duty as part of their incentives however, for someone buying where this isn’t the case it means you don’t have to pay anything on the first £125,000 of the value of your property. This means that someone buying a property at the average family home price of £275,000 would save £4,500 in stamp duty. Not bad!

Snagging Your House Your Home Tour

As we’ve been away for a week, we arranged with some difficulty to postpone our move in beyond the customary 10 days from the CML being signed off til after we came back from holiday believing this would give Harron Homes time to fix some of the issues we noticed during our peak into the house from a few weeks ago.

Up until we visited we still hadn’t had any confirmation that we’d actually be in by the end of the week which meant having to do everything last minute.

We arrived late due to traffic having called ahead to give notice to the people on site and received a warm welcome from the site sales rep. It appears that some people are already in having moved in last week and more people are due to move in right up until Christmas Eve.

Having spoken to other people due to move into the site over email and based on what the sales rep had said previously we knew not to expect the ability to fully snag the house before moving in. This is contrary to everything you’ll read online about snagging a new build home however this is Harron Homes so you have no option but to play by their rules. With hope i took my snagging checklist.

The build isn’t finished and we were prepped to walk into a house where some things needed finishing off. I had hoped that the house would be ready to move in by now.
We’re really happy with the landscaping and architectural details outside despite our missing trees. The side of the garden has been raised by a foot lessening the slope caused by the house being built on a hill side.

We received a warm welcome by the site manager and were took to the house for our inspection. He explained that the tour should take no longer than 1/2 an hour and that the goal was to talk through the operation of the house. If we noticed anything as we went then they would be noted down to be rectified. At this point we lost hope of performing a full snag and with the light failing decided to fallow the plan set out for us.

We still love the house! The interior is great and build quality seems ok.

You’re shown:

  • Cooker
  • Hob
  • Where the water mains taps are
  • What the various features of the home are i.e. plumbing nuances in the downstairs cloak
  • We need to read a book on how the thermostat works
  • How to maintain windows and door tracking
  • Counter top electrical switching for fitted appliances
  • How the main pressurised central heating system works
  • How the hot water boiler works (this is hidden in the garage in the show homes)
  • Master electrical box

…as well as getting a general feel for the house.

During our tour we noticed a few things that needed snagging straight away. These include:

  • Incorrect tiling in downstairs cloak – They’ve replaced the glossy tiles we wanted with similar mat versions
  • Incorrect tiling finish in downstairs cloak – it has a skirting board on one wall which is mighty strange
  • Poor tiling finish in 2 upstairs bathrooms – this is due to their only partially tiling the walls which we snagged during an earlier visit. It looks like they’ve simply removed the capping and continued tiling above the original border. This has lead to large gaps filled with grout, an uneven finish where the previous join was with a noticeable sharp edge and chipped tiles along the previous join
  • Poor sealant around the bath, wardrobes and other features
  • A big crack in the exterior stone work under the window in Bed 2 – I raised this and was told if it was still a problem in 6 months they’d look at it

As mentioned previously there’s still a lot of finishing off to do which is not what we expected. Lots of bits looked like works in progress meaning we couldn’t have fully snagged even if we wanted to. It looks like they prefer to patch rather than fix any previous issues which is an ongoing concern. The cleaners were present during our tour however we were told that it would be re-cleaned prior to our moving in.

On a positive note we were told that after you move in they send the painters back in to fix any scuffed walls which is a nice touch.

As they’ve moving lots of people in pre Christmas we were told that the fixes required would probably be addressed some time in the new year meaning we’re going to have to live with a lot of problems pro temp. Not ideal but then you’re powerless to do anything about it.
Hopefully we can keep the site manager on side and get our snags rounded off as and when they occur for the next 2 years.

Updating Addresses

As we now have a final moving in date its time to call around all of your key services and give notice or update your details. Mobile phones, banks and credit cards are easy. You may incur a charge for cancelling TV or phone services. Expect long delays when dealing with power and gas companies and I suggest using an app like 0800 wizard to get local/national rate calls from mobiles by converting 0800s to 0333s.

License to Occupy

As we didn’t have access to a van until the day after we completed we asked the Solicitor if we could have a few days to move in. They said this was called a license to occupy and shouldn’t be a problem. The day before we moved the solicitor emailed saying we couldn’t have the extra day. Needless to say this threw us into turmoil. I made a quick call to Harron’s head office and asked why and if we could have the extension. The manager said this was fine and didn’t know why it had been denied. We were told that we just needed to hand the keys into the estate agents the following Monday.

Moving Day(s)

We completed on the Friday and awaited the money to land before we could have the keys to our property. The sales manager offered that we could store things in the garage while the process completed. Luckily we’d packed everything in smallish boxes meaning we could ferry our stuff using our cars. We completed at 3.30pm and continued moving everything we could.
The following day we had access to a large van meaning we could move our large furniture and appliances. Starting at 6am it took 3 hours to fill (all by myself) and took two trips. The following day i couldn’t move as all my joints had stiffened up!

Doing it in a single day

Before this experience I wouldn’t have thought that you could move in a day. I think if you prep right and have everything in boxes and centrally stored then this can easily be achieved. On the first day of our move some of our neighbors moved in at the same time and there were a few moving vans sat around waiting to be emptied. This meant that with a second or even third load waiting there would be time to spare at the end of the day to sort through things.

1st Day Snagging Lists

In addition to the snags identified during our tour we’ve noticed a few new problems with the house over the first few days. These are (in no particular order):

  • Wrong lino fitted to kitchen floors (however we like it so it will probably stay)
  • Hot & cold water feeds on both showers are reversed meaning we cant use the showers (Fixed within a few days)
  • No hot water feed to kitchen sink meaning we have to wash up by filling the kettle (Fixed within a few days)
  • Toilets flushing with hot water (Fixed within a few days)
  • Hot and cold water feed reversed to cloakroom sink (Fixed within a few days)
  • Bath water temperature is too low (Fixed within a few days)
  • All pendant lighting is too low meaning lampshades bang against doors when they’re opened
  • Scratches on kitchen worktop
  • Front room windows not fitted properly causing a draught
  • Immersion heater on meaning it would cost a fortune to heat (Just turned this off as the cylinder and separate boiler is enough to economically heat radiators and water)
  • Heating incorrectly setup so the boiler switched its self off and needed resetting a few times (Fixed within a few days)
  • Garage door wont open from the outside and needs manually faffing with to open from the inside
  • Holes in plasterwork under living room radiator
  • More cracked/chipped tiles noticed in all bathrooms
  • Connections for washing machines are unsafe as they’re a few cm away from electrical sockets
  • Lumpy lino in the main bathroom

To fix the hot water issues they’re going to have to pull up the bedroom carpets and floor, and cut a hole into the landing wall to rectify the feeds which should happen today (Tuesday). Windows and garage door have been promised to fix this Thursday.

There’s also no phone socket in the living room, just a blanking plate in the hall and a socket in the master bedroom. I hope i don’t have to have a flashing router in the master bedroom at night!
The thermostat is also difficult to work out and will require some playing with.

The site manager seems to know about many of the problems already however it would have been nice to be told these things were known and going to be rectified.

Wranglings: Your Clean and Tidy Deposit

Today Harron Homes contacted us about the clean and tidy deposit. After inspecting the house the issues identified were the oven was not clean enough (it has been cleaned 5 times) and seriously will not get any cleaner as it is a used oven, and the fact there are some bits on the kitchen floor. They also questioned the fact we had left the fridge and wardrobes as agreed with the buyer as this breached the contract despite the fact that he was happy for us to leave anything useful as it would save him money when he rented out the property.

The part exchange department told us this would impact on the deposit but could not specify what they would pay us. This we found bizarre as surely you would telephone with the figure your offering based on the issues.

In a strange turn of events we asked them if they wanted us to go clean the oven again and sweep the bits and they have authorised us to have the keys back to our old house to do this?!?! This is random but we’re hardly arguing if it means we get all of the money back.

We’ve always been skeptical about this money and thought it was never coming back to us but looks like we may actually get it even if it’s not all of it.

I do think that Harron Homes have a cheek highlighting there issues regarding what is clean and tidy after how they handed us our house as it was dusty and far from clean as they were still working in the house the day we completed.

Update: We did the clean up as asked. A few days later they’ve agreed to pay our clean and tidy deposit back! #epicwin

The First Fortnight

Merry Christmas! We’ve been in the house now for just over two weeks and have the following update:

It’s Snow Joke

It snowed over the Christmas holiday. No one came to grit the road. I don’t know if it was the Councils problem or if its covered by our grounds upkeep fee but nothing happened.

New Bins

Our bins arrived from the council in two separate deliveries? 3 bins in total. We’re sure we are now the envy of all our neighbors.

TV Aerial

Having decided to cancel our Virgin Cable account and opt for basic Freeview instead of Sky as we don’t watch that much live TV any more we asked aerialwaves.co.uk (tel:0113 8800 828) to help us out with a new aerial. £100 and 20 mins later our new aerial was fitting in the loft space meaning no unsightly antenna on the exterior of our property and tested TV lines in the three available rooms. They even threw in some free wall to set coaxial cabling.

Windows 0.9

The issue with our living room window being improperly fitted prompted a visit by the site manager and their glazing people. He said it wouldn’t be fixed today but managed to rejig the window setup so that the gap at least was closed meaning we’re not hemorrhaging heat any more.

Unsafe Washing Machine Pipework

At the same time the plumber arrived to fix our safety issues with washing machine pipework. He let the site manager know it was really an issue for the electrician however as one wasn’t available until the new year he instead dig out more of the wall and moved the pipework itself meaning we now have to have the wall re-plastered and painted in the not to distant future.

Persistent Boiler Issues

We still have issues with our boiler, a Glowworm that displays the error code F22. This meant that at least once a day we were left without heating or hot water. We called out the emergency plumber again and asked how this could be permanently fixed. He explained it was simply a matter of air being in the system and showed us where the air release valve on the boiler was, he also demonstrated that all of the radiators were partially filled with air too and we went around releasing the offending gasses until everything was water tight. If you do this yourselves then don’t forget to re-pressurise your boiler as releasing the air will cause the pressure to drop quickly.

Phone/Broadband Woes

Sky Broadband was due for installation on Christmas Eve. We received a text message on the Tuesday before saying this wasn’t going to happen and that we’d get an update on the 31st Dec. I called and the Sky team explained that the exchange needed upgrading for us to get our connection… it would have been nice to know before as we’ve now been within Internet for over a month in total.

Issues with your new address

As the new house isn’t on any databases we’ve had lots of trouble doing simple things like registering for an electricity/gas supply, buying things on sites like Amazon and moving bills. Some people in the development do have addresses already registered. We assume this is due to mail redirection however if like us, your having problems finding your address online you can update the post office who should already have the address on file, just marked as unused by emailing them via addressmaintenance@royalmail.com.

Furniture Fiasco

Our big red fabric chesterfield sofa is too big for the living room. We’ve looked everywhere and cant find anything we like even in the sales. This was a make do sofa as we have the same problem last time and we’re both reluctant to throw out a perfectly good sofa that’s only a few years old just for the sake of one of the french doors being able to fully open.

The site manager has asked us to put together a snagging list for their return in the new year. It’s a few pages long already. I’ll post it here with images once its finalised.

Snagging – 1 Month In

We’ve had a funny month due to it being Christmas so there’s not been many people on site. We’ve had the emergency plumber out three times now in addition to regular visits from the on site plumber and at present there’s still no fix for our central heating. All of the patching done so far has remained unfinished meaning we have cut outs and un-plastered and painted holes in the walls. One concern is how drafty the house is. The hall to garage door bumps and bangs all night and you can really feel the cold air coming in.

We’re trying to keep the site manager on side to get things done but our snagging list is growing by the day. Here’s where we’re at as of the 19th Jan roughly 1 month into having moved in.
Images coming soon.

Front of property

  • Front door chipped and scratched on both sides and splitting on the inside
  • The exterior window sill in Bedroom 2 is split straight through and needs replacing
  • We can’t open garage door from outside

Living room

  • French doors are marked on both sides and need repainting
  • Lh side window is not fit property and there is a draft/wind coming into the living room
  • Hole in wall under rh window sill needs fixing
  • Paint blemishes circled in pencil by the builders before we moved in need addressing
  • Pinhole on left hand wall
  • We were promised a phone socket in living room (the only points in the house are in the hall and master bedroom)

Hall

  • Pendant lights fitted too low. They hit doors when opened
  • Hall needs repainting due to patchy paintwork
  • Bottom of internal garage access door is unpainted
  • Draft strip on garage door has come loose and is ineffective due to I’ll fitting door
  • Underlay cut short between hall and kitchen

Kitchen

  • Scratch on counter-top lh next to sink
  • No stopper behind hall door. Even though there’s one in the show house!
  • Spotlight not working
  • 3rd fan setting inoperable on extractor fan
  • Plaster-work coming away in ceiling
  • (Badly patched) hole in the kitchen floor lino
  • Finish in corners of kitchen cabinets
  • Finish on ceiling around spotlights

Utility

  • Exterior door frame has damaged sill this can be seen with door closed from inside
  • Plaster-work and painting for amended pipework needs finishing (pipework was originally unsafe)
  • Ceiling finish around spotlights

Cloak

  • Remove skirting board
  • Finish tiling and grouting to adequate standard
  • Make sure tiles align properly
  • Chipped and blemished tiles need replacing

In short this entire room is an eye-saw and needs to be gutted and started again.

Stairs

  • Holes under handrail
  • Walls cracking at joints

Landing

  • Bannister not secure around landing
  • Pendant lights fitted too low. They bang against doors when opened
  • Radiator needs securing
  • Plastering and paintwork needed to complete previous repairs to pipework (when hot and cold water supply was reversed throughout the house)

Bed 1 (Master)

  • Door frame to en-suite is chipped
  • Wardrobe needs resealing

Ensuite

  • Tiling needs re-grouting
  • Sealant needs redoing everywhere
  • Cracked and chipped tiles need replacing
  • Shower door needs aligning as does not close

Bath

  • Cubicle needs sealing better
  • Bath and side panel needs resealing with load in place
  • Tiles need finishing better – join between half and full needs redoing and chipped tiles replacing
  • Grouting incomplete and misaligned
  • Flooring and appliances need sealing to ensure watertight
  • Tiling unfinished above door frame
  • Marked lino
  • Lino uneven behind appliances
  • Shower surround scratched
  • Plastic shower fittings keep falling off

Garage

  • Cannot open door from inside without manually adjusting struts
  • Boiler keeps erroring f22 (at present we have no central heating and its snowing outside!)
  • Garage floods approx 50cm (2ft) in when it rains

Back Yard

  • Back wall is not attached to house there is a visible gap that needs sealing
indoor pool
Our indoor pool
garage door
I’ll open the garage door… oh no wait, i cant!
painting issues
Shouldn’t the threshold between garage and entrance hallway be painted?
decorating issues
The decorators helpfully circled where they’d done a bad job before we moved in? NOW FIXED
ill fitting doors
Its drafty probably due to ill fitting doors.
chipped door
Chipped door… there’s nothing like making a first impression. NOW FIXED
pendant lampshades
none of the pendant lights actually allow pendant lampshades to be fitted
scratched worktop
scratched worktop
chipped doorframe
chipped door frame on the back door
bad grouting
ill fitting box? just grout the gap it will be fine :(
chipped tiles
chipped tiles and not the ones we picked.
weird tile
weird circular indentation on tile
leaking radiator
leaking radiator (and lots of boiler problems). NOW FIXED
skirting board
skirting board on one wall in a tiled room?
poor finish
poor finish where tiles meet door frames
poor finish again
poor finish again
poor finish again
poor finish in corners – i realise the tiles are knobbly but a professional shouldn’t leave it like this
partial grout
partial grout to back of toilet
poor finish near floors
poor finish near floors
holes in kitchen lino
holes in kitchen lino
spotlight not working
This spotlight has never worked… even on the initial tour. NOW FIXED
blown plasterwork
blown plasterwork in ceiling. NOW FIXED
cracks
cracks appearing everywhere. NOW FIXED (but ongoing)
handrail
holes left under hand rail. NOW FIXED
more cracks
more cracks
chipped tiles
chipped tiles in master bathroom
poor sealant work
poor sealant work
inconsistent finish
The downstairs loo looked like it was supposed to be grouted to the wall? should this be the same upstairs
sanitary ware
base of sanitary ware needs sealing to avoid damp getting through.
shower fittings
shower fittings falling off
scratched shower surround
scratched shower surround
poor tile finish
poor tile finish
different pendant light, same problem
different pendant light, same problem
more cracks
more cracks
shocking finish to bathroom
shocking finish to bathroom
shocking finish to bathroom
shocking finish to bathroom
ensuite doors
en suite shower doors don’t close. NOW FIXED
shocking finish to bathroom
shocking finish to bathroom
cracked tiles
cracked tile behind towel rail
patched wall
plumbing was back to front here’s how they fixed it… still waiting for patch and paint 5 weeks on. NOW FIXED
chipped tile
chipped tile
botched tiling
They only tiled 1/2 way up despite us paying for full tiling. Heres the botched repair leaving an uneven finish (to the touch)
more botched tiling
more botched tiling
poor finish and installation to skirting board
poor finish and installation to skirting board
door stop
show home has a door stop. none present when we moved in. NOW FIXED
window issues
ill fitting window plus its got sticker marks on it.
more sticker residue
more sticker residue
holes in paintwork
holes in paint work (no we haven’t tried to hang anything yet as the house has to dry out) NOW FIXED

Tackling the Tiling Manager

Tiling manager came to the house today and I can think of choice words to describe him, he was arrogant, defensive, argumentative, rude and shouting. During the exchange he told me it was my fault the tiling was wrong as I had placed my order for full tiling after the half tiling had occurred errrrr WRONG. After being called out for this he then decided it was the sales woman who had caused the fault as she had not placed the request for full tiling. Either way he was not prepared to take any responsibility for the errors despite our seeing all of this written down on our specification document.

I requested the tiles be fully taken off in the cloakroom and told him if I had been paying at the end I wouldn’t have paid as the work was shoddy and sloppy.

The tiling manager tried to tell me that the chips in the tiles and the holes in the grout were due to the house moving which is an interesting explanation I guess. Anyway he wants to clean all the tiles first and re-grout before he will consider re-doing the work.

On a different note the site manager was great he apologised for the tiler, intervened and assisted. He also sorted a plumber out straight away who has fixed the leak and arranged for the boiler to be looked at. He has told me they are placing the snagging list into trades and will then give dates for it to get done in bulk which I’m obviously really pleased about.

Boiling Point

The site manager kindly arranged for glow worm to come look at the boiler. A text was received the day before the appointment advising that they had been booked and would telephone before 9am on the day to give an approximate time of arrival. On the day no telephone call received and nobody attended to fix the boiler. So the saga continues with a boiler which works 25% of the time. The boiler just feels like an uphill battle as Harron Homes have done all they can and are now reliant on the boiler manufacturer resolving the issue. Its certainly frustrating with all this cold weather and patience has now run out as heat are necessary.

Error F22 – Damned You!

Water Leak Detected

leaking front window
leaking front window

Oh joy. The recent snow fall has resulted in our pre-broken window leaking water into the front room. We now dare not pull the curtain on in case it turns moldy.

 More Snags

With a lot of persuasion we’ve managed to get Harron Homes to agree to fix a majority of our minor snags (see the above images which have now been labelled as fixed) however more snags have been discovered.

  • Missing caps over screws in the en suite shower – as we couldn’t us it before we didn’t notice this.
  • Airing Cupboard door now wont close (the door has shrunk)

Things like our door issues, extractor fan, worktop scratches and window are being passed back through customer service (for what that’s worth)

Harron Customer Services

I had the pleasure of telephoning customer services and the call handler I had was new to Harron but incredibly helpful.  I discussed with him the charter which used to be on the website about issues being logged and emergency work being done in 24 hours and non-emergency within 5 days. I told him I can no longer see this on the website and he did not know if this was still the case.
I mentioned to him that I had contacted the NHBC about my warranty and that this was not logged with them, it turns out it would not be as it is apparently with the LABC. From speaking with the NHBC what was interesting is that you could log your snags with them, they would then write to Harron and give them 10 days to rectify them, if they were still not completed they would send an inspector out who would then commission the work and then bill Harron for it. What I found out was that they intervene if the snags are not rectified even before the 2 year period.
The reason I actually telephoned customer service was to follow up my complaint about the tiling manager (I was told they are having a meeting about him) and my boiler.

I was asked to go through my outstanding snags which I did and I was offered an inspector to come out and see these. Once further discussion occurred with his manager they removed this option, however this was finally agreed after negotiation as some of our snags require re-placements which cost money therefore need the inspector to authorise. I have been told he will telephone me in the next few days (the sceptic in me suspects the call will not come).

As helpful as the call handler was I was told that customer services are not dealing with snags and this is via the site manager. Everything we discussed will be re-directed to him for him to action.
I explained to the call handler my frustration is that no time scales are in place for the work and that I felt I had been patient and now needed these due to the abundance of issues with the house.
Following the conversation with customer services the site manager telephoned and I was given the details to sort the boiler myself and dates for my tiling to be done. It was also agreed that my snags needed to be bottomed. I am now at the point where we need to give the chance for the work to be done on the agreed dates.

Boiler Saga Continued….

