House of horrors: Corby couple’s new-build nightmare
A Corby couple have spoken of their ordeal after buying their dream first home - only to find almost 200 issues when they moved in.
Marc and Stacie Smith bought a newly-built home from Larkfleet Homes in Kestrel Road on the Priors Hall estate and moved in last month.
But on completion day they arrived to find it still resembling a building site with about 30 ‘significant visible’ problems.
With nowhere else to live they reluctantly signed paperwork. An independent snagging report later found 196 defects.
Salesman Marc, 30, said: “There is not one room in the house that didn’t have an issue.”
The couple bought the £250,000 four-bed home after falling in love with a showhome, saying they thought it was good value for money with a lot of living space.
After several delays they were told they could complete on January 31.
They turned up to be shown around but could not believe the state of the home they were about to buy.
Problems included: wonky brickwork, a water damaged wall, holes in the floor, wonky skirting boards, uneven flooring, poorly fitted kitchen fixtures, cracks in the walls, screws hanging out and more.
The balcony wasn’t finished with bolts missing, stones left under laid vinyl, carpets loose and there were loose electricals in their six-month-old daughter Skylar’s room.
Stacie, a 35-year-old administration co-ordinator, said: “It was a building site. There was no door, the stairs weren’t built, there was a leak, builders were there working around us.
“My eyes just went straight to everything that was wrong.
“It was supposed to be special day but they ruined it for us.”
The Smiths’ problems didn’t end on their moving in date.
The built-in dishwasher didn’t work, they were forced to bathe Skylar in a sink and one piece of flooring upstairs was so bad Stacie fell about 12in through it.
When they complained about the problems to Larkfleet Homes, Stacie said she felt like they were being brushed off.
She said: “Every time we came through the door we found something else and it wasn’t minor.
“They made us feel like we were nit-picking.”
She added that they felt “ashamed” of how their own home looks.
The couple said they first started experiencing problems last year.
Having asked for a few changes to be made, such as losing the breakfast bar from the kitchen, they exchanged contracts in May.
The month after, to their confusion, they were told the plans had been flipped.
At the end of August they were told they would complete on the house in October.
Two weeks later they were told it would be November. And a week later they were told it was December.
Marc said: “That was when the alarm bells started ringing.
“The build slipped by two months in three weeks and we didn’t know why.”
Living on the other side of Corby he often drove past the site but, expecting to see a hive of activity, said it was often a ghost town.
In mid-November they were given their first walk around the site of their new home - only to realise builders were working off plans different to the ones they had approved of. Items and rooms were not where they should have been.
They handed their rental notice in based on the completion date they were given by Larkfleet Homes but in early December they were told the completion date had been put back to the end of January.
Stacie said: “I was heartbroken. I thought I was going to be spending my first Christmas with my baby living out of boxes.”
Larkfleet covered a month’s extra rent that they were, fortunately, able to secure at their rented home, and said they would cover some extras.
In January they were told everything was on track but when they went to complete at the end of the month they said it was clear it wasn’t finished.
With their rental home contract up they said they felt like they had “no option” but to sign or be left homeless, adding that they felt hurried into the deal.
Marc said three weeks after moving in about 20 of the 196 issues had been resolved, adding that he estimated the cost of the works to be in excess of £20,000.
He said: “They’ve got their £250,000, they don’t care about us now.”
In response, a Larkfleet spokesman said they were investigating the issues.
The spokesman said: “We take any quality control issues very seriously.
“An investigation has been launched to look at the issues that have been raised and we will work with Mr and Mrs Smith to resolve any problems as swiftly as possible.
“We are trying to contact Mr and Mrs Smith to move that process forward so they are able to enjoy their new house.”
Marc said they had not contacted him by phone or email and put a letter through his door asking them to contact him after the Northants Telegraph approached them for a comment.