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Young professionals get on the property ladder in Hamilton

Young professionals get on the property ladder in Hamilton

First homebuyers Emma Langman and Matt Fairweather made their dream of new home ownership a reality when they purchased a Generation Homes house and land package in Hamilton.

As a young professional couple, Emma, 25, and Matt, a 26-year-old electrician, were immediately attracted to Generation’s fixed price and on-time delivery guarantee. Also appealing was the opportunity to customise an architecturally-designed property using variations to suit their lifestyle.

After careful consideration of their budget and desired location, the couple settled on an affordable three bedroom, two bathroom property in Ruakura, Hamilton, and completed their first new build with award-winning residential construction company Generation Homes.

 
Quote from Matt Fairweather
Just do it. I always tell people to consider building a new home over buying an existing property because it’s actually not that much more expensive or as hard as what everyone thinks.

Matt Fairweather

GH

Why did you decide to trust the company to build your first property?

EMMA

For us, because this was our first home, we were really budget conscious. We wanted to build with Generation Homes because we liked the idea of having a fixed price contract with no provisional cost sums. The company’s 14-step build process and guaranteed move-in date was also really appealing. The timeline from when we signed the contract to unlocking the front door was quick and easy.

GH

Did you experience any logistical issues when preparing to move into your new home?

MATT

We were renting before we moved into our new home but we didn’t have any issues at all. Having a 14-step process and a guaranteed move-in date made all of our planning much easier because we could just work backwards from the date we were given. It was a really smooth transition.

GH

Why did you turn down the option of buying an existing property?

EMMA

At the time, the Hamilton market was quite similar when we compared the cost to buy an existing property with the cost of building a new home. We considered both options but we couldn’t justify investing our money in an old home for a similar price. We both have busy, professional jobs so we wanted something that we wouldn’t have to spend our weekends working on and that would show a potential return relatively quickly.

MATT

 

We don’t actually spend a lot of time at home either so having a low maintenance property that we could lock-up and leave was a key feature for us. Our section is pretty small, it’s only about 420-450 square metres, but that’s all we needed for our first home. We didn’t want to have to maintain the gardens or a large lawn. The dream of owning a property on a quarter acre section is still in our sights, but when you’re building your first home and reality hits, you realise pretty quickly just how important it is to set realistic expectations and stay on budget.

GH

Tell us about the key features in your home?

MATT

We were pretty set on having two bathrooms in the house, with an ensuite off the master bedroom, so that decision meant we had to flip the entire plan on the section. We also wanted tiled showers, so we upgraded both bathrooms and traded in the hot water cylinder with gas for hot water and cooking.  

EMMA

We have an open plan kitchen, dining and living area and I was pretty adamant about extending the kitchen cabinetry to the ceiling. Our kitchen cabinetry is a pearl off-white colour and we teamed it with timber-look tiles, which look like natural hardwood flooring. Hardwood flooring was something I really wanted but when Matt made me see we just didn’t have the budget available we met in the middle and went for the timber-look tiles. We also selected a timber-look laminate benchtop to compliment them. 

MATT

 

We kept the outdoor area pretty standard so we have a concreted patio area with coloured black bark in the gardens out front to tie our landscaping in with the black joinery used on the exterior of the property. It just gives the whole house a classier look. We also included a wall mounted heat pump and domestic ventilation system.

GH

Were there any challenges to overcome during the design process?

MATT

Just Emma and I arguing about colours, benchtops and pendant lights – that was about it.

EMMA

Yeah, we ended up selecting a really neutral colour palette. The exterior is sort of an off white with black joinery and inside is also really neutral but we introduced earthy beige-brown tones through our carpet, tiles and kitchen benchtop. We selected a rectangular charcoal-coloured tile in the bathrooms, and because we upgraded the showers, our tiling carries right through into both showers, which looks great.