I am (again) attempting to get my boiler fixed. I telephoned the company involved to find out why they did not attend Monday and it’s due to them going to the wrong address. I cannot understand why when they had telephoned the site manager to arrange the time and text me why they did not telephone to follow up why nobody was at the address.

On trying to arrange another appointment (bear in mind they have failed to attend 3) I am told that my area is very busy but this is on the area they do not work weekends. I am also told that I have to take more time off work to accommodate the appointment as they cannot book the job as the first or last appointment.

After lots of negotiation they have said they can narrow the appointment to morning or afternoon but cannot guarantee the first or last appointment so I do not need to take further time off work. As always there is no manager available and the call handler allegedly does not know the name of the senior managers within the company. I am assured that the manager cannot do anything for me so I do not need to speak with them as they cannot be flexible at all and this is the best they can do.

As always they can acknowledge my frustration and the inconvenience but they cannot do anything for me.

I am fed the typical call centre lines ‘my manager is away from their desk’ ‘my manager is unavailable’ ‘my manager is busy’ and ‘my manager will call you back’ when you know the manager doesn’t want to give you time of day. As always the call handler wants to get you off the line so you are guaranteed a call back.

I have to actually eat my words as surprisingly the manager did telephone back and opened with ‘I have no power’ ‘I cannot organise any set times’ and I was told repeatedly that nobody in the company has any power to be accommodating even-though they had continually let me down. Again my frustration was acknowledged with a lot of ‘I understands’.

After repeating how they had let me down and how they had inconvenienced me the manager eventually decided she would see what she could do for me to be more accommodating and guaranteed me the first appointment. What really annoys me is if I had not been persistent I would have been left with an appointment I could not do.
New Customers are Short Changed
On the old Harron Homes website  (2014) there was a page called “customer charter” that outlined their commitment to solving snags with your home.

harron homes customer charter
Customer Charter 2014

In it they commit to solving major faults within 1 day and at least taking a look at minor faults within 5. Needless to say 9 weeks in this isn’t how it has worked despite everyone’s best efforts.
The new charter doesn’t cover any of this meaning new customers are buying into a service where snags can last indefinitely. I think this lack of transparency is worrying for a business that has so many issues with existing sites at present.

To see Harron Homes new less transparent customer charter click here.

Harron Homes Changing Goalposts Once You’ve Moved In

I’ve blogged here previously about not being able to snag. From the outset we have been told time and time again that you don’t get an opportunity to snag your new home before you move in and that snagging happens over the 2 years of warranty once your in. On the day of our tour we were told this was simply to show us how things worked and if we noticed anything along the way that it would be taken care of however snagging was a separate issue left for once you’ve moved in.

Today we spoke to Harron Homes customer service about issues with our worktop and kitchen lino and were told that as we hadn’t spotted this during our home tour that it wasn’t part of our snagging and wouldn’t be remedied.

Needless to say we were gobsmacked!

So it appears that if you don’t snag on the day they tell you is not for snagging then none of your snags will get done.

Luckily the site manager is again a superstar and has said not to worry as he’ll honor what was originally stated and would get these items replaced for us.

This begs the question what the [expletive removed] are Harron Homes customer service doing? Why are the terms under which original customers have bought their properties not being changed. How come Harron homes can totally fail at following their own protocol whilst expecting customers to be held up to a shifting set of criteria and processes.
We are not amused!

Spare a thought for other Harron Homes Sites

We’ve been patient until now and have always tried to portray a fair and balanced view however Harron Homes Head office have really [expletive removed] me off today. While I’m sticking the proverbial boot in there’s a few sites that have opened over the past month namely Hazlemoor fold in Blackley and Saffron Park in Liversedge who are having their own problems. For example although the homes at Hazlemoor fold are £50,000+ more than the same homes at our beloved Queensbury Gardens, the people there have been plagued by poor build quality, unlivable homes and dangerous sites. On moving day one family couldn’t move in as the site manager said their home was unsafe for their children, the homes are falling apart and the finish is appalling. Every day there’s a new story that really makes us feel for the families up there.

Read some of the comments below if you don’t believe me and there’s a dedicated Facebook group where you can see first hand what they’ve had to put up with so far. It makes our site and our paltry problems seem like we’re living a charmed life!

In short… buyers be warned!

A visit from the Inspector

A workman came to start on our snags and I told him about the promise of an inspector coming out. He actually laughed and told me I was being fed some rubbish! I will say the telephone call promised never came and when this has been tackled with customer service I was told there is no point as they will just tell the site manager what work they have to arrange. So the inspector never called and what was promised came to nothing!

Tiling getting fixed (attempt number 2)

It was promised that the cloakroom would be stripped back and re-tiled if this is what I wanted by the Site Manager. Unfortunately this did not happen and only a few of the (many) the chipped or marked tiles replaced. Its hard to believe the tiling could get any worst but it did as the tiler has used mastic everywhere rather than re-grout. It riles me that I have paid for full tiling when I look at the mess of my bathrooms. The work is shoddy and if I had paid upfront I would not have made payment! Its hard to believe the tiling looked better before this ‘fix’.

goop fixes everything? tiling004 tiling003 tiling002 tiling001 tiling012 tiling011 tiling010 tiling009 tiling008 tiling007 tiling006

Tiling saga continued…

The Quality Manager has got involved with our tiling issues and at his request, we’ve sent him pictures of the bathrooms to assist us with getting it rectified. He has acknowledged that the tiling is diabolical but as of yet he has not managed to keep the promise of getting back to us within the timescale set. Its tedious having to keep chasing people up and if you set yourself a time scale stick to it! Fingers crossed the tiling is getting sorted Saturday but I am skeptical they can sort this in a single day.

LABC Warranty

I telephoned the LABC to check our house has a warranty and it turns out the house is not even on the system and is just covered by a cover note. This is concerning when a cover note was issued to the solicitor and that the house should be fully covered. This prompted a telephone calls to the solicitor and Harron Homes. According to the solicitor this has happened on other sites and its due to paperwork not being filed by Harron Homes. The Solicitor kindly offered to deal with Harron’s solicitors to sort this out.

I also contacted Customer Service and they stayed they would ring me back same day after making inquires however the phone call never came. I again have had to chase this matter and have been told by Harron Homes customer services that they need to speak with the Sales team?

This has currently not been rectified and I suggest everyone check their house has a warranty as this is an issue across more than our site.

Full cover would allow house owners to send snags through the LABC who can then strong arm Harron Homes into fixing the faults in days rather than months. Needless to say we suspect the confusion around this may be a ploy to either save money or avoid this scenario.

Boiler update

Our boiler is still not fixed after a whopping 10 weeks of waiting and freezing temperatures. Glowworm, the boiler company have been out and recommended that Harron Homes revisit our property and fit the boiler correctly due to it being overly ‘sensitive and modern’. By all accounts, the boiler measures the temperature between out and in flowing connections which need have to have a maximum variance of 11 degrees to stop the f22 error. Achieving this equilibrium takes 2 staff and is allegedly fiddly lasting around 1/2 a day. The job has now been passed back to Harron Homes and we are awaiting this to be sorted. Fingers crossed that some day this year we will have a boiler which works consistently!

Piggy in the middle

I contacted Harron’s Customer Service as recommended by the Site Manager. Customer Service said I shouldn’t send any issues to them and to refer everything to our Site Manager. Customer Services have made decisions about requests we’ve made as per policy and alleged they have spoken to our Site Manager and Deputy. When questioned, the Site Manager and Deputy stated they did not say what Customer Services have advised. We contacted Customer Services again who then conceded and said all decisions are wholly with the Site Manager.

Reading this is exhausting so imagine what its like dealing with this and having 3 people telling you different accounts of the same request. All I ask for is consistency. Can Harron’s team please start to read from the same hymn sheet. It’s hardly rocket science.

Harron Homes’ Customer Service Managers

I have made several requests to speak with a manager, this is always politely declined and a message is taken and emailed to them to contact me. The phone call from the manager never comes and conveniently when I’m on the phone they are ‘in a meeting’ or ‘away from their desk’. The customer service operators work within the brief of keeping the customer from the manager but fail you by taking messages which are never responded to. It raises the question are the messages actually passed on? And if they are, it suggests ignorance at management level and the total disrespect towards the customer.

Problems with our houses design

Having moved in there’s a few things we’d question about the design and layout of the house (a Tiverton AKA the Windsor on newer builds)

  • Pendant lights – These are all a standard size which begs the question why have they been positioned in front of doorways as when you as even a modest lamp shade your door bangs against them. In the kitchen the suggested room layout puts the dining table in the centre of the open space however the light fitting for this room is towards one end meaning you cant have lighting overhanging your dining table as you would expect.
  • Phone points – There looks like there’s one in the hall (under a blanking plate) and a fitted point in the bedroom. Wheres our internet router supposed to live? Putting it in the bedroom means a veritable disco of flashing lights in the corner of the room all night. Wouldn’t it have been better to put one in the front room.
  • Off centre windows – In all bedrooms the windows are off centre in the available space. this means curtains look strange and fitted incorrectly.
  • Nothing is square – if the tiling and skirting boards are to be believed then no walls or ceilings in the house are square. There’s no gap at one end of the bathroom and a 3/4 inch gap at the other end above the tiles in our bathrooms and furniture leans away from the walls.

These niggles seem small however on a day to day basis they’re very annoying. I’m sure we’ll get used to it eventually.

LABC update

It’s been nearly a week since we spoke to the LABC and basically we’re no further on. The solicitor has not updated us as they are awaiting a response from Harron’s solicitors, Harron Homes customer service are unable to update us as there waiting for an update from sales and the LABC cannot update us as they are awaiting the paperwork from Harron. Basically were in the hands of others, trying to be patient but its annoying as there is nothing we can do to move this along. The solicitor is checking there is nothing serious we should know about as the warranty hasn’t been actioned so here’s hoping this gets sorted soon and the process speeds up!

Tiling update

We’re nearly a week on and we still do not know what has been authorised in regards to the tiling. It feels like the quality manager is unable to meet our request and is avoiding telling us the outcome. I am willing to consider the fact he is genuinely a busy guy busy negotiating for us to get us what we want which is why its taking so long. Who knows? but the thing is you can’t help immediately thinking the worst possible outcome due to no feedback when direct questions are not being answered. My concern is the tilers come on Saturday and we have no agreement of what work will be done, also as we have been told door frames need to be removed for the work its hard to envisage that all the tiling will be complete in one day. I’m just hoping that the quality manager doesn’t screw us over and drop us an email at 5pm Friday with what is going to happen as that would seriously take the mick. All I want is the discussion which was suggested by him to know what’s going to happen. Anxiety is high over the tiling and we just want some assurances that its third time lucky in getting this job done properly!

LABC/NHBC Update

Having spoken to the site manager it appears that we’re not LABC registered for a reason. That is that most of the early part of phase one are actually NHBC registered. We called to check and nope, we’re not covered their (yet) either. The saga continues…

Boiler Fixed.

Its taken over 12 weeks but the guys finally got their act together and balanced our boilers pressure correctly. Having 4 days of consistent heating has made the house toasty! If your boiler errors with the code F22 then it takes 2 men 1/2 a day to balance the boiler. Hopefully all of the other houses on our development have had the same fix applied?

Next stop looks like its going to be the tiling (again). The site manager’s manager is in the house this morning inspecting the work. We have an email from someone claiming to be the quality manager saying they’ll do ‘whatever is required’ to fix our issues however this latest manager wants to double check that its right before he commits to anything. Our issue is that we have conflicting views from people… lets see what he decides.

3 month round up

It has been over 3 months since we moved into our Harron Homes and here is a summary of things we have learnt and how things have progressed.

Snags

  • It has taken 13 weeks for Harron homes to fix our central heating boiler. We now have constant heating. Despite being told it was air lock issues, boiler needing replacing, radiator bleeding problems in the end it took Glow worm to identify it had simply been installed incorrectly taking 2 men ½ a day to fix.
  • It has taken 13 weeks for Harron Homes to fix an incorrectly fitted window to our front room. This has now been rectified and the window no longer has a draft or leaks water.
  • Tiling throughout all three bathrooms has still not been rectified. So far there have been 2 attempts at the tiling and each attempt to put it right brings more faults and has failed to replace cracked, chipped and poorly grouted tiles. Attempt 3 is now scheduled for next week so fingers crossed this is successful and due to the issues with the tiling we have been offered a free tiled floor in the cloakroom.
  • Minor snags such as shortening pendant lights, painting and re-plastering has occurred and there are very few jobs left in this area. Plaster work has been made worse by the Harron Homes team due to bodged repairs.
  • Hole in the kitchen lino floor is still not fixed. As of yet we are unclear when the lino will be refitted however we have been promised the entire room will be replaced.
  • Scratches to the worktop and chunks out of the back door frame continue to be an issue and as of yet there are no dates as to when this will be fixed.
  • The front door has been fixed but only half of it was repainted leaving an uneven finish, we are still waiting for the other half to be painted.
  • The garage door now opens this took 8 weeks for this to be fixed
  • Double doors into the living room are water damaged, these have been replaced with door that have cracks in the seal and full of dirt as they have not been cleaned properly before they were (half) painted.
  • Back Garden has no drainage and this floods and is like a swamp, this is something which has been repeatedly raised and not dealt with. Be warned this issue is not just at our plot.
  • Exterior pipework is unfinished and needs to be corrected so that it is properly fixed to the outlet and wall and terminates within the relevant drains as opposed to being directed to their approximate locations.
  • Fixing the Internal fire door has been bodged. We’ve had this independently inspected and been advised it is not up to code.
  • Grouting around the kitchen window in front of our kitchen sink has a really uneven finish and shows up every splash. Wiping it clean takes off the paint.
  • Main bathroom ceiling is wonky and the top inch on one side is filled with grout tapering off to a 0.5cm grouted area on the opposite ceiling wall edge.
  • Bathroom wall around the window is not straight (causing us tiling issues)
  • Promised phone socket in the living room is missing
  • To date the mastic man hasn’t arrived to finish off our cloakroom.
  • New damage has been done to the adjoining wall in our bedroom due to the works in the en-suite. We expect this to be resolved as part of the work

Useful Information

  • If you leave a key with the site manager for snags to be completed things get done whilst you are not there, when you get home you know tradesmen have been in but you end up playing spot the difference as you are not told what work is being undertaken.
  • When snagging is undertaken by the builders whilst you are at work be prepared to come home to a mess as they do not clean up after themselves. We have had workmen leave dust all over the carpets, dust and plaster over clean pots in the kitchen, plaster over the kitchen floor and mess our furniture. By all accounts ‘they’re not used working on homes that are lived in’.
  • Be prepared for more damage to be done to your property when repairs occur. We have had paint on our carpets from re-painting, white paint being splashed over the magnolia walls, damage to our bathroom and kitchen floors whilst undertaking the tiling, mastic all over the bathrooms and paint on the glass of the internal doors
  • Be prepared for a job being half done examples of this is our front door was repaired and only half of it repainted, the internal garage door had only half the insulation strips fixed, when doors have been changed the hinges have been placed at different parts of the door frame so there are big chunks in the framework and it is unfinished, doors have been partially glossed, the ceiling was filled but not sanded down or painted, 2 out of 3 pendant lights were shortened so 1 looked a bit odd until it was adjusted and the holes in the wall were fixed but the water damage was not sorted.
  • The stairs will crack as they are placed in the house as a whole, apparently it doesn’t matter how the stairs are fitted this will always occur and is a known problem.
  • It has taken 3 months for us to be told by the council what band we are in, now this has been sorted a lump sum is required as this has been backdated.
  • It has taken 3 months for the water board to contact us as this is how long it has taken for Harron Homes to contact them with the relevant information according to the correspondence they sent out.
  • The Gas, Electric and Water direct debits are inflated until the companies can get a gauge on how much these will cost. At present we anticipate paying 1/3 of their quoted fees based on 3 months use during winter… over summer it should be less.
  • Customer Services encourage you to have everything agreed in writing. We have found even if things are in writing this does not make a difference and when requesting this to occur it rarely does.
  • Check out the 10 year building warranty and make sure the information has been sent to the right governing body. Our NHBC warranty is not in place, according to the NHBC and the solicitor this is due to Harron Homes not sending the information which has been requested. We had originally been told to check the LABC which is a different body and not one our home was covered by.
  • Customer Services pass logged jobs onto the site managers and in their own words ‘the site managers have more power than us’. It is a waste of time contacting them.
  • It took a month for the bins to be on the bin round so we had to make trips to the local tip to start with. Now we are on the bin round our bins are not always emptied as the council cannot always access the bin due to the building work which is occurring on site. To date we’ve had our bins collected a total of twice in the past 13 weeks.
  • If you want to escalate a matter within Harron Homes this is impossible. We have asked for details to do this and have been told by people across a wide range of departments that they will not give out the information for this to happen as they do not want to get involved. If you speak with Customer Services though they will send you the complaint procedure, we will let people make their own judgement about this process.
  • Harron Homes remind you they are a small company when you start questioning systems and processes. I am still unclear why this would prevent a company providing good customer service.
  • Currently we have no street lighting and this is a safety issue.
  • We still do not have a phone line or access to the internet and we have been told a long line of reasons as to why this has not occurred. According to Sky the infrastructure should have been ready for the 14th January 2015. What is really frustrating is that some houses have internet and this has not been equitable, we have been without for nearly 4 months now.
  • When they build your home they use the plans as a guide. The builders have artistic license to make adjustments if the build is slightly off spec. This is why we have a loft hatch outside our bathroom and not positioned in front of the water heater room as it is in the show home. This means if the house design doesn’t make sense i.e. in our case phone sockets in the hall, they have the ability to change the plans.

Lies Told

  • We were told by the site sales manager that “the water meter has been cemented over so we cannot give you the meter number so until we can Harron Homes will be paying for the water of the site”. We received a back dated water bill so this wasn’t accurate.
  • We were told “If you provide me with a breakdown of works required I will ensure this is carried out with no argument”. This was put in writing and has not been honored and totally ignored by everyone spoken to.
  • We were told “Your warranty is with the LABC”. It is actually with the NHBC and 13 weeks in we still have not been registered by our solicitor due to Harron Homes sitting on the paperwork (now fixed).
  • We have been told varying solutions to our tiling including that we could have the cloakroom restarted from scratch. This agreement came from the site manager (verbally) and a quality manager (in writing). This is not going to happen as this should never have been agreed.
  • This is the most random which could be true or a big major lie ‘Mr Harrison (an owner of Harron Homes) is concerned about the hole in your lino’ SERIOUSLY?? Out of all my issues this is his biggest concern, can’t say were convinced that this is true!!

Other concerns

  • We have received copies of emails from Customer Services containing other home owner’s information in the form of email threads whilst corresponding with Harron Homes. This means that your information is not always kept private and mistakes happen.
  • The grass out back looks like its dying. This is to be expected with a north facing back garden that gets no light.

Positives

  • The build of the house is fantastic and all of the issues we are having is due to the contractors that Harron Homes have used rather than the builders. This is an important thing to remember when addressing the snags.
  • The site managers do seem to be on our side and can be heard arguing with contractors to get us the solution we want.
  • Now that our heating is working consistently we can see how the house retains heat and this is a massive positive as the heating does not need to be on that much.
  • We still love the house, despite all the difficulties and battles we have had it has not tainted our view of the house. It is starting to feel more like home and it is getting there.
  • There has not been as much cracking as expected, we have anticipated this since we have moved in and we have not had much of this. It could be down to the lack of heating but either way we are surprised at this.
  • Double Drive at the front of the house, this is a major blessing as we are not having to park on the road. This is one of the things we are glad we kept asking for as its fantastic.
  • The kitchen we picked out we love this. The oven is far better than we expected as we originally thought it would be too small but is fine.
  • The wall we have around the back garden, we continue to be happy with this and pleased we do not have fencing. We like the privacy this gives to the back of the house and the fact it will be low maintenance.

Tiling attempt 3 and 4

As you are aware the tiling has been an ongoing saga and we are not quite at the end of this issue. We were promised by one of Harron Homes Contracts Managers that our tiling work would be done without argument, this did not happen and when he could not uphold his word he would not take phone calls or answer emails from us. As he was not prepared to tell us this would not occur he made the site manager deliver this news.

As Harron Homes went back on their promise in writing this then led to Contracts Manager #2 coming along with the deputy site manager and inspecting the bathrooms. This by the way was inspection #4 which begs the question as to whether anybody talks to each other and why 4 inspections had to occur. During this visit it was iterated that Contracts Manager #1 had agreed to something he should not have got involved with and should never have promised us anything as he had never inspected the work. This then led to Contracts Manager #2 offering us a different proposal which to be honest was not well accepted as what we were promised was not honored even though it was in writing. We were unhappy with this and wanted to escalate the fact Harron Homes were not honoring what they promised but was blocked with this as Contracts Manager #2 advised he did not want to get involved with this and we should be solution focused. Harron Homes please note it is not okay to promise things in writing and not honor this. Cutting a long story short we were subtly backed into a corner as we had nowhere to raise our discrepancy so we had to agree to what was proposed. At this time we were reminded about how Harron Homes is a small company and do not promote or assist with escalation as they are not the NHS, after perseverance Contracts Manager #2 said he would raise my issues but I doubt this ever occurred. As a gesture of goodwill we were offered a free tiled floor in the cloakroom which we accepted with apprehension due to the state of our current tiling.

