First Home Buyers: Sarah and Tim

First home buyer insights

“The buying process was very easy and straightforward with Universal. Adrienne and the team have been very helpful throughout with the service they have provided. The Universal team is made up of some amazing people,” say Sarah and Tim, who’ve just moved into a new home at West Hills in Auckland’s North West. We chatted with the family early on in their home-buying journey, and then caught up again once they had settled into their new home to find out what buying a brand new home was like for them. Tim and Sarah share their love of the area, how they found the process of buying off the plan, and how they’re enjoying terrace home life.

A community to enjoy

“We have always lived out West,” says Sarah. “Tim actually grew up in Waitakere. We lived in Henderson for five years, and most of our family and friends live in the area. In fact, one of our friends bought a home at West Hills as well.”

“Because we already know and love the area, when we were considering a new place to live now that we have a little one, we decided not to go far from where we already considered home to be. We are looking forward to continuing to enjoy familiar faces around us. West is very close to our hearts.”

When it comes to their choice of West Hills as a place to call home, the couple explain, “We just love it! We love the location – it’s so close to everything we do and need. All the development, shopping choices and malls just down the road was a huge selling point for us. Little Maia (our daughter) goes to ballet five minutes down the road, her swimming school is less than 10 minutes away, there are mall options, a cinema, and our favourite restaurants are close by. Plus, we have so many supermarket options right here: a Pak’nSave, two Countdowns, and The Warehouse too. We are looking forward to Costco coming soon, right down the road. Also, we love that we are nice and close to the motorway, and have options as to which ramp to get onto. Maia’s daycare is just across the road from our home. Sarah works in Penrose so can easily drop Maia off in the morning, then take the motorway. It is so convenient.”

Support throughout your home buying journey

“We’ve really enjoyed buying with Universal,” the couple enthuses. “Even the West Hills Sales Consultant that supported us throughout our home buying journey is a local. We’d like to specifically mention and thank Adrienne. She’s done a fantastic job answering all of our concerns, each step of the way. The Universal team is made up of some amazing people. The team was so accommodating, even through the Christmas holidays.”

A straightforward buying process

The couple share how they found the purchase process with Universal simpler than they thought. “The buying process was very easy and straightforward with Universal. Adrienne and the team have been very helpful throughout with the service they have provided us with.”

“Before moving in, we were concerned about the challenges that came with buying a home during the uncertain times of Covid. We heard a number of horror stories of other developers changing the purchase price due to unforeseen expenses, which then made the sale fall through in some cases. We are just so thankful that Universal kept to their contract as a longstanding home builder.”

Sarah explains how Universal enabled the family to move in before Christmas. “Inevitably, we were pushed back a couple of months due to Covid lockdowns causing delays. Even so, the West Hills team would send updates of what was happening. We were so appreciative that they were able to ensure we could move in before Christmas. We know it was very tight to do so due to the holidays and lockdowns, but Universal made it happen. This made us feel they were treating us as actual people with aspirations and families, rather than just a revenue stream.”

Purchasing off the plan

“The wait is the hardest part of buying off the plan! But because Universal sent us updates at key steps through the build process, it made the waiting bearable. I understand it could seem overwhelming to some people, to contemplate buying a home when you can’t actually see what you are going to be getting as a finished product. That’s where the Showhome was useful as a kind of model property, to help visualise and understand the layout and finishings.”

The appeal of terrace home living

When asked what led them to terrace home living, Sarah laughs. “Honestly, Tim had some initial reservations when we began considering it, and didn’t want to end up with an overly tight living space. I totally understand that perspective, because he grew up in the countryside. On the other hand, I am from the Philippines and I’m very much used to the ease of terrace living.”

“Terrace home living also appeals as a parent, as I personally feel safer knowing that we have neighbours close to us in the event that something unfortunate happens. We also love that other families here are in a similar stage and situation to us – youngish couples, with little kids. It is a quiet community and neighbours are respectful of each other. We can walk around with Maia on her tiny bike. We are really pleased with our terrace home.”

A brand new home

“Stress-free,” are the initial words that come to mind when Sarah is asked how she feels living in her brand new home. She adds, “Low to no maintenance means a lot practically for us, and it is so comfortable. We don’t have to worry about mould, which is a big concern with a little one in our family, and we can enjoy our weekends more with family and friends.”

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