MATT

 

We thought a neutral colour palette would have good resale value because it means the future owners can easily change the colour scheme down the track, but for now, Emma uses coloured cushions and towels to brighten it up.

GH

 

Describe your experience working with the Generation Homes team?

EMMA

 

The Generation Homes Hamilton team were outstanding. Obviously, with this being our first build, we felt like there was a lot more that could go wrong and naturally had a lot of questions. But the team reassured us right from the start and answered any questions we had. Nothing was too hard or too much trouble. It was a flawless, stress-free build and we felt really comfortable the whole way through. 

GH

What were some of the biggest lessons you learned during the building process?   

MATT

 

I was probably the more realistic one, while Emma was the dreamer. It’s really important to have that balance when you’re building a new home so that you can get the things you want but also stay on budget – and definitely think about where you’re about to put the bathrooms in relation to the bedrooms.

EMMA

 

Natural lighting is probably a big one for me. You want to make sure there are enough windows in the spaces you use often, but not have too many so there’s not enough wall space. We will definitely be a little bit smarter with our use of wall space when building our next home.

GH

What are your favourite features in your new home?

MATT

Definitely all the tiles we used, so the tiled showers and having tiles in the kitchen. That was a major highlight for me. Emma’s highlight would be the floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinetry, she loves that. Especially for the small price that it costs to upgrade and it looks really good too.

EMMA

I also love our white subway tile splashback in the kitchen. Unfortunately we didn’t have the space to include a walk-in pantry or scullery, but that’s something we would like to include next time around.

MATT

The location was also a major drawcard. It’s centrally located and a short drive from the expressway, so it’s really easy to head north or south.

GH

Do you have any advice for other people thinking about building a new home?

MATT

Just do it. I always tell people to consider building a new home over buying an existing property because it’s actually not that much more expensive or as hard as what everyone thinks. We’ve got lots of spare time on the weekend but the past few weeks we’ve been heading around to our friend’s house to help them with their DIY work. I would definitely build a new home again. We had a great experience.

EMMA

 

I would say don’t be afraid to ask questions because the worst thing that can happen would be to move into your brand new home and say ‘I wish I had have asked if we could have done this…’ If you’ve got something in your head, the answer might be a no, but at least you’ve asked. Your sales consultant is there to help you so just keep a two-way conversation going throughout the building process.

GH

Do you have any tips for saving a home deposit or other budgeting advice?

MATT

Number one don’t drink. Without living unhappily, just take out the little things like the barista-made coffee every day, start checking out the less expensive foods at the supermarket because all the little things really add up. We actually saved all our coins or left over cash we had for some unbeknown reason in a jar. We did that before our build started, so by the time the house was finished we had disposable cash there for any unexpected expenses that popped up during the move.

EMMA

When we moved in general things like the first grocery shop for all those staple items and cleaning products, had completely slipped from our minds, but they were expenses that we didn’t need to worry about because we were able to just crack open that jar.

GH

If you could change anything about your current home what would it be?

MATT

We would definitely like to build a larger home but that’s getting back to the dream of the half acre block with two living areas, a ‘his and her’ bathroom and a triple garage so I can fit a nice car in there.

EMMA

Matt just wants to be able to fit his car in with his lawn mower, power tools and everything else to create a man cave. I would love a scullery and dual living areas would definitely be a key feature for us when selecting our next house plan.

GH

Would you build with Generation Homes again?

MATT

 

We’re going too, definitely. It’s hard to say now, but we would like to think we’ll be ready to build a new home again within the next few years.

EMMA

 

We’ll probably start looking into it when more land becomes available in Hamilton. We struggle to understand why more first homebuyers or other young couples aren’t building new homes. We really want people to know that it is doable and it’s not as scary as you may think or out of the question because of cost, like I feel it often perceived to be. The key is to find a building partner you can trust to deliver your home on time and on budget. You learn a lot along the way and it’s a great experience, so give it a go. The end result is definitely worth it.