When the tiler attended for attempt #3 all I can say is there was a lot of swearing and he had different ideas on how the tiling should be tackled compared to Quality Manager #2. We got the tiler which was recommended from other Harron Homes sites and has work has been very good as he places high standards on himself but at times he has been hindered by the instructions he is forced to follow which go against how he would like to work. Due to the enormity of rectifying all 3 bathrooms this led to the work going over schedule resulting in attempt #4. At this point we were very happy as the cloakroom is a vast improvement and it was agreed the bathroom and en suite would be fixed the following week.

Attempt #4 did not go too well as this led to us identifying that the bathroom wall was uneven which became problematic as this led to the tiling work coming to a halt in this room as the tiler wanted the whole wall ripping off, skimmed and then the tiling to occur where as his boss wanted him to continue tiling and back-fill. In the en suite bathroom attempts to get the tiles off the walls began which again caused problems due to the thickness of the tiles. This has led to the wall having holes in and falling down on the small areas which have been started. This work was also stopped as the recommendations of the tiler were that the tiles needed to be taken off completely and a different tile used as what we had picked should have only been used for a feature wall.
On both attempts the site manager was present to supervise but it was bizarre how he could not authorise any of the recommendations of the tiler and this had to go through the Contracts Manager. To me it seems pointless having someone overseeing a job if they cannot make any decisions if things go to plan. So due to the lack of decision making this has led to the tiling not being finished.

The Contracts Manager has been to our home and inspected the incomplete work. We have voiced our concerns about refitting the sanitary ware in the cloakroom and have been assured this shouldn’t be a problem. The main bathroom has been a bigger job than anyone expected and an uneven wall means they’re having remove and replace a large section. Having looked at our ensuite he agreed that a piecemeal job was causing more damage than it was fixing and has agreed to take off all of the tiles, fix the walls and start afresh. We have been given the option of picking less difficult tiles this time which we’re happy to do if it makes the job easier and minimises future issues.

New faces

There has been a significant change in the sites management team. This means we’re anticipating having to start again with negotiating many of the snags as there doesn’t seem to be any official record of what has been requested or agreed.

Harron Homes Courtesy Call from Customer Services

This week Harron Homes customer services gave us a call to see what snags were outstanding and what still needed to be done. This raised alarm bells as surely they should know this when they have the snagging list and so do the site managers. What came out of this telephone call is that neither party is communicating with the other and that the snagging list has got bigger due to Harron Homes workmen damaging the property and causing further damage to the original snags. Customer service’s  assured us they would follow this telephone call up with an e mail about what we had discussed and this has not come.

Tiling Attempt #5

The main bathroom as you are aware has a ceiling which is not level and a wall which is not level. When the contracts manager came to visit he told us that to do the best job of fixing this it would be to rip everything out but as it was a new bathroom he cannot see why we would want to do this and would like to try and fix it a different way by re-skimming the ceiling and realigning the tiles which are uneven due to the wonky wall as this would cause us the least hassle.

The work on the tiles has been completed this week and all we can say is that they are still uneven, there is not a smooth finish, the grout is of different thicknesses/uneven and the work around the window you can see the edge of the tiles and the seal is bending. The issues we have are that;

  • It’s obvious Jonathan, our preferred tiler hasn’t been involved in this work.
  • This work was carried out without us present, it was stipulated strongly we had to be present for this work due to the number of issues we are having with this particular job and by going against this agreement makes us feel they are trying to cut corners with this job.
  • The tiling is still not right and it is getting worst the more attempts which are occurring.
  • The tillers we stipulated did the work as we know they do a good job were not used.
  • This section of tiling has been worked on but the other tiles which need replacing have not been touched (this is most likely a blessing looking at the standard of the repair)
  • We were not told this work was going to be undertaken or asked if it was acceptable to go ahead without us present

What compounded our angst was that we didn’t arrive home until late on Friday so couldn’t discuss this with anyone. Having spoken to the new site managed he confirmed that no one was supposed to have done any tiling work that day and he assumes that the manager of their contractors took it upon themselves to try and fix the work independently. This begs the question why wouldn’t you do a good job if you know there’s an ongoing problem? Secondly we were assured that the work would be quality checked however on when questioned we were told that they didn’t have time to do it.

On a positive note the workmen have been very considerate and have made a great job of cleaning up after themselves this time and we managed to get a good nights sleep despite the ensuite being stripped back to bare wall.

Fobbed off again

Well after emailing and telephoning the contracts manager about the issues we had with the tiling last week and being repeatedly told he would telephone us, today customer services advised that he was no longer dealing with us. The reason for this is that he is not on site every day and that everything now has to go through the site manager. I understand that as the senior he wants things dealing with at a lower level and agree with this model of working. What is frustrating is that for 4 days I have been told he would be in touch by customer services and the site manager. It is disappointing that he failed to communicate his exit strategy and the plans for site to take over. The site manager promised us that he would personally oversee our tiling work due to the number of errors occurring and that he would personally inspect it. Just goes to show that when things run over schedule and problems occur people bail at the first opportunity and do not want to take responsibility for their decision making. Customer Services advice is take it up with the site manager. Overall I would have more respect for the contracts manager if he had just picked up the telephone and spoken to me about this rather than ignoring me for 7 days and getting others to relay his decisions.

Tiling Update

The walls in the en-suite are now ready for the tiling to go ahead we have been told that moisture resistant boards have been used so that the walls do not need skimming. We are not too sure about the truth of this due to conflicting advice online. Also if the tiles are removed in the future does this mean the wall will fall down? We would welcome advice on this matter as we are clueless as to whether this is true or a way of cutting corners.

A lot of things have moved forward with the tiling this week as we now have 2 days identified for this work to be (fingers crossed) completed. We really want this right now as it has been going on for months and are hoping that due to having so many issues that the tillers will bring their A game.

200 comments!

A big thank you to everyone who has shared their stories in the comment section below. Keep sharing your tales (good and bad) and feel free to ask any questions.

E S C A L A T I O N is a dirty word

Due to the issues with two contracts managers we have wanted to escalate to their managers within Harron Homes. As always when an escalation request is mentioned harron homes have gone deathly quiet and ignored us this applies to customer services and 1 of the contracts manager’s . The reason we have wanted to escalate is;

  • Requests in writing not being adhered to
  • Being ignored by contract managers (in fact this apples to everyone) when we have e mailed, telephoned and left them answer phone messages
  • Agreed actions not occurring for example work in the home not being supervised, agreed jobs not being actioned in agreed time scales and lack of communication regarding jobs being undertaken
  • Advice given by tradesmen conflicting with the contract manager’s recommendations
  • Lack of attention to detail meaning works need to be revisited on numerous occasions.

Our experience is that nobody wants to assist you in escalating any matters, it’s as though everyone is in each other’s pockets and they don’t want to get each other in trouble. As nobody will help you escalate issues that arise or allow you to make senior management aware of s**t service it make you think that they do not care about you as a customer and that they can treat you however they please. As we keep telling customer services, site managers and contracts managers ‘It is not okay’ to keep treating us the way you do and ‘it is not acceptable’ to give different messages as the one thing Harron Homes is good at it inconsistency and contradiction.

The fact that we’re being told by everyone that they agree and “its not good enough” and “you shouldn’t have had to wait this long for this issue to be resolved” just adds insult to injury.

Harron Homes official complaints procedure (Feb 2015)

The following is taken directly from an email we received on February 10th.

We hope that Harron Homes can deal with any concerns or defects that may arise, however, if you do not feel that your site team has dealt with your concerns effectively and you wish to speak to somebody else please contact our Customer Service Team who will investigate your complaint further and respond accordingly.

The below complaints procedure shows the escalation process that will be adopted when dealing with any customer complaint.

  • Any complaint should be sent in writing to our Customer Services Department. The Customer Service Coordinators will confirm receipt within 48 hours and following their investigation of the reported issues will provide a full response within 10 working days.
  • If the response is not satisfactory you should advise the Customer Service Coordinator who will then escalate the complaint to The Contract Manager, Field Sales Manager or the Customer Service Manager. Again following further investigation of the matter a full response will be provided within 10 working days of the escalation request.
  • Hopefully at this point your complaint will have been addressed to your satisfaction, however if this is not the case then a further written communication should be sent into the Customer Service Manager detailing why you feel the matter has not been addressed effectively. The matter will be escalated to the relevant Department Head or Director for their input.  A full response will be sent by the Customer Services Manager on behalf of the Director or Senior Manager within 10 working days.

Please note that all formal complaints must be in writing and can be submitted on email to customerservice@harronhomes.co.uk or to Colton House, Temple Point, Bullerthorpe Lane, Leeds, LS14 9JL.

Bad Press

Home owners at another site in Lindley have gone to the press to highlight their plight. It seems that Harron Homes have been neglecting and bodging fixes on their builds for almost a year now. A radio interview was conducted today 8th April 2015 on BBC Radio Leeds at 7am with a chat started at 8am. You can also read about it here http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/lindley-residents-slam-house-builder-over-8998215.

My concerns are not that Harron Homes might go bust part way through a build as some have suggested but that they seem to be in absolute denial about how they’re treating customers. We’re constantly paid lip service and told its not good enough, and you shouldn’t have had to wait that long etc however there’s a massive lack of action or transparency about whats being done about it.
As a customer what I want is:

  • A central point of contact within Harron Homes who acts as an advocate for our issues internally. They should record and manage all customer and internal communication about each issue and have access to information on timescales, challenges and the authority to kick ass to get things done. They shouldn’t be afraid to tell us if somethings not going to plan as knowing about it is actually a good thing otherwise we’re left in the dark as we are now. We need a schedule of work. At present your passed form pillar to post and no one seems to want to be responsible to us the client.
  • It being impressed on Harron’s contractors that they are responsible for delivering the highest quality solution for Harron’s clients. The focus presently seems to be about turning things around quickly using the minimum resource which means errors being piled on top of errors and for example in our case our main bathroom being pretty good to start with and getting progressively more bodged up as things are being ‘fixed’. Its exhausting.
  • Quality control on all snags. They do check houses as they’re progressing however there is no final sign off on a house as things are being done at the last minute and again in our case while we were trying to move in. So we know there was no final sign off on our home and no chance in hell it would have passed the pressure test they’re supposed to do on each home when getting an environmental certificate (due to our windows being ill fitting). Everything needs to be quality checked independently of the contractors by someone not tasked with controlling spend. Of course this needs to be balanced but it cannot be cost effective for contractors to be constantly revisiting a property to fix the same issue over and over again.
  • The lived on site being fit for purpose. At present we’re being drip fed utilities and services. We’ve still no phone connections, partial street lighting has just gone in and our bins aren’t being collected due to the council jobs-worth’s not being prepared to enter the site while construction is ongoing. It would help if Harron could create a solution for these problems as no one else is empowered to do so.

With hind sight Harron Homes should also:

  • Let new buyers snag. The snags don’t have to be done before you move in but knowing they’re on the list would be a great tension reliever
  • Document the buying process and include 3rd party deadlines and timescales. You’re left in the dark and demands are made giving no time to make rational decisions.
  • Encourage community groups. Dealing with a single point of contact on site wide issues must be easier.

By allowing customers to have this kind of service Harron Homes would have

  • Happier clients
  • Less snags! People get pedantic when they’re being messed around
  • Better reputation
  • More sales & an easier sales process
  • Happier staff and contractors
  • Less theft (from disgruntled staff)

If Harron Homes would like to get together with myself and possibly some other customers I’m sure we can help to create systems and processes that not only make the snagging issue go away quicker but also help improve the speed and profitability of all works. I for one would donate my time.

Snagging Update

It looks like our cracked window sill in bed 2 has been replaced and chips in the front and back door frames have been fixed. The worktop looks like its had the scratch fixed too but as no one tells us whats happened we’ll probably never know.

What concerned me about this latest round of snagging is that the contractors just turned up one morning out of the blue. The wife called the site manager, deputy site manager, customer service and contracts manager to verify the identity of these individuals but could not get a response so let them in. They could have been anyone! Luckily for us they were legitimate and fixed some things.

Fingers crossed that the tiling goes to plan. They’ve tried to push through tiling directly onto board but as the previous tiles were onto a skimmed wall and that my bro who’s a plumber has suggested such, that we again get the job done right and not a bodge. We have infinite patience and are happy to wait until things are right before tiling works start and want this done right in one go. If they have to come out again we will be majorly P*!$ed off.

Progress

Since all the media coverage our site was allocated a snag coordinator which involved going through the snagging list AGAIN. After this conversation things started moving quickly with the promise that all the remedial snags will be completed within a week and the contracts manager making contact. We are pleased that the contracts manager finally spoke with us as he has intervened with our tiling and authorised the wall in the en-suite to be skimmed for an even finish (It only took a week for someone to agree this was needed). As our tiling is a major issue the contract’s manager has now took control of this (again) and has promised to supervise this job himself to ensure that it is finally right. We are very happy with this outcome as the contracts manager has a good eye and is not one to cut corners. We now have an agreement with the contracts manager that he will present us with a schedule of works on Tuesday it now feels as though there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Harron Homes ‘Sacks’ Customer Service Dept

We end the week with the knowledge that all of Harron Homes’ customer service department has been… well let’s call it sacked. This information has come to us via social media due to tweets which have been sent from ex Harron Homes customer service team members. This has left us with un-ease as to what will happen next, guess we will have to see what Monday brings and I really hope we do not have to repeat the snagging list yet again!

We feel sorry for the staff however ineffectual they were as you cannot forget these are real people with lives and responsibilities and not just voices on a phone.
The question still remains will contractors be held responsible for sloppy work or has the buck been well and truly passed by Harron Homes head office?

6 month round up

Snags

On the whole most of our snags are done now. The paintwork snags have not been completed to a good standard but we are now drawing a line with these and getting the decorator to sort these when we decorate. Also whilst some of the snags have been undertaken damage has been done to the property such as our bathroom door now has dents in it and there are some specks of paint on the hall and bedroom carpet

For us our snags were completed whilst we were on a two week holiday. We trusted the site manager with our key and property which was a really big thing due to all of the issues we have had for the past six months. We are pleased to say this gamble paid off and the property was left clean and tidy.
The snags we still have outstanding are;

  • Cloakroom tiling
  • Drainage in our back garden
  • Block Paving
  • Flooding Garage

Tiling

En Suite

The en- suite was ripped out, re-skimmed and then re-tiled with different tiles that made the job easier. The old 3D tiles were the cause of many problems. This approach really sorted out all our issues and it now looks really good. We are really happy with this room and have no complaints.

Main Bathroom

The main bathroom has had bits and pieces completed but the main job was tiling on a wall which was not level. The tiling in this area is significantly better but it is still not perfect. The imperfection is only visible very close up and for the sake of finishing this room we have made the decision to call it a day as we believe this is the best it is going to look. The only way this room could be 100% correct is if the wall had been re-skimmed so that it was level however Harron Homes have refused to do this. They also replaced our shower door and flipped it around so you didn’t have to reach around the open door to turn on the water. The ceiling has been leveled so no 1 inch+ discrepancy on one end. The finish isn’t great around the edges but as we’ve said before we’ll let it go as enough is enough.

Cloak Room

As the smallest room in the house where you sit and have nothing to do but look at the walls, any issues jump out at you. The cloakroom has had 4-5 tiling attempts and we are sorry to say this room is still a disaster. The finish is still atrocious. We have chipped tiles, holes in the grouting, uneven tiles, careless mastic work and on the whole one big complete mess! The site manager has come to inspect the work and told us that the issue is the tiling but even if they did more work it would look no better as this is what happens when they use this tile. I asked the site manager if he would have this work in his home or the show home and after lots of hesitation he answered yes. Due to being in dis-agreement with the site manager he told me I had to talk to the NHBC as they would need to come involved now. We have made customer services aware of our angst and issues with the tiling and they have been fantastic as they have met with the MD and the quality manager is now going to undertake a second view of this room. The NHBC have also been contacted and they have written to Harron Homes on our behalf they have been really helpful and explained what happens next from them.

Drainage

Whilst we were away our wall has acquired tennis ball size holes in the exterior of our garden wall. This is supposed to help our elevated back garden drain as it is constantly waterlogged when it rains. At present no water escapes through these holes and the groundwater seeps up and across our adjoining road from the base. We have asked about French drains which would provide an escape route for any excess water. Presently our holes are no use nor ornament.

NHBC

We have been in touch with the NHBC and they can only become involved with our issues once Harron state they are not going to do any more work. Once this occurs they will write to Harron and give them 10 days to respond and re-consider whether they will do further work. If the answer is still no the NHBC will come and inspect the work, if they then believe the work needs to be done our understanding is they will undertake this and then bill Harron as well as fine them due to not adhering to the builders regulations.
Over the last six months the NHBC have been really helpful and informative as they will give you advice and guidance. Also if you are having issues it is worth logging them with the NHBC as they refer to this when the send correspondence to Harron.

Customer Services

The original customer services team got culled so there is now a whole new team in place. The positive thing is that if you ask for a manager you actually get to speak with a manager. So far when they have agreed times and days to telephone back they have completed this. It is still early days about whether they can sustain this good service as its only been a few weeks but fingers crossed this is the start of something good!
The proof will be if any of our issues get resolved.

Site Managers

The communication with the site managers is generally sporadic and inconsistent as we have had;

  • Excellent customer service where we have been telephoned back, had visits to the house before work, text messages responded to and emails responded to and being advised when workman are accessing the property.
  • Terrible customer service where we have left answerphone messages and had no call back, text messages and emails ignored and no communication about work being undertaken within the home. This has been to the point where we have had to ask whether we are being ignored and avoided. The positive has been that if you tell customer service nobody is talking to you they do action responses for you.

Due to the site having houses occupied and work being undertaken it appears as though the managers have been allocated to either new build or snags this has been positive as one person has organised and coordinated all of the work being undertaken the negative has been that we are not sure how much the site manager knows about what is going on in the occupied properties as when talking to him about work he has looked like he doesn’t know what were on about. This though could also be explained that he has been approached ad-hoc, in-between jobs and been unable to give his full attention to what is being advised.

Escalation

With all the negative publicity you would think that escalation processes would be in place. We have had mixed messages about whether this is something you can do as employees have different advice on what you can and cannot do. Examples are;

  • In regards to the tiling we were told the only person we could escalate to is the NHBC this was due to the site manager stating he had the final say then conceded that customer services can over-rule him
  • Customer services advisors have stated that you cannot escalate in Harron Homes so the only place you can raise issues with is the NHBC
  • The customer services manager holds a different view and states that things can be escalated to her and she has two meetings a week with the MD to feedback issues and she is able to undertake this role

When Harron Homes staff are telling you there is nowhere or no way to escalate it immediately makes you escalate as if nobody is going to listen to you the only way you can make people aware of the issues are via media outlets or taking a stand. This cannot be good for business and luckily for Harron Homes the customer service manager is talking sense but she appears to be the only person who is aware of how escalation can occur as this information does not seem to have been filtered to all employees.
Since the new customer services manager has come in I would like to highlight that this has been the only time I have successfully been able to escalate an issue and this is a massive improvement.

Customer Service has regressed

After a good start with calls being returned we’re back to the same format of Harron Homes’ old customer service experience with customers again being left in the dark. If you get a response at all it takes days. It doesn’t matter who you speak to this is consistent across all facets of their business.
*sigh*

3-7 month round up

Street Party

With a big thanks to everyone on Facebook a street party was organised as a way for us all to meet AFK (away from keyboard). We had a great time and everyone brought food. There was even a cake competition which Mary berry would have loved lol. It was a great day and indicative of the type of great people who have bought on site

Customer Services

Customer care has been inconsistent, we have had good and bad service the past 4 months. The positives have been the customer service manager keeping us updated on a regular basis regarding Harron Homes lack of progress, telephone calls being returned and only being dealt with by this one person. This has made a massive difference and has stopped inconsistency; this good service has only been provided the last 2 months though. The not so good has been the customer service manager not responding to emails, not responding to telephone calls and basically ignoring us, this has not been happening recently and we seem to have moved past this now (fingers crossed).

NHBC

We have logged some of (big) outstanding jobs with the NHBC this is due to the site manager stating that in his opinion the work in our home was to a good standard, he would sign it off for other houses and would have it in his home. Interestingly enough when the NHBC came to inspect the works (tiling, block paving, flooding garage) they felt Harron Homes had not adhered to guidelines in place and have recommended further work due to the current standard not being acceptable. We are at the point where Harron Homes have around another 2 weeks to advise a plan for these works and if this does not happen the NHBC will do our jobs and in the process fine and bill Harron Homes. I would strongly recommend using the NHBC as they have been fantastic with us, we have learnt that they can assist and do a lot before the 2 year mark.

Visit from one of the Directors

A visit was arranged for the director to come out to view the remaining works within our home. When he came out he was adamant he did not want to talk about past issues and told me that if I continued to talk about our difficulties and issues he would not continue to inspect the works and would leave. The director came out and made recommendations on what works needed to be completed, told me what he would do and then changed his mind and advised he would prefer for the NHBC to inspect and make recommendations. This felt as though he was ‘edging his bets’ that Harron Homes may not have to do as much work as he advised. The director explained that Harron Homes pay a premium to the NHBC and it is like car insurance and because they do this they want to use the NHBC, he also told me the NHBC can do works quicker than Harron Homes so it is worth having the inspection. At this visit he maintained he cares about customers but this did not come across as he would not engage in the things we would like resolving and it was all about moving forward due to Harron Homes not wanting to address the past experiences. I understand moving forward is the focus but sometimes you have been treated so badly you need to resolve this before you can and then allow you to re-trust Harron Homes.

