First Home Buyers: Tina and Simon

“The moment I stepped into this home, I knew it was the one!” says Tina. “It was all so easy with Universal. The purchase process was very simple, and so streamlined. The Universal team did an outstanding job.” We caught up with Tina and Simon at their North Auckland home to chat with them about what they’ve learned on the first home buyer journey, the perks of buying brand new, and how they found the process of buying with Universal.

Coastal life

“We love living here on the Hibiscus Coast,” Simon explains. “It feels like being on a bit of a vacation when we leave work and come home to this spot. We also enjoy the immense variety of where we are. Driving five minutes in each direction provides quite different scenery and things to do.”

“Living in the area means we can really make the most of summer,” says Tina. One of the family’s favourite local things to do is enjoy the cycle track that goes right around the Orewa estuary. “It’s such a pretty loop walk, nice and flat with a great cycle way, and dog friendly too for our fur baby.” The many local beaches are another favourite local haunt, along with the variety of shopping options in the area. “Life is pretty busy running our business Central Cleaning Services, but when we do manage to find time to eat out we love the local spots, like the surf club right on Orewa Beach.”

Ironically, Tina had vowed that she didn’t want to buy in the area, as she felt it was out of the way from the North Shore, where she grew up. “Dad used to work for Universal Homes as a contractor, and he suggested we take a look at the new homes in the area. So, we did. We found we were really attracted to the Hibiscus Coast, and to Universal’s new houses. We kept coming back to look again. We’d find ourselves returning, saying, ‘let’s just go for another quick drive!’”

“An outstanding job”

Tina recalls how nervous she was about the whole process, especially because it was the couple’s first home purchase of their very own. “It’s such a big outlay of money, when you come to buy a home. The Universal team did an outstanding job! We were so impressed. Buying with a reputable company meant a lot to us, as we knew we could put our trust in the whole thing.”

“Since my Dad used to work for Universal Homes, he reiterated to us that the quality and workmanship would be really good,” explains Tina. “When we were looking for our first home, we wanted to purchase something new. We considered a number of homes including some built by other major build companies, but we were not happy with the quality or layout and design of other homes.” The couple loved aspects of their Universal home such as the solid tile roof, and the quality materials used. Simon adds, “It meant a lot to us that Universal uses quality products to build their homes.”

“What also appealed about a Universal home was that space! It was airy, bright, and light – just perfect for our family and for entertaining. We love how Universal considers things like layout and the details to make liveable homes.” The couple’s son has muscular dystrophy so the layout with living space downstairs is crucial for the practical management of their day-to-day life.

Tina recalls, “We opened the door that first time, and just like that, I knew it was the right home for us! We were sold.” Simon adds, “Just before making the final decision, I parked our car in the driveway, and it looked right. It just felt like home.” Tina laughs, “The entertaining deck did it for me! We open the ranch sliders and the whole side of the house is open! I love that, as it’s very practical when we have friends over.”

Buying brand new

“For us it was easy,” says Simon. “Just move in and start living! It has been so good living here. It was all so simple with Universal. Anytime we had a question, our Sales Consultant Maryanne was on the end of the phone, reliable and ready to answer. She was always so helpful.”

Simon adds, “Buying a brand new home is wonderful. It was heaven! We had to pinch ourselves about it, particularly being our first home. We’d tell the kids, don’t touch the walls – we wanted to retain that brand new feeling for as long as we possibly could. We enjoyed putting our own stamp on it: choosing our own furnishings, curtains, and just settling in and making it our own home.”

“The purchase process was very good. We have friends who have had such a hard time buying a new home. We wonder why, as the process was so streamlined with Universal. Even the final inspection guy went over and above. It was so easy getting back in touch with the team for a few small adjustments, even after moving in. They told us no matter what you need, just email, and we will be in touch. And they really stuck to their word on that.”

Tina explains how she liked seeing that the garden and landscaping was all done by Universal. “It was well considered, from the hedge being boxed in, to the kinds of plants used – things like coastal grasses, that link to the area this home is situated in. We loved that care and thought! It meant a lot during that very busy move-in period when you are rushed and often don’t have the time or funds to sort the garden. It was a real credit to Universal.” Simon adds, “It was even fully fenced – they really went the whole nine yards!”

Juggling the dates of leaving their rental and moving into their new home was a challenge for the family. Tina explains, “Timing became tricky, as we had a deadline from our landlords to move out by a set date because they were selling the rental we were living in. The Universal team was so understanding and accommodating when we asked if there was a possibility that we could move in earlier. They really stepped up and ensured things would work out for us and went above and beyond what they needed to do, so that we could move directly from one house to another without needing to go into temporary accommodation as a third spot, which was really helpful. The timing all worked out, and that’s thanks to the Universal team.”

A community to enjoy

One of the most important things on the family’s home wish list was to find a home in an area with a true community spirit. “And we’ve certainly found it,” says Simon. “Living here is being part of a great community. When we moved in, it was really easy to connect with people in the area, as people were like-minded and in a similar position to us. Other neighbours and locals were keen to join in for social get-togethers. We’ve enjoyed picnics, pizza in the park, and lots of summer events including Christmas gatherings.”

The family say that they are often struck by the friendliness of their local neighbourhood. “It was amazing to see how caring and generous people were during the Covid lockdowns too; really quite heartwarming stuff. Despite a wide age range in the area, people are more than happy to help, lend items, and swap tools for a particular task.”

The Milldale lifestyle

Creating dream new homes in desirable locations: it’s what we do at Universal Homes, and it’s been our passion for over three generations. We believe in helping you find a home in a community where you can thrive! Situated between Millwater, Silverdale and Wainui just North of Auckland, the new residential development of Milldale enjoys a wide range of existing and new amenities right nearby. We’re proud to design and build outstanding quality, expertly crafted, smart and secure homes with lasting style, functionality, and durability in Milldale.

Trusted for three generations

Our team is proud to have been trusted by Kiwis like Tina and Simon for over three generations, with our longevity in the industry and straightforward purchasing system ensuring we keep things simple for you, during what can be a challenging time. We understand the changing landscape of New Zealand home purchasing, creating quality architecturally designed homes at varying price points and typologies to suit your needs. We provide great value and simple buying terms. Enjoy all the perks of a brand new healthy home including double glazing plus the latest appliances and fittings, all wrapped up in our easy-to-care-for designs. For everyone who wants a home that’s truly their own, there’s Universal Homes.

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