Formal Complaint

We logged a formal complaint at the beginning of May 2015. Harron homes have not followed their protocols and have not responded. This has been raised with the customer service manager who has advised its above her pay grade (I would like to remind her she is the first line of response), as she has not replied the director should have responded, he also has not bothered. Both the customer service manager and the director are aware of the formal complaint and aware they have ignored it but continue not to respond. This is another example of Harron Homes disrespecting the customer and making it laughable when they tell you they care. In our opinion if they cared they would take the time to respond.

Ongoing Works

We still have big jobs which need completing, our shower in the bathroom is leaking and has not been fixed, we have so far had 6 weeks without this. The reason this has not been done is due to the plumbers not providing a quote. This is ridiculous and getting beyond a joke. The tiling is still ongoing issue, the NHBC have made recommendations and were waiting to see if Harron bothers to put it right or if it goes to the NHBC. This also applies to the block paving and the leaking garage. We also have a leak in the living room due to sealant work not being completed outside of the property this has been an issue since December 2014 and still not fixed! In an attempt to complete our remedial works customer Services sent a worker out to undertake internal works, he has not managed to complete anything on the list as when he came out he highlighted our stair case was not properly attached and he needed to fix this. We are still awaiting plans on when internal works will be undertaken.

Planning

We have asked Harron Homes repeatedly for a plan of all outstanding works, this request is consistently ignored and we never get a plan. Most of the time direct questions asked about outstanding works and planning are ignored.

Health and Safety

One of our front windows does not open properly due to the drain pipe. We have been to the sales office and checked the plans and these have been followed correctly. This has been highlighted and again we are waiting for someone to take the time to fix it.

Exterior drainage

Early on we noticed that one of the exterior drains was filled with gravel and sand. We reported this and was told it would be fixed. It wasn’t. Things got so bad that the water being expelled from pipework was overflowing and turning the side of our house green so last weekend we took it upon ourselves to fix it ourselves. 3 pint glasses worth grit, stone and sand later and the problem is now solved. It shouldn’t be down to us to fix issues like this that we haven’t caused.

At present we are being largely ignored by everyone at Harron Homes and fully expect them to be incommunicado until the NHBCs timescales have lapsed and Harron’s issues are fixed by NHBC contractors. As for all other works there’s still no sign of anything being completed meaning no work has been done on the house since May (it’s July now).

1 Year On

Snags Outstanding:

  • Block Paving not finished to adequate standard
  • 2 x trees missing from original landscaping plan
  • Missing screw covers from en-suite shower cubicle
  • Bubbles in kitchen lino
  • Weather strip ineffective under garage door

Recently Resolved:

  • Boxing and sealant in cloak room
  • Stairs re-secured
  • Towel rail refitted and central heating system re-balanced

15 months on…….

We have not done an update for a while so we figured it is about time this our review was updated so that our journey with Harron Homes continues to be documented. As always there have been up’s and down’s and un-beliveably we still have outstanding works on the property.

Customer Service

We have has operatives from customer service within the home to fix minor snags. The last operative was within our home in December 2015 and he undertook a ‘patch’ on the floor boards as he did not want to undertake the job properly as we had decorated. He was told to do it properly as we would rectify the decorating however he was insistent he didn’t want to complete this as it was a big job and it should be re-logged with customer services. This job has still not been done and the operative has never returned to the property to undertake this works. This is the second time he has started works and not returned. The job has been logged but NOTHING has happened since.

I have had a lot of email exchanges with the customer services manager, when you ask something specific like the complaints procedure, reports which have been written, why Harron Homes have not done the works she does not respond, this as always is not helpful as nobody takes any responsibility. It should not be a shock to us that this occurs due to dealing with Harron Homes for so long but it just makes you more angry and frustrated that they just don’t give a s**t. We have contacted her manager via email on occassion he replies other times he doesn’t it is very hit or miss. When we have telephoned him he will answer the phone but then he cannot get you off the phone fast enough and does not telephone back even-though he assures you he will. He is not interested in what is going on and becomes very rude and argumentative if you question why things have not been done.

We have had three members of Harron Homes view our leaking shower since January 2016. Works were arranged however cancelled by the customer service manager as another inspection was required. It was never explained why this occurred and nobody will provide us with an explanation. The person who come out from customer services damaged the shower further due to forcing the plinth off the shower. He acknoweldged he had damaged it before he left the property and assured us it would be fixed which has yet to happen. This individual advised he was writing a report on the shower this has never been shared with us and Harron Homes customer services have refused to share it with the NHBC when I have requested the report via this route. The response to this job from Harron Homes is to go via the NHBC and this appears to be due to not wanting to fix the damage or delay undertaking the works. The person responsible for exasserbating this issue no longer respondes either.

One member of Harron Homes team when they attended our home advised that there hands are tied as they cannot make contractors return to customers properties. They advised that there are problems with the manner of staff in customer services and that they have been told they need to speak with the customer better. I still do not understand why members of Harron Homes come into your home and slag off there staff team and provide the customer with more ammunition.

Harron Homes staff members and contractors have voiced that they know what is wrong with the business, what is going wrong but there hands are tied. Again staff enter your home and are opinionated about the company they work for but there views are always negative. Even to the point where they have stated that they would never buy a new build home.

I have had a member of the Harron Homes customer service team tell me ‘I am doing you a favour’ this was infuriating as Harron Homes undertaking the work on my property is not doing me a favour. We complained about the language this staff member used and we were told that there are two sides to every story.

We still have outstanding jobs within our home and these are logged with customer services, we keep chasing these and the response from customer service has been that they do not understand why the work had not been undertaken or have advised they thought the work had been done. Either way we still have outstanding works and are not moving forward.

NHBC

The NHBC finally took over the work for block paved drive due to Harron Homes not rectifying the drive in the timescales set. It has been a long process as the drive was first inspected in June 2015, re-inspected September 2015 after Harron Homes undertook two attempts of relaying the drive and then completed by the NHBC in April 2016. The drive now looks fantastic and the NHBC have used fantastic contractors.

I have been told that every telephone call made to the NHBC regarding jobs logged or issues, Harron Homes get billed for which is worth knowing. They also get billed for the inspections which the NHBC provide and billed if they have to undertake the works.

All snags need to be logged with the NHBC within the first two years otherwise they will not inspect these or take them on (This is what we have been advised). Due to the lack of action regarding our leaking shower this has been logged with the NHBC and we are awating the inspection.

We have had some problems with the NHBC though as our case manager never returned telephone calls when messages were left, for her to telephone we had to make contact with the NHBC via facebook and this then resulted in her finally calling.

Site Managers

In the whole 15 months we have had around seven site managers. When site managers change there appears to be no handover and you basically start at the begining which is frustrating. The site managers have no power and the experience we have had is any decision they have made had been overruled as there approach would cost more money as they want to undertake a job properly.

The best advice we could give is to get anything that is said by the site manager or deputies in writing as we had an experience with one who called us liars and denied the conversations he had with us.

When site managers and deputies change you are not given this information by Harron Homes and you find out by word of mouth.

We have found if a site manager favours the customer and wants to do a job properly they will not be on site long.

Snags

The biggest job we have left is our shower tray in the en-suite which is cracked and leaking. This snag has been made worst by Harron Homes as they have damaged the plinth and shower cubicle when they inspected the works. This job was logged in January 2016 and has still not been fixed as Harron Homes have decided after three inspections the NHBC also need to look at the works. This has left us without the use of the shower which nobody is that concerned about.

Floorboards upstairs are in-correct, this work was started in December 2015 by the customer services operative and has never been finished as he never returned to the property and advised it needed to be re-logged as it was a big job.

Scratches to worktops in kitchen this has been logged since 2014 and has still not been completed.

Lino has bubbled after it was replaced due to stretching and it being sealed to the floor, someone has been out to this but it is not resolved as they have not finished the works.

Plants at the side of our home have been damaged or left dead due to mud and debris from construction vehicles. These have been reported but as yet are still unsigtly.

In our landscaping plans we are supposed to have a tree front and back to give us some privacy. We now have a tree to the front of the home placed directly next to a drain cover. We have expressed concern that the roots from this tree might strangle the drain causing us future problems and have been advuised that this has been passed to Harron Homes landscaping teams for resolution. We have yet to hear anything. We still have no tree to the rear of our property.

Pipework outside our property was improperly installed and meant we couldnt fully open our windows. Harron Homes inspected this and told us it was a simple job to fix. Several months on and multiple visits later various contractors told us they duidnt know how to fix it. We came back from holiday towards the end of last year and notice it had been rectified however no one had told us the work had been undertaken.

The Development

This still requires a lot of work by Harron Homes as the pathways are un-even and bumpy making them dangerous underfoot. The balancing pond is open and exposed making it an area where a serious accident could occur. There are no signs up advising of the dangers which is suprising when we live in a litigation culture.

The drive into the estate is un-appealling due to the rubbish which is present at the sides of the mill and the land on the other side not being turfed.

Due to the long drive into the estate cars have a tendancy to speed as speed bumps or traffic calming is not in place. The road it self is tretcherous as cars skid and drift due to the lack of grip on the road.

Street Signs have only put up on one road in the estate. The main road of the estate still does not have a street sign which results in continued issues with post and deliveries.

We were offerred some free plants by Harron Homes as they advised they wanted to make the estate look prettier, this has not been achieved but we now have some primroses!

New Residents

New residents continue to buy on the development and all are experiencing ongoing issues with snagging. This shows that Harron Homes have not learned any lessons from the past 15 months and continue to provide sub-par fix and finish on their properties and fail yet again to provide aadequte customer service and support.

Written by Mark Rushworth

With over 14 years experience in online design and marketing I, like many others, began my professional life as a web designer before realising my talent for digital marketing. This I have pursued as my primary career focus since 2007. Since then Ive worked across all sectors for clients big and small delivering the best bang for your buck.

255 Comments

  1. Hello….

    Great site, found some great bits of help on here… has anyone ever been able to get through to Mr Paul Andrew Harrison??

    Our experience has been pants, but the response to our complaints is our main source of our frustration as no one seem to give a damn… i wonder if this person is not hearing these issues, or is just plain hiding from them… just interested to hear your thoughts?

    Thanks

    TIm

    • Hi Tim, nope Paul has no interest in dealing with customers. around and around you’ll go. We’re 15 months in and snags still outstanding!

    • Really interesting reading this I think everyone can relate to it in one way or another…. I’ve not had a great experience but far to drained with it all to go in to it. I Will be moving onto the Barnsley site when they stop moving my date of course.

      Was just thinking it would good if someone could set up a site where people share photos of their choices it difficult having to go and pick carpets, tiles, kitchen etc because you can’t imagine it. It would be helpful if everyone uploaded photos so people who haven’t made their choices can see what different Harron kitches/bathrooms look like.

  2. I did indeed visit the sales office and they confirmed that the plot I was interested in was, essentially, 3 years from being built. So we have ruled out purchasing a house on the development. I wish everyone who does buy one a trouble-free (as much as buying a new build can be) purchasing experience. The only bit of advice I would give is that insist 100% that you home is professionally snagged. There’s a few companies out there but Brickkickers and New Home Inspections are two that I looked at. If the developer says that they won’t allow it, ask them what they have to hide.

    Before I visited I did a lot of reading on the planning applications website, including all the feedback from residents. The disregard for the speed limit on Birkin Lane came up quite often. I’m familiar with Birkin Lane (although obviously not to the extent of local residents) as I previously lived in New Tupton and cycled a lot on the Five Pits Trail. Whilst I fully appreciate the concerns of residents about the blatent disregard for the speed limit, I don’t see the role that this has to play in the granting of planning permission. Unlawful behaviour should be addressed, not planned around.

    If anything I would expect the building of more homes on that road to highlight the issue of speed and, in turn, perhaps speed up a resolution that would slow down traffic outside of the homes on Birkin Lane. I would just hope that it’s not by means of an accident. I think the junction design could be improved, maybe by use of a roundabout, and thus help to reduce the speed of traffic on that road.

  3. Hi Mark,

    Hope you are well and fine.
    Just to say that it is almost one and half month after the reserving the property at Harron Homes Regents Green. When I reserved the property the compass in the brochure showed that it is south facing garden and it was reaffirmed by the sales executive that my back garden will be South Facing. But when I visited last week I saw a new brochure with compass showing west facing and said that it is now changed to west facing garden. I am bit surprised by the dramatic change. The Sales Executive said that it is an error in the marketing literature and basically reassured that the Garden will have lot of sunshine. Touchwood no more changes…

    Thanks

    Seb

    • Thanks for your comment Seb.

      On our site they have changed the layout of phases 2+ several times and its up to you as the buyer to keep tabs on this… they don#t even tell you that somethings been changed you just have to monitor the situation. On our site or view has gone and they’ve built 3 story houses which isn’t great, also the house directly opposite us is a different aspect meaning we’re now facing the side of a building not the front… i’m awaiting the landscapers who owe me some trees based on our original landscaping plan.

  4. Hi Mark,
    Read you blog and can say that already we have been knocked back on the completion dates.
    We gave up and paid as requested a considerable £25,000 of upgrades for a promise of a December build in Barnsley.
    After the 5th promised completion date which is now the 27th February we have asked for the rear garden to be turfed as a goodwill gesture due to the loss of rental opportunities on our old house. Not too much to ask I thought??? I cannot get past the sales staff in the showroom ,no matter who I email, call we are passed back to some one that as no control of the delays or indeed makes no apologise for the delays. Consumer rights are appalling as this is not down to weather as the initial build started in August and stood dormant while other house around were being built. I want some payback and wonder weather the twitter and Facebook media tools have any effect or who you advise I talk to/email etc
    Thanks in advance Tonbridge looks great aftercare, new date looks realistic ??

  5. Hi, I live in Grassmoor. It’s a small village with basic stuff – a few shops, doctors, primary school. Birkin Lane is a 30 limit but many people ignore that. It is also not gritted in winter which makes it fun when it snows, and it regularly floods at the bottom of the hill on the bend. The entrance to Regents Green appears to be situated just below the brow of the hill. If you’re turning left towards Grassmoor, you’ll be ok, but if you’re turning right to head out to the M1, your visibility of speeding traffic coming from the left will be greatly impaired in my opinion.

    There have been complaints (including from me – I’ll hold my hand up ) about the conduct of Harron and / or it’s suppliers and / or contractors in relation to the planning of the site. For example – lorries parked up along the road waiting for access to the site. The trouble is, this then turns the road into 100m of rat-run with a blind summit where you could clash head on with oncoming vehicles. Deliveries of plant and materials to the site before the time permitted in the planning conditions.

    My experience of Harron is of contempt towards the local residents. I will be careful here – read the last sentence of the above paragraph. While the arrival time of stuff is possibly not in direct control of Harron, they don’t appear to care.

    Clearly Harron have a way of dealing not only with it’s customers, but locals, and authorities, too.

  6. Cheers Mark,

    Sorry to hear of your problems but it does make for a very interesting read indeed.

    We moved into a new build (not Harron) in April 2015. Recently Harron have started to advertise the Regents Green development in Grassmoor. There is one particular house style and one plot that I like and I am considering moving again, as one option, or extending my current (new build) house to give us a very similar design to the house we like on the Harron development. Your experience may well make me reconsider my favoured option.

    On the plus side, it does make me realise that our developer may not be as bad as I would like to think. As this was the first new build that we have purcahsed, maybe we should just rest on our laurels, stay put and extend.

    Thanks again.

    Dom

    PS. To Seb Thomas: Interesting to see that Regents Green will be a 2 and 1/2 year build, which probably rules out moving anyway as the plot I’d be interested in is furthest from the development entrance and is likely to be a later build. I’m planning on popping over on Thursday but I guess that some of things that I’d want to do (such as negotiating with the electrical contractor an some custom work) won’t be allowed by Harron and will rule them out anyway.

  7. Hi I agree
    This is a brilliant article i wish i had read it before buying my home from Harron. I moved in and have had very little if any contact from them. My experiences are here and seem very similar to your own nightingale-fold .co.uk but Ive not had the time for the detail yet.

    thanks

    Oliver

  8. Hi Mark
    I cant believe I have just staggered across your blog, I am about a week off exchanging contracts on a Harron Home only to find out half of the kitchen cupboards which we thought were included aren’t, it looks like we are getting half a kitchen instead of the one we thought we were getting. Nothing was explained properly to us when we reserved it and now I am kicking myself for not being more thorough and making them explain in detail exactly what was included and what wasn’t. We are part ex-ing and our house sold fairly quick but they marketed it at less than they offered us for it. After reading this and seeing the pictures, I have also googled Harron Homes experiences and seen some shocking reports. I am seriously considering pulling out of the purchase now! but don’t know how that
    will stand with the part ex, no doubt they will start demanding money for the expenses but we have never been given a terms and conditions.I hope your problems get sorted soon , its not on when you have paid all that money for a house.

  9. Hi Mark,
    Nice reading your story full of facts . The Regent Green is massive project with 163 homes and a completion timescale of 2 and half years. I am planning to go for the meeting this coming Saturday to finalise the deal. As it is buying off plan for the house, from what you have mentioned it will be living couple of years in building site like. I have no clue about the figures Harron Homes to offer to my house.

    • Hi Seb. Do it but with your eyes open. Expect to be lied to, bullied, let down, not communicated with, get crappy workmanship, have some quite major issues, be messed around and basically have 12 months of pain (to date). We’ve just had new people move in on site and they’re having the same or worse issues than we have like sewage flooding their downstairs which ruined a lot of their boxed up stuff. Harron Homes don’t quality check their build or finish and give appalling customer service.

      I believe the sales teams know about this blog and dismiss us as malcontents however if you live on a site you’ll realise that genuinely happy customers are actually few and far between.

  10. A new project from Harron Homes is coming up in Grassmoor called Regent Green . Myself and my wife were excited to buy The Windsor and saw the show home at Barnsley. We liked the layout, the ceiling height which we think will be there as we saw in the house and style of the house.
    We are planning a part exchange and the valuers visited our home to get the figures. After reading through your story I am bit hesitant to go for the deal.

  11. Hi Mark your blog is rather interesting. we are due to move in to queensbury gardens in the next week or so. Just wondering who is your internet provider, were currently with bt, but they are saying we will only get 4mb/s an not fibre…

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Tom, its true the internet sucks and we’re not hooked into fibre yet even tho’ ive been told by engineers that the local cabinet is geared up for it. I think as Harron have a deal with Sky for satellite they’re not letting other providers on site until the development is finished… at least that’s that i suspect.

      You can apply to Virgin to make it so however out postcode isn’t present so you will get an error message when you register. Ive emailed them about this and the assure me that they still have my details on file so it might be worth it.

      http://www.virginmedia.com/cablemystreet

      Checkout the EE Osprey review on this blog for a temporary solution. Its quite fast in comparison to BT however the bandwidth caps only make it useful as a temporary measure.

      hope that helps
      mark

  12. Hi, I am currently in the process of buying a Harron Home. Can anyone let me know if they have had the following done either by Harron Homes or yourselves, and if you have done it after purchase, how much work did it entail?
    Sink put into utility with hot water feed? (cannot believe they do not put a sink in the Utility room!)
    Gas fed to the living room to allow a gas fire? (don’t really like electric fires and don’t always like to have the heating on in the whole house when you sometimes only want to heat one room)
    Underfloor heating in kitchen?

    • Hi derek thanks for your message. My personal opinion is that to save time ,money and on going drama you should use your own contractors as harrons are a joke.

  13. Hi,

    We are looking at buying a Harron Homes and would like to find out the price for the extras. The sales team in the marketing suite don’t provide any information and knowing the house do not come with appliances etc it would be great to know how much things cost.

    Any ideas?

    • Hi my family and I have bought a plot at amberwood chase at Dewsbury. We are really pleased with the house and love the layout. I think we did ok with the incentives, it’s quite difficult to know what is a good deal but we are happy.
      What really bugs us and is becoming a constant battle is the horrible staff in the sales office, who like to contradict themselves on a daily basis on what you can and can’t do ie site visits ( why can’t I view my house which legally I own), getting a carpet fitter in before we move and simple changes which isn’t difficult to do but make a massive difference to us and make our house a home not something off a production line.
      Another real bug is the lack of communication instead of having to find things out for yourself and then fight to correct it why can’t the dragons in the sales office pick up the phone and talk about it saving a lot of hassle all round

      • Hi Geoff,

        Thanks for commenting. We had much the same issues on our site. Its why in the blog i suggest getting everything in writing as they love to backtrack on things already agreed. Expect some bulling as the home becomes more complete. The area manager once told us that they can make changes to the houses layout as they build it. We noticed this as out loft access hatch isnt in the same place as on the plans. If they can do this without telling you then im sure they can accommodate some changes you want.

      • Hi Geoff,

        We purchased plot 9 Amberwood Chase and we are having the same problems told one thing one minute and another the next.

        We wanted to get one of my friends on site to install an alarm but we were told no.

        Also our boiler is shown in two places on the plans, but they will not confirm its actual location in writing. So I am guessing everything is a surprise with Harron Homes…..

        What plot have you bought?

        • Hi Anthony, Thanks for posting. We have two boilers, one upstairs that’s for central heating and one downstairs for water. We ended up installing a wireless alarm system at a fraction of the cost Harron wanted to charge.

          • HI Mark,

            Great blog and really helpful.

            We have a hot water cylinder upstairs in a cupboard for Hot water boosting and a combi boiler shown in the garage and the utility room so we have asked them to confirm which location it will actually be installed and Harrons response was we will not confirm as it may need to be moved anyway….

            Thats funny though as I am an electrical design engineer and I know if an item is marked on a drawing in a specific location then thats where it needs to be and that is where I will ensure the services i.e. gas, electric and water are fed to to ensure it can be fitted there.

            To me they are just unwilling to help and don’t want to confirm anything as they may be h;d to that. I would not mind but its not like I am asking something out of the ordinary.

            • Hi Anthony
              To clear up the confusion around the boiler. Upstairs is a hot water cylinder not a boiler, this is a cylinder of water heated up via the boiler which is a system boiler not a combi boiler. You will have both installed in your house. Hope this helps

              • Hi Geoff,

                I am well aware of the hot water cylinder upstairs. Its not this I am referring to if you read my post above.

                Thanks

        • Hi Anthony,

          How have you found the process so far?

          We’ve reserved a plot at Amberwood Chase and been told to appoint solicitors but apart from that we’re a tad in the dark about the process. Any pointers on what we should expect would be greatly appreciated, especially if you’re part exchanging.

          Thanks

          Mark

          • HI Mark,

            Sorry for the delay getting back to you.

            Our process was as follows:

            1) Paid £500.00 deposit had to pick approved solicitor from Harrons panel. We picked G.M. Wilsons. we haggled at this point and got the following incentives:

            Half Tiling to downstairs toilet.
            Kitchen/Dining Room Floor Tiled.
            Utility Room Floor Tiled.
            Downstairs Loo Floor Tiled.
            En-suite Full Tiling inc Floor.
            Family Bathroom Full Tiling inc Floor.
            Shower Over Bath In Family Bathroom.
            Carpet to rest of house.

            We also got 100% market value for our property.

            2) Our existing property was put on the market by Harron and sold straight away.

            3) I contacted G.M.Wilsons to inform them I would be using them for the sale of our existing property to Harron and the purchase of plot 9 from Harron. I was advised that Harron would send them the reservation information and as soon as they received this I would receive a pack from them and to return and sign all the documents.

            4) We also made our appointment with the Halifax to secure our mortgage.

            All the above were done within a few days of reserving the plot.

            5) Within a week we received the pack from the solicitors with a number of forms to fill in and return. We also had to pay £200.00 towards the sale cost fees and £200.00 towards the purchase cost fees to get the ball rolling and drop into the office with all our required identification.

            6) We had our appointment with the Halifax to get the mortgage offer in place at this point we were told a valuation survey would need to be done at a cost of £495.00 to finalise the mortgage. We had to pay this there and then.

            7) With regards to the part exchange you will need the following in place for your existing property before you can exchange contracts:

            New Gas Safety Certificate
            New NICEIC Electrical test and inspection report.
            FENSA Certificate for windows and doors if fitted after 2000.
            Boiler Installation certificate.
            Any guarantees or certificates for things like Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.
            New EPC certificate (Energy efficiency cert)

            This was an additional cost of approximately £500.00 that we did not expect to have to pay out for.

            Also with the part exchange they keep £500.00 of your money until they inspect your property after you have moved out to ensure it is clean and tidy. If they find anything not to there liking they will keep your money.

            8) We received some documentation from the solicitors and nestled in there were some more hidden fees from Harron:

            Engrossment Fee
            Plan Fee

            I think the total cost of these is £134.00.

            9) Finally mortgage offer is in place this took about 4-5 weeks from paying the reservation fee.

            10) after a lot of paperwork being received from the solicitors and a lot of information being sent to them and forms being filled in we exchanged contracts. This took about 7-8 weeks from the reservation fee being paid.

            You will find that Harron will start to apply pressure on you to exchange after about 6 weeks from date of reservation.

            Also we will have a yearly maintenance fee of approx £160.00 to pay. This has to be paid when we move in.

            We exchanged contracts about two weeks ago and we were called straight in to do our choices and extras. (any extras have to be paid for at the point you do your choices so ensure you have the cash ready to hand over for anything you pick). Ask the sales office for the extras price list if you have not got one already.

            We spent approx £5500 on extras and its easy done let me tell you. But you have to be logical as there are things on the extras list that you may want and after you move in may not be possible to do without making a mess of your new house. Thing of things like extra phone points and sockets outside tap. etc etc.

            Also you do not get turf in your rear garden now we got a price from Harron for this of £860.00 which is an extortionate amount of money. I will be turfing mine next spring for approximately £300.00.

            Let me know if you need anything else.

            Cheers

            Anthony

      • Hi Geoff

        I’ve just reserved a plot on Amberwood via part exchange. We’ve literally just paid the fee and are a little unsure about the remaining elements of the process. Any tips/advice that you have would be much appreciated.

        Thanks

        Mark

        • HI Mark,

          What plot have you reserved?

          We have just exchanged contracts last week on plot 9.

          Once you have reserved appoint a solicitor straight away and get your mortgage offer in place. That’s really about it. Are you part exchanging your current home?

          Thanks
          Anthony

          • Hi Anthony,

            Thanks for your reply. We’re part exchaninging. Unfortunately the recommended solicitors aren’t on my banks panel of solicitors so need to appoint another firm. Did you appoint the reccomended ones?

            Also was the process fully explained when you reserved or at the following meeting?

            We’ve gone for plot 19

            Cheers

            • Hi Mark,

              I have just written a really long winded post with step by step information on the process and when I was inputting my name I hit enter to drop to the email address box instead of tab and came up error I need to put in the information and I lost the lot……

              Here is my email address anthony.whitworth@live.co.uk if you want to drop me an email I will be more than happy to talk you through the process ant the things to look out for and the hidden costs. We also part exchanged and there are a number of things you will have to put n place for this.

              Cheers

              Anthony

      • Do not do not do not buy a house at Amberwood Chase. Although the houses are nice the level of workmanship is disgusting and the people running the site are clueless.
        Iam constantly told buy the tradesmen that this is the worst site they have worked on due to the incapable site manager Alan Whittle

    • Hi James,

      I Have a copy that was emailed to me by Harron Homes if you give me your email address I will send you a copy.

      What Site are you looking at buying on?

      Cheers

      Anthony

  14. Hi all. Brilliant blog and comments too. Just in the process of “negotiating” on a plot at Hazelmorr Fold, When I thought to research previous experience – all in all seems pretty poor and having some serious reservations now. Has anyone moved in recently. Are all the same issues still being seen across recent finished plots? Have Harron learnt anything from the negative feedback and publicity?

    • I believe newer builds are having a better experience… however our issues are still ongoing. we’re planning an update soon as a new site manager has meant a spurt in activity.

      Feel free to post an update on your buying process with tips, issues and questions for the guys here… theres also a facebook group you should check out just for your chosen site!

  15. Nice blog Mark and a real eye opener for us. We are looking at part exchanging our current home for a Birkwith at a Harron Homes development in Dewsbury. They’ve offered us a bit extra for our property in an effort to help us cover our legal fees, stamp duty etc.

    However, we went there yesterday to pay the reservation fee and was shocked to hear that the house won’t be coming with flooring. I naively always thought that a new build will be ready for you to move in and start living in. I came across your blog this morning and can see that you did mention this. Coupled with all the other little bits that the house doesn’t come with (e.g no carpets, half tiling (although one can live with this) and requirement to use mortgage providers recommended by their mortgage advisers , it looks like it’s not as straightforward and cost effective a process as we thought it was going to be. It’ll be nice if we can get free flooring but they said paying us extra on our home is about all the incentive they can give us yet we aren’t allowed to take our carpets and flooring out (not that we’d want to but if we are exchanging a livable house then it’s not too much for them to make the new house livable for us to by putting in flooring.)

    Olu

    • Hi Olu, if the site is new then you’ll get a lot in incentives which means flooring, tiling and other perks… as the site matures then the perks disappear. If anyone else has bought from Birkwith would you care to highlight your incentives to help others get a feel; of whats available if you negotiate hard enough.

      mark

      • Hi, we have just bought a Birkwith on the Harron Homes site at Dewsbury.
        We managed to get the following incentives:-

        Half Tiling To Downstairs Loo
        Downstairs loo floor tiled
        Utility Floor Tiled
        Kitchen & Dining Room Floor Tiled
        Family Bathroom Floor Tiled
        Family Bathroom full tiling to Walls
        Family Bathroom Shower installed
        Ensuite Floor Tiled
        Ensuite full tiling to walls
        Carpet for the rest of the house.

        Olu did you buy the property in the end?

  16. Hi. we read all this whilst in the process of buying a harron home.
    we’ve actually had the complete opposite experience. everything was done coroectly, the house is fantastic and three months later things are still good.I guess its the same if you went for your hair cutting at toni and guy, doesnt particually mean that youll get a great hair cut. its all dependeant on the builders they have on site.
    The builders at waverley seem to be great, and the new site manager its great too.
    I guess with waverley been such a big estate and their plans to be here building for another 5 or so years then the work they do proababaly has to be better. and there will be someone around for at least another five years when things need fixing.

    I hope everything gets sorted for you! on a positive note, the spave youll have will be great !

    If people are considering buying a harron home, i wouldnt discard it just becase of this experience.
    Like i said we had the complete opposite and had a few minor snags and are more than happy with the result.

    • Hi Samuel, Thanks for your comment however i strongly disagree that because you’re on a bigger estate you should get a better level of service. We’re the first on this site and have 2 years of building work around us.
      mark

  17. Hi Mark (and everyone) – excellent blog as many have already said.
    We are currently looking at the Amberwood site in Dewsbury and love the Settle and also considering the Lydford, although after reading your blog im not too sure I should continue looking. Is anyone living on a development which is actually complete or are all developments still in build phase? Im just wondering that if customer service is so shocking and lackadaisical whilst still in sale and build phase, what happens when development is full and final and what issues those developments are facing which extend outside of their bricks and mortar. I have read where there has been a site completely left with no street lighting what so ever. Very worrying reading but do love the designs.

    Sam

    • our sister site in queensbury is complete i think. customer service is now a brand new team. no ones been abke to speak to them yet but ill keep you posted

  18. Grrrrrrr!

    We have now had the completion date moved again to the 29th May. There is no official explanation but reading between the lines, they need to compete snags on the occupied properties before completing part finished ones. This is fab news for the current residents as I am aware they have suffered long enough, but we are so disappointed that we have been delayed. We just want to be in!

    In some ways I feel for Sales Manager as she has to deliver the bad news with no sweetener attached and I really wanted to scream, but c’est la vie.

    And to think the original estimated completion was mid January. Go figure.

    • Hi Jenny yes I’m waiting for an.official statement about their change of mindset. Imho your better off your house being delayed if it means they’re going to try and make it perfect for you… otherwise your going to get empathy with us existing homeowners really quickly lol

  19. Having read all the comments with great interest, I live at the Lindley site and have encountered similar issues to those raised above. The major issues include flooding in the garage and leaking bay windows however, the list is endless. I have got to the point where I cannot deal with Harron as the issues have be ongoing since we moved in approximately 11 months ago and all we get is the run around from the frequently changing customer services department. Moving forward I do not believe it is equitable for Harron homes to continue trading in the manor which has been experienced on various sites by so many different people.

    I would like to put together a contact group that will allow us to combat these issues through strength in numbers as I intend to take things further with local press, radio and the watchdog. If you wish to make your comments in confidence and remain anonymous that is fine.

    Oliver

  20. Well update from us, we unfortunately decided to pull out of the process. It had been advertised that the Sycamore chase development fell within the Beckfoot school catchment area, it transpired it didn’t and this was very important to us.
    However It was all quite straight forward the whole cancellation process and Harron Homes were very prompt and efficient in refunding the reservation fee and the general process, If anything I held it up.
    To be a fair to Harron Homes and this is my experience only they were very good from a service perspective, both in the back ground with paperwork and communications and initially during the sale process. We didn’t get to the exchange of contracts stage and obviously moving in so can’t comment on anything else like others have on this blog.
    I would advise anyone to arrange a professional snagger and you will find Harron Homes are happy to oblige as they were with one or two other requests I had initially asked through the solicitor. They will let you use your own mortgage advisor or arrange your own mortgage but obviously time is the essence in this matter, i’m pretty clued up when it comes to mortgages and did that myself and had that all in place and ready in good time.
    Pretty gutted as we did like the house and were prepared and ready to accept the issues that may have lay ahead for us. Good luck to everyone else starting the process and especially those that have had problems and I hope you get them resolved quickly.

    • Glad you got looked after Andy, but I’ve got to point out that Harron won’t allow a snagger to be used pre-completion.

      I stipulated this and it was point blank refused.

      Post completion is very different as it’s your house and you can do as you wish.

    • Do you mind me asking if you had a part ex agreed? I am considering pulling out of our purchase but they have already sold our house through part ex? Thanks

      • Hi, yes we went through with part x. To be fair they paid us more than they sold the house for. I don’t know what this could contractually mean for you. probably best speak to the solicitor or get some independent advice. We didnt fully understand the extras either as the list they give you is more for their internal use than customer facing and the sales people dont really bother explaining anything.

  21. Brilliant blog Mark, really useful! Me and my husband were considering buying a Tiverton on the Queensbury Gardens site had the meeting with Sue and spoken with mortgage people ect! However still trying to negotiate some extra’a it’s hard work!! Kelly

    • Hi Kelly. We love the tiverton stick at the negotiating as some people are getting amazing deals with fridges washers dryers dishwashers carpets and all kinds of things thrown in!

  22. Thanks Mike.

    We will have a check and do as you have suggested.

    Just hope it doesn’t spring a leak

    Thanks

  23. Hi Vicky
    We had the same problem with our boiler loosing pressure every day. Finally got to the bottom of the problem after 4 months and several visits by the plumber. We discovered that when we turned on all the radiators full there were several radiators that felt slightly wet at the joints near the thermostat valve. The plumber also discovered a small leak where the tank was located and was surprised the leak had not come through the ceiling. All appears to be fine now not had to top the pressure up since his last visit over a month ago. Hope this is if use

  24. Hi Mark, we are currently looking at a Harron development in Doncaster and found your blog. Do you have any updates/resolutions as I’d be interested to know how (if) you got everything sorted. This has always been a worry of mine with new developments and seeing your blog doesn’t really help alleviate this fear.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Our two biggest issues of the central heating and window have been resolved. A few minor issues have been fixed such as the pendant light length, garage door being unlockable and some lighting fixed… but a majority is still yet to do 3 months in. My advice is pressure your solicitor to get your NHBC or LABC certificate organised for when you move in. you can then petition these to push your snags through… Harron Homes don’t have any processes for anything so that’s why everyone is having so many problems.

      • Hi Mark,

        Following your blog we decided to step away from Harron Homes and reading your last set of updates I think we dodged a bullet. As I’m interested in seeing how this pans out for you I will be visiting and reading regularly.

        Out of interest do you know which episode of ‘Rip Off Britain’ Harron featured on as I’d like to have a look out of morbid curiosity.

        Thanks very much and good luck with the battle!

        • Hi Kevin, wow thats unfortunate as the houses are great… but you know the rest. yes i know they were featured on ripoff Britain a while ago but this was mainly about their boilers which added hundreds to bills (or at least that’s the one i’ve found) our bills seem to be ok and are 30% of that quoted by the supplier. Hopefully you can take away from your experience and be more informed of any future home purchases.

        • I moved into Beaumont Gardens before Christmas. I am still waiting for some snagging to be complete – as previously mentioned it seems that they send in someone to do a snag (repair) which then needs additional work by another craftsperson. Why they don’t anticipate this is beyond me as any fool can see doing one thing will result in another repair being required.

          One of the snags I had was that the floor felt like it was giving in on the landing outside the master bedroom. After a joiner came to look at the problem (which I reported and had shown the site manager at least 3 times) he stated he couldn’t remove the carpet without tearing it so would have to arrange for that to be done. Needless to say after adding to snagging list a couple more times I asked the carpet fitters while they were redoing the lino in the kitchen that had an inch gap infant of the units. They did this and asked me to sign saying I had asked them to do this at the site managers request. A couple of weeks later, the joiner came and refitted the ‘plug holes’ apparently cut out by plumber and I asked if I needed carpet fitters again to replace the carpet. He informed me he had done this. Two weeks later while rushing around in the morning, i caught my foot under the carpet and have badly broken my toe. I actually text the site to say I had broken my toe in the house and as such would be off work that week so I would appreciate them finishing my snagging and as a matter of priority fit the carpet before I broke anything else. The reply was to email them the list again. I did this and the site and assistant site mangers came around late afternoon and the assistant manger refitted the carpet (I am hoping correctly) but a month later – still not all the snagging is complete as per list.
          I have been informed by the hospital my toe will take 12 weeks to repair and I am still not back at work and in pain. Fed up at missing quite a few social events and not being able to do anything in the house either. I am hoping to get back to work next week.
          I have to admit I do really like my house and the site staff are friendly and do seem under a lot of pressure but the customer service you receive is shocking.

          • Hi Jane. Thanks for sharing your story. Luckily for us the carpets seem good, we have lino issues too which should be fixed in the next few weeks (fingers crossed). Yes the customer service is shocking… it true however based on the bad press over the next few days things seem to be moving again… are you receiving the same on your site?

            mark

            • Hi Mark

              well I emailed stating I would take up case with code for builders, I did actually contact them before I moved in as 2 weeks before moving date Harron decided that I had to rebuild a wall that had come down at the house I was part exing in strong winds. This was brought to their attention when they came to view the house and they said they would contact me but never did. By the time they did I was tied into their property and had to find £2000 to repair the wall, which wasn’t actually my maintenance responsibility, or pay all their costs. I had to get the money from my family as when I said I would do it myself they told the solicitor it had to be done professionally, luckily my nephew is a bricky and did it at cost. They even made me put coping on top, even though there was none on the rest of the wall, the actual day I moved or they would keep the £500 clean and tidy fee.
              Heres one to note though. I waited for a month to receive my £500 back and spoke to solicitor who informed me they weren’t returning it as my house had been left a mess. It needed a deep clean and sockets were hanging off the wall. Three of my friends, scrubbed that house and I had the electrician do the certificate that week so there was no way their allegations were true. They said they had photos (which I never saw) and I would recommend anyone part exing their property to take lots of photos when they have moved everything out – as I hadn’t. After a couple of days I read through the contract again and it stated that they would contact me within 28 days if anything needed doing and they would give me the oportunity to rectify anything. As I have studied law at college I realised as they hadn’t contacted me they were actually in breach of contract. I emailed the solicitor stating this and two weeks later I received the £500.
              Hope if anyone has had similar problems they can use that defence too.

              • Hi Jane, thanks for sharing your story. We had a similar debacle with Harron claiming the oven wasn’t clean. we paid for new cleaning kit and set to it one night. After 2 hours scrubbing it looked…. exactly the same! we got a call saying thanks and they’d pay the deposit back… go figure!

  25. Thanks Mark. I will contact glow worm myself and hope they can send someone out. I am assuming the boilers should be under a warranty?

      • Had this on ours too and we are in the other site. Pump has various speeds, 3 is fastest. They turned ours down to one and it’s been ok since. Also turned the temp of the hot water down leaving the boiler. As you said if the return temp is too high boiler over heats and locks out.

        • Hi Anon. They played with the pump on ours and even swapped it out once. It didn’t fix it in our case.

  26. Our boiler also doesn’t work correctly – and hasn’t done since the day we moved in. It has been loosing pressure – so you have top it up each day. Have reported it every single day for the past 10 weeks – and various plumbers have looked at it – but not fixed yet. Mark please can you give me the details of who you contacted in order to Get yours mended – think the boilers must have fallen off the back of a lorry.

    • Hi Vicky. its not the boilers, its the installation. They haven’t set them up correctly. The inbound and outbound pressure from your central heating unit need to have a low variance of i think it was 7 degrees. if it exceeds this then you lose pressure and your boiler errors, you have to reset the pressure in the hot water boiler and the central heating boiler needs a reset. I spoke to phil who had their plumber look at it, had the emergency plumber out a few times, once they even replaced a part (the pump) which didnt fix it. Phil then called out Glowworm who visited and said its a setup issue. so called Phil back in and he had a team work on it. its now fixed!

  27. Hi Mark,

    Me and my wife loved reading your blog! It is so useful, thanks very much for writing this.

    We are very soon going to decide the extras for our house. Is it possible to get a copy of the extras sheet you have?

    Cheers

  28. Fantastic blog Mark. I have been in the building trade for 30 years and have bought a HH on Saffron Park. I have pre warned them what to expect if things are not right. Completion was supposed to be April and is now June. Anyone else bought on this development???

    • Hi Simon – we have just reserved plot 6 and awaiting for the exchange of contracts to happen shortly – the valuation went out yesterday so hopefully this will be soon. We were told that our house should be ready July/Aug but if yours is already delayed then maybe ours will be too

      • Hi Kerry and Ben,

        I did write to Caroline, (who has been fantastic) the sales woman at Saffron Park regarding completion dates, she responded by saying that ours was still showing as being finished mid May. I went to site yesterday and I just cant see how it can be completed in 8 weeks from where it is now. We are plot 9 by the way.

        • Hi Simon
          We nipped in on Saturday to pick our kitchen/tiles/carpets etc – Caroline (who I agree is absolutely fab) said that ours maybe earlier than previously stated – so our plot was looking like possibly end of June beginning of July – so earlier than we thought but all good. They seem to be working a lot and even in a week ours had shot up. Look forward to meeting you neighbour ;o)

          • Hi, they like all of the houses to be done all together at once with blocks of 4 or 5 families moving on across 3 or so weeks. our house was all but finished then left sat for 3 months while the other houses caught up (your experience may differ)

          • Hi again,
            went up yesterday and the roof was on plot 11 which would indicate plot 9 is a couple of weeks off that stage. hopefully some good weather will see that pace continue.
            looking forward to meeting you.

            • Hi Simon

              We went up on Saturday to finalize our extras and pay – we have now exchanged contracts and on sat Caroline said we were still on schedule for it finishing mid June. They do seem to have cracked on in the corner plots – can’t wait now – just the waiting of them to build it ;o). I will email u too ;o) Progress is so far so good but will keep updating ;o)

  29. Hope you get a positive outcome kirsty.

    No updates from us currently, due to exchange contracts but the sales person is keeping me regularly updated which is pleasing so happy with the progress to date.

    They said it’s still looking like august for the completion. Just need it to be the start of august so we don’t lose the mortgage offer. I get a feeling that it might get done sooner however, but they will give a cautious estimate just incase there is any unforseen issues.

    • Hi Andy you’ll be in for December, we were originally promised September and it’s how it worked out for us.

      Don’t worry about.your mortgage offer. As it’s a new build your.mortgage advisor should easily be able to get an extension… ours did

      • I think i’ll pre-empt it and just ask if it’s a possibility. If we can get an extension then that’s one less potential issue to worry about. Hoping for some good weather to help things along but not in any major rush to get in although december wouldn’t be good at all.

  30. Hi guys,

    Well i have had a real problem this weekend. On friday eve at work 4pm i was told i had to the close of business to change to their solicitor or they would give my house to someone else the next day.

    The reason being is someone had sent all the mortgage paperwork to their solicitor and not the one i had paid and informed them of. They said i had signed my reservation form stating their solicitor, however on my copy it clearly states to be confirmed. As i was at work i did not know what to do. I had no time to think and was meant to be working.

    Has anyone else had any issues like this? If anything else goes wrong i am going to instruct a different solicitor to look into misconduct, and contact the financial services for conveyancing, about the relationship between harron and the solicitors. I should not be blackmailed into using a solicitors i dont not want.
    Very upset and stressed this weekend.

    Even the solicitor they are making me use said that Harron tend to use a lot of bullying tactics.

    Kirsty

    • Hi kirsty that’s disgusting. If you check the post there’s a but about the building code of conduct stating they can’t make you use their solicitors. I’d get in touch with your solicitor and get them to contact Harron and their solicitor directly to sort it out. Another case of Harron homes bullying buyers… Will they ever learn?

  31. Wow,

    What a fantastic blog. A real eye-opener! I have read the majority of this with my jaw on the floor!

    My family are looking at purchasing a new build and Harron Homes’ Pontefract development is (pontentily was!) our first choice, however, I’m not so sure now!

    I thought buying a new build would take a lot of the hassle away but it seems far from the truth! I cannot believe how poor the tiling is on your new home mark. Surely they are not professionals, DIYers could probably do it better!

    We have an appointment on Sunday, we’ll go and see what they have to say.

    I truly feel for all of you experiencing issues. It sounds like a nightmare. Hope everything comes good soon.

    • Hi Phillipa. We do love the house and all u can say (and keep saying) is that it will be lovely when it’s finished. Hopefully 6 months of snagging pain should see an end to our issues… Getting there is needlessly difficult tho

    • Don’t base the quality of the workmanship on the show homes, they are well presented, knock on an existing home owners door, ask how long they have lived there, if it is over 6 months you will get a true picture of the site. Every site with Harron Homes is different and the quality changes, one site has had over 20 managers in 3 years. Tells a tale that doesn’t it?

      • The show homes at Queensbury Gardens aren’t built that great… even they’ve succumbed to the boiler problems that have plagued 8 houses on our site.

  32. Just an update, met the solicitor today. Nice chap and helpful, you can get a snagger in if you request one for your information if you are starting the process. They state that snags will be dealt within a reasonable time frame but have requested the definition on this for a little peace of mind. Also if you desire to have one you can get a long stop date which is sometimes called a drop dead date. So paperwork just about there, just need to get my gas and electrical certificates to them now and we’ll be ready to exchange contracts.

      • Just to add the Solicitor is one of the ones recommended by Harron Homes, Rhodes and Walker. He said they don’t receive any fees from Harron Homes so their assistance doesn’t have any bias or vested interests. Although I’m quite sure they wouldn’t want to go against the grain too much otherwise they wouldn’t get recommended. But I’ve found them fine to date so no qualms about deciding to use them.

        • Andy,

          HH make you use Rhodes and Walker so they can ask direct questions of them and push the sale though, this can be good and bad really. They hound them, which can only leave the work for you somewhat compromise, you also feel like you have to be careful what you say/ask the solicitor as everything is reported back to the head office dragons.

          Be prepared for HH to change their approach to you after exchange. “Aggressive” best describes them.

          • Aggressive isnt the word for it. BULLY is more like it… we’ve even been copied in on emails from sales directors discussing our case and it wasn’t a pleasant read

          • When you say aggressive what do you mean exactly? In what regards or what did they do to come across like that?

            • Our experience is that as a buyer you’re part of a process that isn’t transparent so they have expectations of you that aren’t disclosed. If you deviate from this secretprocess and a deadline is close then all of a sudden their attitude changes and they make demands and throw threats around like “if you dont do this by close if play today were going to take all your incentives off of you” you typically get this message at the end if the day. Not helpful. We were told that we’d been repeatedly asked to sign a form which we hadn’t… ever. Its very heavy handed and I know from emails that I’m not the only one who has experienced this tactic. They dont have any real internal processes to its all very emotive on their behalf… and throws you the buyer into chaos when your expectations should be managed better.

              • I completely agree with Mark here, we experienced the same ‘aggressiveness’ and bullying tactics with the threat of if we didn’t agree to something then the sale would be cancelled. Our recommended solicitor, simply quoted the same line as HH ‘it’s non-negotiable’…strange given according to him we had provided everything we needed to then the afternoon before exchange we received this information…they still refuse to explain any of it to me, our solicitor wouldn’t even look at the part ex terms and conditions – he simply said he hadn’t seen them – even when I had sent him a copy he just ignored it. We certainly would not be using this company again.

  33. As anyone else got an issue with the width of their drive ? We are the only occupants on our site sycamore chase who share a double drive/garage with our neighbours , with walls at both sides. Although 2 cars can be parked on the drive. It is impossible to swing into your drive when the other car is parked there, you cannot open the passenger door because of the wall and it is virtually impossible to gain access to the back garden. Although the inspector has been out in early November we just keep getting told the issue is been looked into.

    • Hi mike. thanks for commenting.

      Another interesting build issue youve got there. ours is more around how our lighting has been wired in house which means all pendant lights hit doors when opened.

    • We had a similar issue, we got a Tiverton and on some Tiverton houses the Drive goes up to the bay window (width) ours does not. We explained that two cars fit on the drive (yay) but it is impossible to get a car in and out of the garage whilst a car is parked in the other position.

      Harron will not change it they said it was positioned using Gps and is correct. They will not extend it! Despite other houses on the site having the wider drive.

      The Gps argument is silly as a house around the corner has a drive that doesn’t meet were they have dropped the curb.

      We have more issues similar to everyone else. Everything is a battle

      AJ

  34. We are still waiting for remedies to several faults we reported when we moved onto Sycamore Chase in October, site manager keeps telling me he’ll look into it. The site is really busy but they are concentrating on rushing the building of new properties and not on people who have already bought.., after all they already have our money so we aren’t important any more!
    To top it all we got our land registry documents through this week and the numpty of a solicitor that Harron recommended to us has registered us on a completely wrong property on the wrong road (Not even built yet) When he blamed the land registry he couldn’t explain why he had addressed the letter to the same address.

    • Hi Pauline. thanks for commenting.

      in Queensbury we’re experiencing much the same thing, however you must have all of our builders as we rarely see them these days. LABC, NHBC i wish theyd make up their minds! Anyone know why they switched to the labc? is it cheaper or something?

  35. GH

    I find it interesting how you make bold claims then go underground, if you are after good publicity provide a good service and this would be shared. GH offer to meet with people and assist with getting things put right or do a listening event for a group of customers.

    I ask GH is it unreasonable to expect phone calls to be returned in the timescales set by your staff? Is it unreasonable to expect that staff follow through on what they agree? Is it unreasonable to expect staff to communicate with you rather than dodge your calls and avoid you because the conversation may be a tad difficult.

    FYI GH when people are frustrated they vent and that’s part of customer services jobs to listen. Also being nice, patient, friendly doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to the service you receive as its still s%%t and nothing gets put right.

    All i can say GH is stop hiding behind the fake handle and accept some responsibilty and learn from the issues to build a better business.

  36. Hi All

    We’re moving to the Harron development at Hawthorn Grange, Pontefract and have been keeping our eye on this very informative blog for several weeks now.

    I have to say, that to date, our experience has been quite pleasant but that seems to have been the case for most, with things deteriorating after? I don’t know how many of you have bought new before but when you investigate ‘large’ snagging lists seem par for the course across all developers. I suppose it’s how they deal with them after that matters.

    I was just wondering if any of you involved or monitoring the blog have managed to get around the ‘Home Tour’ situation and been able to get the house professionally snagged before you moved in, as the experiences for some of you seem very stressful?

    Any comments/advise/tips on the whole buying experience greatly appreciated.

    • Hi mark, we didn’t get a proper snag due to being told repeatedly that this was handled after you’d moved in, a fact that Harron Homes customer service dispute. So my advice is just turn up with a snagger in two.

    • Hi,

      We have been tentatively looking at the Hawthorne grange development. I just wondered how you had found the customer service so far? Also I was wondering if you knew what the risk of flooding or surface area flooding is like for that site? What costs do Harron cover, stamp duty? Solicitors fees? Etc. When we had a look at the show home they mentioned they would probably be able to throw in floorings. Do you know if you’ll be getting any flooring/appliances included?

      Thanks!

      Btw mark, brilliant blog, very informative.

      • Hi Nicola thanks for commenting. During the sales process customer service is ok however there’s lots of confusion when higher management get involved who will threaten and bully you to get what they want. Once you’ve bought Aside from the site managercustomer service is non existent.

        As our site is new the only issues we have with ground water are muddy roads and bogy Gardens. Our fee info is in the blog so take another read through to get that info

      • Hi Nicola
        Sorry, I’ve only just noticed your post as I’ve been working away for a week so don’t know if you’ll have taken the plunge yet? Firstly with regards your question on flooding & surface water. A relative of a work colleague of mine lives in the houses on Monkhill Lane that back onto the site. In the 20 years that they’ve been there the field has never flooded (it’s sort of on top of the crest of a hill). The bottom corner of the field where plots 14 & 15 are does get very boggy after heavy rain but they are putting in and landscaping round a balancing pond to accommodate this.
        With regards extras, negotiate hard, it’s the developer who wants to sell you a new house. We were happy with what we managed to negotiate and probably did slightly better than Mark R but it’s all to do with timing, sales figures, targets etc.
        So far the ‘experience’ has not been unpleasant but as we near completion and the dreaded snagging, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  37. Hi Andy,

    Our snagging list is going down, but we do have a fair few items outstanding.

    Internally, the house looks a lot better.

    Our site manager Dan is doing his best and we are very grateful for his help. He is doing all that he can, but tradesmen very often don’t turn up, or when they do turn up, they don’t complete things.

    For example; A tiling job (in our main bathroom) has taken 3 weeks so far, and is now at a standstill, until the tiler (we are now on tiler number 4) returns from his holidays, and completes the job.. It is so frustrating when things take so long to do.

    I don’t understand why the work wasn’t done correctly in the first place – then tradesmen wouldn’t need to come back and customers would be happy.

    All this extra work must cost Harron a fortune, not to mention pi$$ing so many customers off and gaining a justified, bad reputation as a result.

    I do believe, that once all our snagging work has been completed, with the necessary care and attention, then we should have a nice home – maybe 6 months after moving in (hopefully)!?

    My experience of buying from Harron Homes has not been a pleasant one – quite possibly one of the most distressing experiences of my life – so for that reason, I would not recommend buying a Harron Home to anyone.

  38. Hi everyone,

    We have part exchanged our house with HH and purchased a Tiverton on Sycamore Chase in Wilsden. We go up most weekends to check if they have started building. It’s very exciting but I am not looking forward to the numerous issues we know there will inevitably be. I will be keeping an eye on your blog. Thanks for taking your time to cover every step. It is invaluable information.
    Quick question has anyone got a breakfast bar in there kitchen like in the show homes? We have been told it’s not an option even as an extra!?!

    • In the tiverton? its part of the house… Just add high chairs and watch people cook with a glass of wine.

  39. Great blog Mark. We are buying at sycamore chase. Staff were great initially but disappointed we have no updates unless we ring them. Exchange of contracts has been delayed because our valuers couldn’t get on site to value the house hopefully should be the 20th now. We get minimal info on what stage the house is at and despite an estimated completion date of 6th march they now cant give us a date. I found mortgage bureau helpful they did home visit and didn’t push other products. Harrons recommended solicitor doesnt give a first class service or push the boat out but no major issues. Slightly worried after reading other peoples experiences hoping we are one of the lucky ones and all goes smoothly.

    • Hi Sam, thanks for commenting!

      Yes getting an actual moving in date can be tricky as the build is subject to weather conditions. You need a dry day to put on the roof and the walls inside need to be dry before skimming and again for painting. Once your windows go in and the house is secure then you know you’re close to the end!

      out house was almost finished 3 months before we moved in. It seems that there are key milestones throughout the year that the builders aim for so probably best to ask about that. Also speak to other buyers on your site and see if your dates matched… in December around 5 houses moved in on the same day!

        • Hi Sam,

          We are plot 32, just around the corner in one of the Lydfords. Believe you have a son aged 6? we have two boys who are 4 & 6. Will be nice for them to have some neighbours around the same age.

          • Aw fab im sure they will be buddies in no time. Have u got a moving date yet?
            Our exchange is delayed again hoping it will be next week. First update today is the plastering is done or underway so hoping completion not too far away.
            Do you know about us through katie?

            • Yeah, I believe you were chatting to her last Saturday. We were the couple that came round the corner and then turned and went back. We thought we could walk round and through but saw the fences up so went back round the other way.

            • Sam, we’ve been pushed back to 24th April!!

              Are you on Facebook? Try add me, my pic is of me wearing a straw hat with Rick! I’ll add you to the sycamore chase group!

              • Thanks katie will add you. Heck 24th that’s a long way off we are going down tomorrow going to try have a good look around and nag for more info

  40. Gerald – quite frankly I am amazed how you think the above comments are a “tad unreasonable” ?

    FACT:- When the entire first phase at Hazelmoor Fold, Blackley, completed in December 2014 – the properties were so appalling / inhabitable – that some families immediatley had to move out – and 7 weeks later – some properties are still a
    long way from being an acceptable standard.

    Those are not snagging issues – Harron should not have forced people into signing fixed completion agreements and taking people’s money for homes that are not even habitable.

    Is that unreasonable or just interesting?

    I find it disgusting.

    Are you on the Board of Directors, or a member of Harron Staff in disguise?

    Marks blog is a true and factual synopsis of what to expect, when buying a house from Harron Homes at present times.

  41. So far the process has gone through relatively straight forward to date. We have the house reserved, agreed the incentives etc which were satisfactory although we would have liked a slightly better offer on our house on the exchange.
    We have chosen one of their solicitors for simplicity but im using my own mortgage provider as I wish to avoid exit fees plus they offer some great mortgage products and offers too. That’s agreed and sorted, paperwork done and just a valuation to arrange. Just waiting to hear back from the solicitors now to iron out their bundle of paperwork.
    The sales staff at the sycamore chase plot have been pretty helpful to fair and responsive. Quite excited about the new house and we do anticipate the odd issue but fingers crossed all will be handled accordingly and efficiently.
    Once the exchange contracts are done, it’s then onto doing the exciting bit of choosing the extra bits and other upgrades! :) then we play the waiting game and watch the house get built. Initial move in date is august, i’m hoping july but no sooner as that would tie in nicely.

    • Welcome to the blog Andy, feel free to pop back and update us with the good (and bad) if you like!

      mark

    • Hi Andy

      If they are predicting August then expect nearer Christmas. Every single person I have spoken with on our site and other sites have all stated their initial estimated date was wrong.

      I wouldn’t want to take the shine off a new home, it is very exciting but please do set yourself up for the disappointments after you have exchanged contracts.

  42. Hi All

    I find most of your comments extremely interesting and a tad unreasonable.

    I bought a house with Harron Homes and I found them extremely helpful, from the Site Team all the way to the team at Head Office.

    This industry can be extremely frustrating at times but this is the nature of the business when it comes to purchasing a new build, it is common to have snagging issues. I had a few of my own but these were rectified immediately.

    I found being patient with the staff at head office, whilst expressing my concerns really helped. I am a strong believer in if you raise your voice to any company they are less likely to help you.

    I understand all of your circumstances and it is terrible to hear some of the experiences but I just wanted other people to know that it is not a negative experience for all of their buyers so please do not let this put you off.

    Good Luck in the future

    GH

    • Thanks for your comment Gerald. You appear to be in a minority however I am willing to conceded that occasionally someone may have a positive experience… Just not me and the others who have commented here.

      If anyone else would like to tell us their success stories then post away

      • Mark, please say you have IP logging enable in WordPress for comments.

        Please please do a reverse lookup on this for Gerald ‘Harron’ Holmes

        • Done it already ;) All I can gather is a Sonicwall firewall Login for his network and a location of Ilkley. Searches for email address yield nothing and there’s too many people called the same thing on Linkedin (even looking at Jerrys lol)

            • But Paul Harrison definitely does live in ilkley, paul, is that you have you come to join in? I’d love to catch up if it is- may e you could pop in for a coffee? Just be careful on your feet wouldn’t want to you to fall over the gradient in our Unlevel kitchen.

    • Hi Gerald
      I’d be interested to know which site you bought on, as in how long ago you had such a positive experience with this company? And if you could maybe share some pictures of the workmanship within your home as a comparison for us?

      We have been polite and patient since we moved in 8 months ago, we have followed Harron’s procedures to the letter, from giving them our snagging list within 7 days, reporting further faults to Customer Services (as they tell you to do) however we have been treated terribly and there is simply no excuse for that.

      I think everyone who buys a new build knows to expect ‘snagging’ issues, I certainly did, I did not however expect faulty workmanship and the same problems having to be fixed time and time again because they for whatever reason don’t do the job properly or cause further damage.
      This blog would have been invaluable to me PRIOR to buying with Harron.

      It is good to hear that you have had such a positive experience with them though and that you had all your snags done pretty much immediately (we are 8 months in and still have 20+ problems which no-one will take ownership of), I know there are a couple of people on our site that seem to have had an OK experience unfortunately it’s looking at the moment that the bad experiences are outweighing the good but to say that people’s comments on here are a ‘tad’ unreasonable is quite surprising to me given you have not been in the same circumstances so cannot possibly understand the frustration, worry, inconvenience and countless sleepless nights.
      I would love to hear more positive experiences on here as it may restore my faith a little…

    • Could you please explain why you find this site if you were so happy? What would cause you to search for Harron Homes if you have had a great experience?

      Another HH muppet I suspect.

  43. Hi, great blog and I will be referring to it quite often. We are in the process of getting a house on sycamorechase, any advice, tips or experiences would be appreciated.seems like a mixed bag depending where your house is!

    • Hi Andrew, get everything in writing and ask for a schedule of what needs to be paid when. once you sign off it seems all things agreed go out of the window so i wished i had something to hold them to.

    • Hi Andrew, we are on the Sycamore Chase site too – advice would just be to check everything, especially your windows for scratches, gouges etc. Tiling too – check for chips/cracks in tiles. I took photos of everything which was a snag/problem which was invaluable – although time consuming!
      Mark – sorry to hear you’ve got more problems, I was just reading the blog – your tiling is beyond belief! I have no other words to describe it!

  44. I read your comments with interest, many of the staff on your site came from our site (Burwood), just by your description of the staff I know which people you are speaking about.

    All the problems you have experienced we have also experienced also, plus many more which I will not disclose here in fear of HH seeing this blog and working out who we are. (We still have MANY issues to resolve 12 months in).

    If anyone is thinking of buying a Harron Home then maybe think twice, the houses when complete are lovely, but getting to that stage requires endless arguments, frustration and stress. Maybe come back and buy one in 5 years time when an existing home owner decides to move on and the issues have been rectified.

    The senior sales staff are rude too, they play games and are worse than car salesmen.

    • Hi Anon, wise advice… we’re noticing that senior staff just couldnt care less. Surely their job is to resolve issues and make their business better however i feel we’re all just sidelined and have the label of ‘stupid customers’ applied to us once we’ve signed.

  45. May I just add, that this morning (30.01.15), we had a visit from a Harron Contracts Mananger, who conducted a thorough inspection of our home.

    He informed me that he is going to work with our Site Manager, to get all our internal and external building defects and snagging work completed.

    I now have a glimmer of hope, that at some point in the future, (once all the repairs and building work have been completed) we may own a home of an acceptable standard, and not a house that needs a full schedule of renovation.

    Vicky

  46. That’s horrendous, Im really sorry to hear you situation Vicky. It is deeply worrying for us as new buyers.
    I did go and knock on the door of someone who has bought up at Queensbury Gardens to ask about their experience, they were really happy with the house…..im inclined to go knock on some more…..

    • Kirsty, the site manager at Queensbury gardens is fantastic and he follows through with everything he agrees. I’ve met a lot of the plumbers and they are great guys the only issue I had was with the tiling manager. We have snags but there not as bad as some peoples, our worst was the hot\cold water being hooked up wrong and the boiler fault.
      On site you can see the builders and contractors work really hard and there all friendly, let on and will help ad hoc I have more contact with them than mark as I’m at home more and I’ve no complaints. During the snow all the roads have been cleared and deiced which is a bonus. All I’d say is be just open to the house not being ‘perfect’ and that’s what the end goal is.

  47. Thank you Mark. Your blog and advice has always been of great interest and help.

    The reason why I have decided to tell our story, is that we have been treated dreadfully by Harron, and as Head Office have now confirmed they are no longer willing to speak to us, and absolutley no penny of compensation will be coming our way – the matter is now closed, so I have no hesitation in writing an honest review, about our recent experience of buying a Harron Home.

    As a family we are absolutely devestated about the situation, but life goes on. We just have to accept it, and move on.

    Our site manager Dan, has been our only saviour in this devastating situation, and he is the only Harron employee who has a heart, and sympathises with our situation.

    He has gone out of his way to get our internal snagging work dealt with as quickly as possible, so that our home is fixed internally, and things are put right.

    The external work will be done in due course, and I just hope Dan remains in charge of overseeing the repairs to our property, because he is a star and a credit to such an apauling company. Without his help, in organising our repair work, we really would be up s**t creek without a paddle.

    The workmen on our site have been put under such extreme time pressures, and it is inevitable, homes are going to be rushed and handed over to a poor standard.

    All this is caused by Harron Head Office just wanting homes completed as quickly as possible (no matter what the state of them) so they can get the money off fools like us.

    I know for a fact, that there are other families on our site, who are in similar situations, but I can only speak for ourselves.

    If we could turn back time, then I wish we had not been lured in by the glitzy showhomes, with their glossy kitchens and shiny bathrooms…. The sales ladies are nothing more than smiling assassins who then lead you to your fate.

    Life goes on. It’s a major disappointment and not what we imagined, but we do not live in Syria – and compared to what some poor souls have to put up with, there comes a point when you have to realise it’s only bricks and mortar and not anyone’s life.

    Good luck to anyone buying from Harron.

    Vicky

    • Hi Vicky
      My family (inc 3 year old & 6 month old) are currently considering reserving on a HH development in pontefract. Your story, along with Mark’s, is a real eye-opener!
      Certainly sounds like hassle I can do without. Hope things get sorted for you and your family. xxx

  48. For anyone in the process of buying from Harron Homes, I would like to share my story with you.

    We are a family with a 2 year old daughter and a 2 month old new baby.

    We purchased a home at the Hazelmoor Fold site in January 2015. The entire home buying process can only be described as a living hell.

    The initial stages were fine. We selected our plot, negotiated the deal and part exchange a property. However, As soon as we exchanged contracts, things changed.

    Harron and their solicitor used bullying tactics, threats and the incentives which we had agreed and negotiated prior to exchanging contracts, were then changed so we were worse off, to a value of approximately £6k.

    On the day prior to completion, the 18th December 2014, we arrived at the property, to do the “home tour” with a view to move in the day after, only to find that our home was still a building site.

    There was no drive or access to the property. My baby was not allowed in the house as it was described as dangerous by the sales woman. There was no sanitary ware inside, no toilets, showers, baths. The kitchen was not finished and the house was generally a long way from finished.

    We therefore would not sign their “fixed completion agreement” as we were not going to hand over the best part of £300k to them, for a house we could not live in, and commence our mortgage repayments.

    At no stage did anyone from Harron Homes tell us that the house would not be ready – they consistently lied to us, face to face, and even maintained, after visiting the house in the state I have just described, that the house would be ready, and we have to complete the house purchase.

    We refused.

    On the 23rd of December, the house was still not ready, and Harron Homes now refused to take our calls.

    Their office, together with our solicitors then shut down for the Christmas period until The 5th Janurary 2015. We were left in absolute limbo for the next 23 days, until both offices reopened.

    Christmas was ruined, as we now faced the impending prospect of being made homeless, on the 9th January 2015, when we had to move out of our current home, and new people would move in.

    I would like to point out at this stage, that our newborn baby spent the first month of her life hospital with bronchilitis, heart, stomach, breathing and feeding problems. So we were already under an enormous amount of stress and upset at the time all this was going on.

    Harron were also aware of this situation.

    When Harron reopened on the 5th January 2015, we managed to agree a revised completion date, of the 9th January 2015, (the date we were going to be made homeless) Harron confirmed that the house would be ready.

    We agreed a revised completion date.

    On the 9th January 2015, we moved in, but the house was not finished to an acceptable standard.

    We found major building defects, and snagging issues such as damp patches on ceilings due to leaks, unfinished tiling in the bathroom meaning you could see daylight behind the toilet. Paintwork throughout the house was terrible, staircase bannister was split in half, externally the canopy and the entrance roofs, were both damaged and smashed. Window sills were chipped and even one was cracked in half.

    We had a 4 page document of defective work and snags.

    Due to the amount of work required, once snagging work commenced, we then effectively had to live inside a building site, whilst our home was replastered, redecoratedand and put right.

    I have now had to move out of our home, as I returned home last night to an entire house of wet gloss paint, plaster dust on everything, and a house full of fumes.

    With the serious breathing problems and health issues my 2 month old baby has suffered, it is not safe for her to live there at the moment.

    After explaining the situation, in a very distressed state, to both the marketing suite and phoning head office asking for them to put my family up in alternative accommodation whilst the painting work is completed, we have been ignored and refused.

    My family is at breaking point.

    A phone call today from Harron Head office confirmed that under no circumstance will we be entitled to a penny of compensation, because we would not sign their fixed completion agreement, back in December,

    We have subsequently found out that Harron are now instructed not to take our calls, as their construction director, wrongly offered us 3k in compensation, back in December, meant for another family, as he got mixed up. So an offer he made to us, was then taken away.

    As a result of his error, and the fact we would not hand over our cash when they said we should – we are punished further.

    I hope you have enjoyed reading my story.

    If anyone would like photographic evidence to show the extent of the information given above, or would like to speak to me in person. I would be more than happy to do so.

    • That is truly appalling Vicky, It makes me think we actually got off lightly despite having our own issues.

      Time and time again we were told that Harron Homes are owner owned and don’t have shareholders meaning there is no financial year end and that ample time is given to each home to make sure its ready. I guess in the case of Hazelmoor Fold things may be different.

      I’m sure i can comment from anyone who reads this that our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

      I hope it all works out sooner rather than later.

  49. Turns out I did know about the document, was just in the small print somewhere. I think it has already been factored in with the completion statement from my solicitors.
    Kirsty I am a teacher as well (so is my partner) and we desperately wanted to be in for Feb Half term so we could get sorted during the hols. Also our offer runs out at the end of March and I contacted the mortgage bureau to say I was worried the build might overrun and he said he can sort an extension very easily, without us having to reply or do anything.
    Wow mirrors are expensive at Harron! Think I will stick with next/ikea!

    • Ikea have a big mirror thats only £75 if you can put up with light oak or a black surround. got one in our bedroom, looks great!

  50. I have asked about the document book and this is the reply i got.

    Kirsty,

                  The document is for the plans & documents for the development.

  51. Hi all,

    Interesting to hear no one else knows about this document book.
    As a school teacher moving in September would my worst nightmare! Does anyone know of anyone who has bought a Harron Home who are happy at all??? How has people found Sue the sales woman at QG?

    My mortgage offer would run out before September, i dont think i could cope with the stress of applying again.

    Kirsty

    • Hi Kirsty
      Speak to the Mortgage people and let them know about potential overrun. they can apply for an extension. its free. This happened to us. Yes its stressful but easily fixed!

      Sues ok but really got no power or influence within the organisation. she does her best im sure but everything is decided by her manager.
      Mark

  52. Mark – this blog is great read!! Really well written. Wish there had been something like this before we bought from Harron! We’ve had a lot of problems from start to finish with them and we are at the point where customer services won’t reply to our emails now and won’t acknowledge faults we are reporting! :( Shocking way of dealing with customers!
    I haven’t read all the comments but it seems as though there are a lot of people in a similar situation, we have some neighbours who may have to move out of their home whilst the floor is levelled – a fault they pointed out before anything was fitted and the site manager laughed it off saying it would be sorted out before they moved in!
    I’ll be interested to see how you get on with things in the near future so will keep checking the blog :)

    • Ceri, we’re on Sycamore Chase too….wasn’t aware anyone else on this development was having issues. If you don’t mind me asking, which plot are you? We’re plot 47, the Lydford. What issues are you having? We’re slowly creeping up to completion, just over a month to go? We drive up every weekend to check as not getting any updates. We’ve been arguing over the Stamp Duty changes…worried about completion at the moment. Hope you’re getting things sorted!!

      • Hi Katie
        There are a few of us with problems unfortunately, I’m not sure of all the ins and outs of others but in our road there are 3 of 8 with scaffolding back up and 2 behind us with scaffolding back up too. We are plot 8. Customer Services are completely ignoring any of our emails now and refuse to log further faults we have found. My partner telephoned them yesterday to find out what is happening for Ruth, one of the Customer Service Coordinators to again be very rude and has said they are no longer dealing with our remedial work and have passed it back to site (they weren’t even going to have the courtesy to let us know and needless to say no-one on site has been in touch). He was told yesterday that our site manager no longer works for them and that it is the assistant site manager who is overseeing everything (a tad concerning following his previous behaviour towards us). I contacted the NHBC yesterday and they have said they will take over this for me with Harron as they are clearly not doing what they should be. I even wrote to both Directors for them to completely ignore me too. If you’d like to email me I can give you the full details of the problems we are having.
        We didn’t get any build updates at all yet I know some of our neighbours were fully updated with theirs and also they were given a week to move from their part-ex into their new one.
        I really hope everything goes smoothly for you – feel free to call in and have a chat about it all :)

        • Yeah Ceri, pop me an email I look forward to hearing how bad Harron have treated yet another customer! I’m slightly worried about the site manager not being there anymore….do you know why?! Pop it in the email, it’s katie.hartley@sky.com

          Will certainly pop in for a chat when it’s sorted, excited to have neighbours and a new place to live! Just hope Harron don’t ruin it for us!

          • Morning Katie, I’ll email you later. Try not to let them ruin it – we do love where we are (and the house for that matter) it’s just all the other bits that have taken over enjoying our new home as we should have done.
            Just be prepared to have a comprehensive snagging list, the thing is I think it does come down to each individual’s expectations with regards this, for some people some of the snags won’t bother them enough to get them fixed or they simply haven’t noticed problems etc – I have gone round with a fine tooth comb (which I was advised to do by a friend who had bought a new build from another developer). Some things you won’t notice at first as you’ll be caught up in the whole move and everything but you’ll probably start to notice things as you settle in….anyway I will email you Katie as have hijacked Mark’s blog again (sorry Mark – hope you are seeing some progress with your remedial work?) :)

  53. Thanks Mark and Jenny

    We have got the stamp duty, and flooring in with the deal, but that is it. As we are first time buyers we haven’t got the luxury of buying lots of extras, we have gone with the dishwasher (it is a must) and are upgrading the flooring. Plus mirror in the bathroom. (I cant afford 7 yrs bad luck if we put one up).
    You have said hidden costs. Surely they can’t just pull things out of the blue once you have signed. Although i am not impressed at having to buy their harron home document book for £70+vat. I dont even know what it is!

    I do imagine buying a new build from any company would be hard work.
    We have been told we wont be in before June, but to not be surprised if it is later.

    Jenny have you bought at the Spring Gardens site?

    Thanks

    Kirsty

    • Whats a document book? Ive never seen it. The hidden fees come in with regards to solicitors fees, mortgage securement fees, they want the money for the extras paid in advance, later you’ll get stung for site maintenence fees despite the fact that you’re living on a building site and theres nothing to keep tidy. If theyre saying June expect September.

      How much did they charge for mirrors? We were quoted over £1000 for 2 small mirrors in each bathroom (not cloak). We think they priced us out as they didnt want to sell it to us.

      thanks
      mark

  54. Kirsty we were also instructed to use the mortgage bureau and like you I was anxious. The guy told me about several products but I outlined from the start that I wanted to stay with current lender (due to early repayment fee) and what the terms were. He obviously recommended other products but listened to our request and found exactly what we wanted.
    Are you part exchanging? If so be prepared to pay for some work to be done in terms of reports etc.
    It’s daunting to think about it too much but we are really looking forward to getting in now! Although it has been confirmed our house won’t be ready until mid March :-(

  55. Hi Mark

    You blog has been interesting reading. I am a first time buyer and we have reserved a plot on the new Queensbury site, West Yorkshire. I am really panicking about the whole process. It is a minefield and i don’t want to be taken for a ride etc. I love the houses we have seen. We have gone through the mortgage bureau, can i trust them? I feel i am in too deep to not use them. The advisor has been great so far, however no contracrs have been signed yet…
    As for the snagging list, i have no clue….
    Feeling very very anxious!!!

    Any advice etc would be great

    • Hi Kirsty. Unfortunately you don’t have a choice and will have to put up with their pushy sales process to get the home you want. Expect to pay around double hat everything is worth on the extras list. You pay this to get the 2 year guarantee on workmanship from Harron (or so it appears).

      Weigh it up in your heads. Is it more cost effective to get the freebies but have to put up with Harrons appointed solicitors and mortgage people or do you have the cash to furnish your home without it? For me its worked out ok with carpets, fees and some appliances being thrown in to sweeten the deal. We still probably paid a few thousand on top due to hidden costs.

      They will not make any part of the process easy. Just take this for granted. Its the same everywhere by all accounts.

      hope that helps
      mark

    • Hi Kirsty,
      Which site in queensbury have you reserved?
      Me and my partner have a Jedburgh reserved at queensbury gardens and I’m also feeling very anxious after reading some of the comments on this blog!!

      • Hi Danielle

        Don’t be fooled, its the same experience with all property developers. The biggest issue is that it doesn’t matter what you read online you’ll never be prepared for the process involved in buying a new home. If Harron are reading this (Hi Sue) my biggest piece of advise is to have a document that shows people the steps involved in getting a house with things like fees payable, the state of the house, what buyers need to do when and some information on the after care process to help smooth things over. Also Harron should quit the B.S. and let people have a day to properly snag a home before they move in. This way you’re prepared to accept that there will be things wrong with the house as opposed to opening the door on day one and being disappointed. in short manage customer expectations better!

  56. We are finally going to be able to visit the site today!! it will be nice to see the house up close although we know it’s nowhere near the roof going on (despite a completion date of end of jan/early feb). Hope all is well in the new home!

  57. Hi Mark,

    I think we might get to go on site next week as the road to the front of our house has now been opened up. Although I know its still only at ground floor level, but we wanted to check some access issues we think we might have.
    The snagging sounds complicated, especially the heating! I have a feeling I will never get to grips with the heating. I still don’t understand why we have a huge water cylinder?!?
    Anyway hope your enjoying your new house. Hopefully in February
    we will be joining you!
    Jen

    • Hi Jenny, theres a second boiler in the (built in) garage too which they dont show you. woke up to a freezing cold house again this morning.

      Ive managed to fudge my way through the thermostat settings by adjusting the time and temp each morning for a week which works well. The separate one in the kitchen appears to work differently on a weekday/weekend cycle.

      Good luck!

      mark

  58. Great read and brought back a lot of snagging memories

    We’ve been in 9 months and most of our issues have been resolved. I just wish they would clean the brickwork at the side of our house but it’s ok apparently.

    We have lots of the same issues problem is Harron just employee contractors who don’t really care. They would benefit from better oversite

    Hope everyone enjoys their new homes

  59. Wow Michelle that sounds horrendous. You really do need to take legal action on this, it is not good enough!

    We have a corker for you. Our house didn’t include a shower over the bath, so we decided to pay the £850 for one to be put in (as didn’t want to do it ourselves) so the price included full wall tiling on the walls around the bath. We also wanted full wall tiling in the bathroom, so we told them that we expect some money back on the price of the full wall tiling because we were paying for part of it with the shower pricing. They said they won’t offer any discount!! How bad is that?! They literally have the WORST decision makers in the world. I don’t know who is making their business decisions but this person needs sacking because they clearly have no concept of how to please customers and keep them happy after EVERYTHING else they have done to us.

    Michelle, have you taken the legal action regarding the stamp duty yet? We have still not heard anything from the legal side, just some threatening emails from the so called Sales Contract Manager Alex. They may think they have won, but we are taking independent legal advice after Christmas to ensure that they pay what they said in our contract. I won’t rest until they have lost because they are so appalling as a company they will not benefit from this.

    Just want to say, I am really grateful for this blog and knowing that we are not alone in this. Thanks Mark.

    • Katie – we have dealt with Alex too – they all seem to be completely incompetent and if they can’t (or won’t) answer your questions they simply ignore you or pass you to another person or leave the company!! Absolutely ridiculous. After reading some of these comments I am feeling a bit heavy hearted that my writing to the Directors may have been pointless. I’m currently waiting for the NHBC to get back to me and have my fingers crossed that they may be able to help.

      Hope you get sorted out and really really wish we had had something like this to read before we bought with Harron (even though we really do love our home!)

      • Hi Ceri,

        Let us know how you get on with that! Would love to know if you succeed with anything against these people!

  60. Hi all, we didn’t win the dispute over stamp duty and ended up paying 5% on our extras bill. They would not give us £150, the difference between the 3% we would have paid on the old ruling as opposed to the 5% on the new ruling. Harron homes should have paid over £7000 and oh paid £3200! We moved in on Friday 19th and although being told the garage would be open from 9am, cleaners were still in the property until gone 11am. We had our demo which was a waste of time, we weren’t even shown how to operate the alarm. Our snagging list is huge and includes items we paid extra for which haven’t been done, i.e. halo under cupboard lights, and outside tap! We have a crack in our ensuite shower tray, scratches on our hob and our dish washer dosen’t work, no water reaching it, our rear security light is in the wrong position and dosen’t work, our wall lights are not level or evenly spaced…need I go on… It’s endless. We are disgusted in the service we have received from exchanging contracts to now! My sister moved on the same day and the waste pipe to their ensuite shower had not been connected causing flooding to the bathroom and into the kitchen through the light fittings. They have been fitted with the wrong worktop in their kitchen and no silver trim
    In any bathrooms, which they paid extra for. The paint work is poor. We have chips in our stoned window stills on front of the house and a huge piece missing from our door sill too. We have a hole in the floor in our hall which has just been carpeted over! We are extremely and will be seeking legal action if Harron Homes do not put right all we have listed in our snagging list! There is more!

    • Wow Michelle what a nightmare. It makes you think Harron need to quality check everything before we move in. We’ve been promised our biggest snags will be fixed before xmas and are putting together a full list for January. As always I’ll keep the blog post updated.

  61. facebook.com/groups/367271546782035

    Hi Rachel – the link above should work.

    Hope all goes well with your purchase.

  62. Hi vicky, can you confim the FB page, just tried to view but unable to find it. I hope you get everting sorted!!

  63. Wow, I want to see these but can’t find the group!! That is disgusting, who would sign a completion document when the house is clearly not complete?! They really are taking the p there with you, good on you for not signing.

    We have exchanged, the contract states they will pay £7800 stamp duty and we said we will make them pay, yet they’ve threatened us saying if we choose that route then we are liable to pay the £4800 extra as they will only pay the lower rate. How can they get away with that if we have a contract and reservation form saying this? We’re very much considering legal action now with an independent solicitor. If they won’t let us benefit then there is no way we’re letting them benefit. They think they can bully us and make us back down but they messed with the wrong people! Justice for Harron customers!

    So far with Mark’s snagging list and your experience I’m not hopeful at all for next year!!

  64. Yes, thank you Mark, I feel awful ranting and raving on your blog, but like you pointed out they should take notice of this! But I have loved reading your blog, check it all the time for progress updates!

    We have got a name of the Sales Contract Manager who deals with out development and she was was meant to call Rick yesterday afternoon – obviously avoiding us as per usual. So, we have guessed the email address and lo and behold no bounce back! We have given them one last opportunity to compromise with us and give us what we want, otherwise they will be paying the stamp duty at the old rates, which means they will be paying the full £7800. We have checked with HMRC to see if we can do this and it is completely our choice so if they think they will get away with it then they have another thing coming.

    At this point, we don’t even care about the extras anymore, all we care about it making sure that Harron stick to what they said in the contract which is the 3% stamp duty/£7800. And it will make me feel good to do that!

    I really can’t believe how poor their customer service is though, it’s an appalling way to treat customers. I sincerely hope that you win in a small claims court because they don’t deserve to get away with it! Good luck and keep us posted with your progress. We will let you all know how we go on!

    After I wrote this, we got an email saying they were not changing their mind and they would pay full SDLT, they also included the line “I fully understand that it is your decision whether you opt to pay under the new rules or the old rules as you are the one that is liable to pay the SDLT.” We believe that they are going to try find some loophole that will make them pay the lower rate and us pay the remainder so we are working on that. All in all, I am hating everything about them at the moment.

  65. Hi Mark
    Very useful blog, we are buying at Hazelmoor Fold but our property isnt due to be ready until Apr next year. Thanks for snagging heads up and Vicky Im keen to know how your house tour goes.

    • Hi Rachel, we only got 1/2 an hour to tour. Snagging was downplayed massively and the inference was that they’d sort things later after you’d moved in. This was countered by a document they make you sign on the day you move in which states that you’re happy with the house and its your responsibility to fix things from that point onwards…. again the disparity between what you sign and what they actually do is very annoying.

  66. Hi Katie,

    I’m Vicky’s other half.

    Sorry to hear you are having a similar issue to us. Your comment about greed sums this up. Harron are trying to wriggle out of paying these amounts on the technicality that it was earmarked to go towards stamp duty. Part of our argument has been that we had the option to assign this allowance to something else at the point of reservation and if we were negotiating on the same house now, we would still expect the same cash value contribution from Harron but would assign it to something else as the stamp rate is now lower.

    This is all about Harron trying to boost year end profits, in the process they are upsetting a large number of buyers. As we are actually the best people to be selling their homes for them, I would consider it a short sighted way to do business.

    I would recommend you get some independent legal advice, we have. It won’t necessarily help this side of completion for us, but we will be pursuing Harron legally after completion. The problem is that with the rule changes being so new, this sort of dispute has not been tested in court. That’s about to change, we’ll let you know how we go.

    Mark, I’m sorry to be hijacking your blog to whine about Harron’s disgusting attitude to customers. We’ve enjoyed following the progress of your house and hope it’s all going well for you.

    • Don’t worry about it. I’m happy to provide the forum for this and hope that Harron take notice and learn from customer experiences… it can only make them a better company.

  67. Hi Vicky. We signed up to buying the house on the basis we would get 5% of the value in incentives. We chose stamp duty and it was £7800. Under the new rules it is £2999, a saving of £4500. We have argued that seeing as though they are paying less, we should get the extra £4500 in incentives for the house. If they don’t we will choose to go down the old rules and they will pay the full amount. It says in the reservation form 3% stamp duty and in the contract £7800. We’re lucky in the sense that we haven’t got to roof stage yet (although they’re pressuring us to choose extras this weekend – part of their dirty tactics) so we are still fighting it out, but you’re right their customer service is appalling. We have had no formal letter, or phone all from anyone who has power, instead it has all come from the sales office who basically told us we were being greedy and quote “no one else is going down this route you’re the only ones who are being like this” and “you’re not losing out of anything because you never had it in the first place” we are using their solicitor too but he told us today that Harron are doing nothing and not changing their stance on the decision which is we get nothing extra. We have been chasing and asking but they are not coming out with anything from the legal side and we are absolutely fuming. We don’t know what to do, whether to go get legal advice from someone else or not? Would it make a difference do you think? I don’t want to choose my extras before this is rectified. But all in all they are disgusting, extremely poor at customer service and greedy. After all this was meant to benefit homebuyers….NOT greedy housing developers.

  68. We are now on our third completion statement which we must settle by Wednesday. Our first had an incorrect figure for our P/X property, after pointing this out it was amended and we received a second statement we were happy with. This has now been amended again and we are being asked to pay stamp duty on the cost of our extras. Harron Homes agreed to pay our stamp duty at 3% as an incentive, the amount they need to pay has significant decreased due to the changes to Stamp Duty on 4th Dec and yet they are trying to pass a further cost onto us. Can anyone advise on this matter? Has anyone else paid stamp duty on the cost of their extras?

    • We didn’t, in fact we got a letter saying Harron wouldn’t be paying as much as expected due to the chancellors decrease!

    • Hi Michelle, we are currently going through a similar fight with Harron Homes about the stamp duty, would you mind me dropping you an email? Thanks!

  69. Hi there,
    Great read, we’ve had a very similar experience. Thanks for the snagging list, we are due to move into our new Harron Home in Morton on 19th December. Wondered if anyone else from the Morton site has been in touch and if they have been affected by the french drain issue and losing some if their garden with the double fence?

    • Hi michelle. I haven’t heard anything directly but would encourage anyone who knows about this to get in touch and I will pass the message along

    • Hi Michelle.

      I’m due to move in on the Morton site, just waiting for confirmation, but hopefully be pre Christmas. I’ve also found this an interesting read. Looks like we could all be in a fight to get the snags put right.

    • I’m also due to move in on the Morton site, hopefully pre Christmas, just waiting confirmation. Our house is affected by the double fence, but where still happy with the garden size. It’s getting the snags put right that’s more my concern. Ps great article Mark.

      • Hi Mark, we’re moving into plot 1 and we have a lot of water in the ‘water easement’ which runs the full length of our garden from front to rear, it is also very close to our house. We have been assured there will be less water once the site is finished, fingers crossed! Hope your move goes well and there aren’t too many snags! Less than a week to go!!

  70. Gosh that is not much time at all. We are currently trying to decide on tiles and kitchens etc but it is proving difficult!

    • That’s the best bit. Have you become obsessed by interior design shows yet? My tip is to go and visit lots of show homes even ones that aren’t Harron for scheme ideas.

  71. Yes it’s nice to see the new neighbourhood coming together! I am a bit bewildered by the whole snagging process but luckily I have a friend who is a commercial snagger she has offered her services! Am I right in thinking the snagging takes place before completion?

    • Hi jenny. They wince when you mention snagging and prefer to call it a tour. Their intent is that they show you how things work in the house and not for you to check the build and finish. I get the feeling they want you to snag after your in which is contentious at best.

      The solicitor has advised us that if there is anything wrong with the house that you still have to move in unless its a serious snag. If you’ve paid for any extras these have to be right before you move in. The snagging period lies in the 10 days between the cml being completed and your moving in date which doesn’t leave a lot of time for this

  72. We have just exchanged on plot 96, after quite a stressful few months. Me and my partner have been at our wits end trying to get everything sorted in the timescale HH wanted.
    They have told us an estimated completion date on end of Jan, but I am going to bank on a Frb half term move instead!

    • Hi jenny. Its great to meet a new neighbour… There seems to be a few people from our development on here and contacting me by email. Its taken around 2 months from the first completion date estimated for our house which was finally signed off on Friday of this week. If you need to know what’s in store keep checking back or pop me an email with your questions.

      Mark

  73. Hi Mark

    Excellent and very informative report, hopefully all these issues will be resolved soon and we are all settled for Christmas.

    I didn’t realise you were buying on the same development as ourselves when i emailed you earlier!! After reading your report again and seeing your house picture it appears we are actually going to be next door neighbours.

    All the best with the move

    Tony

  74. There seems to have been a problem with your comments on here Mark – I replied a couple of times this week.

    We’ve gone for a few spots – but not too many. At £70 each you have to stop somewhere!

    Harron won’t offer a long stop date, but I insisted and they backed down.

    • Hi Andrew, thanks yes the post’s comments closed at 60 days so i’ve upped the time frame to a year (it feels like its been as long lol). Again well done. you must be dealing with someone who presses your point and gets what you want.

  75. The snagging company is http://sitesnagging.co.uk/

    I think a lot of this is down to how hard you push and who you’re dealing with. There was no question about us using our own mortgage advisor.

    Beaumonts have been very impartial so far to be fair to them, and have dug their heals in for me on a few occasions.

    Despite what you say (to be honest I’ve expected a delay all along), I’ve seen the show homes on my site go from roof to complete in 3 weeks – so I am optimistic to some extent, but not too worried if not.

    We have a long stop date in our contract of 31st January anyway to be sure.

    • Hi Andrew sounds like you’re getting a stellar service! I’m quite interested to see you’ve got a long stop date. none of this was ever discussed with us. We’ll check the snagger out thanks.

      Have you gone spotlight mad in your interior?

  76. Hi Mark

    Really good write up. We’re due to move in at Hazelmoor Fold, Blackley in 4 weeks and ours only got to roof stage yesterday.

    The pressure is on as it’s Harron’s year ed 31st December and they want everyone in for Christmas.

    I’ve got snagging on a 4 bed, 2 living room Salcombe V1 for £500 so it is possible to get it well under £1k. Harron are not happy about me using a snagger though.

    You don’t have to use Harron’s solicitor or mortgage advisor, but they do ask you to speak to their mortgage advisor to sense check your finances before they let you reserve. You do not have to get your mortgage through them though and I used my own.

    Solicitors wise, they give you a list of 4 that deal with new builds and know the intricacies of them. I’d (so far) recommend Beaumonts as they seems to be reasonably efficient for us.

    If there’s anyone reading this who is moving into Blackley, then I’ve set up a group at facebook.com/groups/367271546782035/ as it may be a good way for new neighbours or potential buyers to get in touch with each other.

    • Hi Andrew… looks like Harron homes appeal to digital marketeers like us :)

      If you’ve only just got the roof on then i don’t think you’ll be in for the end of the year. the weathers turned so everything is taking an age to do and the houses take longer to dry out… but good luck! We were originally told we’d be in for mid Sept and the house still isn’t finished.

      Who’d you get your snagging through if you don’t mind me asking?

      Despite asking if we could use our own mortgage and solicitor we were told that this wasn’t an option and were asked to pick our choices from their list on the spot with no time for us to research so we’ve both had different experiences there.

      Good luck with the Facebook Group however if Harron get wind of it you might expect some push back… just be careful what you write and moderate heavily.

  77. Hi Mark,
    I hope everything is going ok for you. We are just coming to the point that you mentioned before where all the little extra costs start creeping in. Do you know if the evaluation fee for the mortgage company is payable by harron if they have agreed to pay your legal costs? And the conveyance fee that you have to pay upfront to the solicitors, do they give you that back. Harron make everything sound so simple n straight forward but fail to mention all these extra cost.

    • Hi Mandy you don’t get the mortgage fee back… It was about £200. We had to pay some money to the solicitor … It was about £350. I believe the money comes off the bill at the end however Im not banking on seeing any cash any time soon. Your next expense should be the extras which is fun but a great way of burning through thousands of pounds up front

  78. It all get rushed through but then you are left dangling at their mercy and have to jump when they say. We still have no date. Which is frustrating as I would like to book some time of work, which isn’t easy with xmas coming up. But there may be hope in sight if they are aiming to get you in for the 21st. Good luck!

  79. We have been up to the site today and have been told that the site should have water, gas n electric on Monday. Wont hold my breath as they tell us this nearly every week. They gave still not given us a completion date. Not sure if you have noticed Mark that there are no street lights leading down the long road to the site and when I asked if they were been put in they brushed it off.

    • Hi Mandy i know electrics are in as our porch light is now on when i popped up last night however the fronts have yet to be filled in. We had an ‘interesting’ experience yesterday with Harron Homes making threats if we didn’t exchange contracts by today. We’ve been given a moving in date of the 21st Nov failing this the 12th Dec and Harron Homes have said if they miss the 21st we’ll be reimbursed any moving costs. They litterally wantyou to move in with no notice period (ok… 10 days from the NSBCI signing off the property but thats still crazy).

      • LOVE that I’ve found this blog so I don’t feel alone in this anymore! We had threats of not exchanging from them if we didn’t agree to have an Electrical Safety Certificate carried out on our part/ex written into to contract – we provided ALL of the certificates it states in the reservation doc etc, we provided the Gas safety cert and the Electrical Installation cert as it was within date therefore we didn’t need to get the electrical safety cert – we wouldn’t agree to this and spoke to our conveyancer (recommended by them) and to head office BOTH just kept repeating ‘it’s non negotiable’. The Sales manager said that if we didn’t agree to it and exchange then they would cancel the sale!! Needless to say we had to do it. I have asked repeatedly for the last 6 months for someone to show me in the paperwork where it says I had to get this (as even our conveyancer had said we’d provided everything then suddenly changed his mind) but they won’t show me. Very suspicious.
        We also didn’t get our 10 days notice of completion as Harron didn’t think it important enough to keep us in the loop despite being assured they would – I had to email/call everyday whilst we were on holiday as we were due to move the week after. At 4pm on the Friday we still weren’t made aware if we were moving the following Friday!! We did but it was terribly stressful and we also had to beg with the post office to hold our mail at the sorting office until the redirect could be put in place because of course Harron hadn’t registered our postcode!! Sorry for the endless RANT on people’s comments but I do feel a bit relieved and have found people in the same situation.
        We are on the Sycamore Chase development.

  80. I know its quite high up. They have plenty of back filling to do. It just looks like the site will never be ready on time. Might be an xmas eve move lol! Wish they could give a date for the move as there is so much to sort out.

  81. Thanks mark. It would be good to keep in touch. Always good to meet the neighbours lol.. we are going up to the site on thursday to see how things are getting on. Have u heard anything?

    • Hi. Nothing concrete. The utilities looked like they’re being backfilled but we may be mistaken about that.

      Will you be excavating the cellar of your garage as it must sit 20ft in the air from the ground :)

      Mark

  82. Hi Mark. Can I ask if its plot73 you are buying. We are going through the same process as you. It all seems so complicated and they say we will be in before xmas, aiming for beginning of December. We are buying the Rochester plot70.

    • Hi Mandy,
      Yes indeed that’s us! pop in for a coffee any time :)
      Looks like you’re going to be in one of the few Rochesters on the site now they’re changing planning.
      If you need any help or advanced knowledge just ask.
      thanks
      Mark

  83. Hi Mark, just enquiring how things are progressing and any more updates for your blog. We are buying at Hazel Moor and awaiting to exchange contracts. We sent a big list of queries to the appointed solicitors nearly 2 weeks ago as wasn’t prepared to sign the contracts we were sent, but nothing back as yet. Look forward to your next update.
    Thanks
    Vicky

    • Hi Vicky,
      As i met the site manager last Friday we didn’t go to the house last weekend. At present we still don’t have a moving in date made worse as Harron wont even make a guess any more.

      Don’t expect anything from the solicitors other than “this is standard”. Our contract is still as is despite our making what we consider reasonable requests. Like you we’ve not sent back the contract as we don’t want to be tied to an inconvenient moving in date.

      As always i’ll keep you posted :)

      Mark

  84. Hi Mark,

    This blog was a very interesting read! My partner and I have bought a Tiverton style house from Harron Homes in the Midlands area and have had nothing but problems since we exchanged contracts. Customer service is a joke and nobody seems to know anything! We have been living in our new home for over 2 months and are still awaiting a phone line being installed! We were told before moving in there would be around a 6 week wait for the lines being installed but that Harron would be providing us with an internet dongle to use until they were in, THIS WAS A LIE!! We also have a fair few outstanding ‘snags’ on the house such as a huge hole in the plasterwork, lead flashing not fitting flush over the bay window allowing for damp, air bubbles in the lino and a fair few more! It seems to us that once they have your money they don’t give a sh*t and their customer service definitely leaves a lot to be desired! A word of advice, if they ‘promise’ you anything get it in writing. I would be interested to hear other customers’ experiences buying from Harron Homes.

    Katie

    • Thanks for the comment Katie… its become all to clear that we’re going to have to fight tooth and nail for every thing… we’re not in yet but ive got my 600+ point spreadsheet ready for the ‘tour’ day (they dont call it a snagging day). If i may ask. how is your garden? the site we’re on looks like its going to be waterlogged until the balancing pond is finished as the grass in the new show homes was positively floating when we visited yesterday.

    • Hi Katie
      We have had a very similar experience to yourselves. We moved into our home last June and have been battling with Customer Services ever since to get outstanding remedial work done and done to the standard it should be.
      They have caused more damaged coming to fix snags, and have ‘bodged’ some work too, we have a lot of issues which aren’t snags and are faulty workmanship, the list is endless. In November we insisted that their inspector come out to do a report – they are refusing to give us a copy of the report and will only give me a partial list (after me emailing numerous times) and STILL won’t be upfront as to what faults they have logged. They are just ignoring all of our emails now, resulting in me sending a copy of all my correspondence to the two Directors this week in *hope* that they will get this resolved.
      We had a lot of issues prior to moving in, we weren’t informed of the management company fees until just before we were due to exchange (meaning we had spent too much money on mortgage valuations, reservation fees, solicitors etc to pull out), they didn’t inform us of the back garden not being turfed (as this would have been something we would have negotiated for prior to reserving) and more importantly they didn’t inform us of any part exchange terms and conditions until AFTER they had SOLD our house – again giving no option but to continue as we couldn’t afford to lose the money we had already spent to move onto another property somewhere else.

      I would advise ANYONE thinking of buying a Harron Home to get in touch with someone who has experience of this company! I certainly wouldn’t recommend them to anyone let alone friends or family. The way they treat their customers is disgraceful when all we are asking for is what they ‘advertised’ that we would get.

  85. Hi I just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Me and my partner are thinking about buying the Tiverton on the same development. Thanks to your blog you have give us a massive insight in to what goes on when buying a new house.
    As the other Tiverton’s prices haven’t been released yet I was just wondering what I should expect to pay?

    I will look forward to reading your finished blog.

    Thanks Tom.

    • Hi Tom,

      Thanks for reading… we bought ours for a tad under £250k however expect the prices to fluctuate depending on the location of your home, the same house on a different site was £50k more!

      Mark

  86. Hi, Just wondering how things are progressing with your house? We are just at the starting block of deciding on a new Harron Home or not in a development in West Yorkshire also, all the hidden up front costs and the insistence of using the broker they suggest and own sols is a worry to me now after reading your blog!! We are also looking at the Tiverton or the Pembroke. I wonder if you only have to use their own sols if you take their “Sol fee’s paid” option, as I would rather use an independant IFA and my own family sols who I trust and pay for them than use their “free” service going on the advice you have offered here!!! The 3 grades of carpets you say they offer, is the top grade as good as those lovely thick ones they include in the show home or is that not a choice either??

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for reading… The issue with solicitors etc is more annoying than anything else… after the fact we were told that if we didn’t like the service we could switch however we were in too deep with paying fees etc by that point. I’d push to use your own as part of the negotiations if i was you. Hold fast and don’t budge until you get what you want and be prepared to walk away (they’ll call you!). and yes the top grade of carpet is the thick pile which i’m sure is lovely under your toes :)

      Thanks again
      Mark.

      • Sorry I missed your reply!! Well we have not gone any further yet (due to a change in my husbands job!) but he is settled in his new role now and we are ready to re joint the headache of new build buying!! Your blog post has certainly helped me no end and I will be ensuring that I use an IFA and my own sols, I would rather pay the sols/IFA fee’s and ensure they are acting in my interested even if that does mean forfeiting the kitchen tiled floor and fully tiled bathroom I was wanting haha!! Do you still have a copy of the optional extras price list you could email me so I could take a look at what the hit will be for the extras we would be wanting! Also would love to hear what you think of the turfing once you are in, as I have read bad stories about new builds (not specifically Harron) and then laying turf over rocks etc, our current property is classed as new build (12 yrs old) and the garden is not great, can’t get a peg in properly to hold the kids football net down for example as just hits rubble! I look forward to reading your update and thanks for all your insight!

        • Hi Jennifer,

          Our back turf should be amazing as its been back filled up about 4 foot. They have to lay i think its 6in of topsoil on the front however i suspect that as theyre putting this in in November it will be problematic due to the ground being either waterlogged or frozen solid.

          I’ll send over the extras list later.

          Mark

          • Hi Mark, I got the email with the extra’s list thanks for that. your back garden sound like it should be lovely then, I hope ours will be the same, they are offering free turf at the moment though so will probably be rubbish if we agree to take it!! Thanks for all the info and I look forward to reading the snagging post!! Did you ever thing of employing a snagger from brick kickers or somewhere – that was my plan as would rather be safe than sorry!

            • We have quotes from snaggers but it runs at around £1,000 to do all of the rooms as they charge per room. The only opportunity you get to look at your finished house before you move in is during what they call a tour. Having spent a few days compiling snagging lists, looking at photos of other peoples snags im pretty confident that we’ll catch most of it. In any case the solicitor has told us that you snag after you move in… which is not ideal but implies that you don’t have just the one opportunity to add things to a list. The rule of thumb seems to be if you can see an issue from 3m away then its a snag – especially if its anything to do with glazing. The rest is just a matter of things being level and operational.

          • Wow £1000 for the snagging – that is excessive, I had looked on these websites that gave guide prices so kind of figured it would be around £400-£500 which is expense again but I would of probably paid that, but £1000 (which we will get the same quotes being in the same area and same size house) is excessive so we won’t be able to cover that as well! Looking forward to hearing your experiences with the quality of the build and getting things repaired once you have found any (hopefully minimal!) issues. Good luck

            • Lets see what the weekend brings. If the NSBC sign off on the quality of the build then we should be full steam ahead next week.

  87. This is a brilliant article. We are in the process of potentially buying from Harron Homes at their new site at Blackley – and as they are not forthcoming with any information about optional extras and prices, this is so helpful. We will refer back to your article again. Excellent

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