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Author Topic: Our Story Homes Nightmare  (Read 41197 times)

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Our Story Homes Nightmare
« on: August 09, 2016, 07:14:49 am »
We are having a terrible experience with our first ever new build home from Story Homes and we were wondering if this is all normal practice and we are naive or if we have chosen a particular stubborn builder that does not have any pride in any sort of customer care.
We feel bullied, ripped off, stressed, unhappy and astonished at what they keep claiming is normal procedure.

In summary
We reserved our plot in March after being told we had to be able to proceed (not dependent on selling our existing home) to be "allowed" to reserve. We sold our home and went into rented 30th March 2016

At that time, the estimated CML was 11/11/16 with legal completion on 25/11/16 with the home at "phase 4 groundwork and drains."

It is now August we are still at stage 4, nothing further has been done in five months, however the completion date is still the same.

We had to get the valuation done last month, so we could have the mortgage in place as Story Homes were pushing for exchange of contracts. The valuation and mortgage was done 28th July, but we have refused to exchange as house has not been progressed.

Story Homes MD Ian Worgan has started to be vague on the completion date, not surprising as nothing has been done in 5 months. The worrying thing is the mortgage offer runs out at end of December. Story will not provide any solution or compensation if the build spills into 2017, leaving us potentially with a 10% deposit paid, contracts exchanged and no mortgage in place, a very stressful situation to be put in.

This is not even the tip of the problem iceberg!
We requested to pay for the plans to be altered to have access to a spare bedroom to create an ensuite dressing room and wanted the changes which include a lintel being installed, during the build. Building Control, the NHBC and our structural engineer all strongly advised having the changes done and amendments done during the build as a brick has still not been laid.

The response from Story Homes would have been no different if I had asked for a three-storey underground 'iceberg' extension done. A flat refusal, no bespoke, saying that building control and NHBC would not sign off etc etc. I explained at length that these bodies actually strongly advised getting the work done during the build. The response was then "we don’t do bespoke" end of.

Next was the list of upgrades and would we like any extra sockets?
We compiled a list of what would make our home layout better for us. The resulting fees were more than my first pair of flats! The upgrade prices were astronomical which we did expect, but there was no give on price at all, way to go on customer service again.
The worst bit was the fees for moving sockets on the plan, £1,550. To compound this rip off, we were then informed that this was for the plans to be changed, the extra costs the contractors will charge and re submitting the plans.

My burning question is now when is bespoke not bespoke? Story Homes will happily do and excessively charge for upgrades, plumbing changes and plan changes for these items, however refuse point blank to add the dressing room change on the very plans they are resubmitting at my cost, still with the excuse of no bespoke!

This action alone will mean we have to complete on the sale, then put plans in again, pay rent and mortgage until the work just built is ripped out and amended, then carpets, blinds, electrics, then move in. Plus the additional costs for undoing and redoing post completion.
The NHBC have told me not having this work done in with the build will mean those works will not be covered by their 10-year guarantee as the works will be post build, carried out by a third party. We are talking about a 36" concrete lintel to create a doorway instead of a full brick wall, and a door blocked up that is not been put in yet, ridiculous.

Basically are these rip off fees normal practice?
Does the MD always have final say when common sense is not prevailing with his decisions?
How do we get the build progressed to avoid the mortgage offer running out?

These decisions have been neither fair or reasonable, it is creating a massive bill for us unnecessarily on completion. There has been zero customer service other than the MD saying no. This company makes out it is a friendly, family run business, proud of it's build and active on waste. We have seen no evidence of any of this to date.

We have literally been told today, pay for what you want, no negotiation and decide if you are going ahead by Friday 12th or pull out. Customer service zero.
This is the biggest purchase we will ever make, £400,000.00 and we have had better customer service when buying cars or even furniture.

Shocking and even more shocking if this type of treatment is industry standard. We hope at least to get some basic advice. We are appalled at the bully-boy antics of Story Homes and their take it or leave it attitude, especially when they are building homes which are actively promoted as "let Story build your dream home."
I have not found one sentence on the no bespoke policy anywhere other than in email from the MD and the sales line the reps are fed. Their attitude is terrible and has literally made us uncomfortable to be giving them so much of our hard earned money to a company that clearly could not care less about its customers.


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Re: Our Story Homes Nightmare
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2016, 04:02:33 pm »
Hello Susan
I can't imagine just how fed up you feel.
We moved into our new Bellway home just over 2 weeks ago and have nothing but praise for the house and professionalism of the Bellway Site Manager and Sales Rep.
We had a few concerns around March when we were concerned the house wouldn't be ready on time (we had sold our house to a buyer who like you had to take up his mortgage by then) but we were assured it would be and they kept their promise.
The site changed from a 5 day to a 7 day week site so the house was completed on time.
Have they discussed with you increasing the man power to ensure the house could be ready on time?
I think in your position, I would ask my solicitor to write listing all your concerns and I'm sure you must be entitled to some compensation.

Tim Fee Snagging Inspector

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Re: Our Story Homes Nightmare
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2016, 07:35:20 am »
My advice would be to NOT go ahead with this and pull out  if you haven’t Exchanged Contracts DON’T
Especially as there has been no further  construction on the home since March.
This has all the ingredients of being a disaster for you. A hassle you could well do without.

Do you really want your new home thrown up in 15 weeks?
It is possible to build a 2 storey home in that time but I would question if the delay is not due to work-in progress cash flow issues and saving interest on bank loans.
If you walk away, you could probably claim you’re out of pocket expenses using the Consumer Code for Home Builders, which you should read.

Regarding housebuilder's optional extras you should read the information and advice on this link.
They are never good value but you do have a choice NOT to pay whatever the builders want and they in turn, are free to charge whatever they like.

The company can choose to sell what it wants to who it wants and can be as indifferent to its customers as the large plc housebuilders.

This type of treatment is industry standard. Some house builders are better, some are even worse. 
This is why there was an APPG Inquiry last year and the Report has just been published.
If you want to help change things write to your MP today and demand they lobby the DCLG to set up a New Homes Ombudsman

You and all new home buyers should be aware that there are no guarantees when buying a new home! 
It is only a warranty, which is an insurance underwritten policy covering certain things, not a statement of quality or peace of mind! As the NHBC clarifies:
"The inspections are purely to prove to our underwriters that the property is a standard risk.
The primary function on the warranty side is to manage risks – it is not about providing quality control."
New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.


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Re: Our Story Homes Nightmare
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2016, 02:44:57 pm »
I echo the response/advice of New Home Expert.
Story Homes claim to be quality builders but the reality is the opposite.
They provide a 10-year Warranty which is useful for them to hide behind but useless to you, the property owner, unless you are prepared to pay a hefty Policy Excess on every 'issue' and, in the worst case, obtain a surveyor's report at your expense.
The fact that Story do not want to make alterations for you does confirm my suspicion that they are not customer focused. Their only interest is in shoving-up houses quickly and cheaply so that they may sell them at a big profit.
Caveat emptor!

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Re: Our Story Homes Nightmare
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2016, 10:22:50 am »
Strangely, I can find no mention of any warranty on their website.
The NHBC warranty does have a minimum claim value.
In 2017, the current minimum claim value applied is £1,550 rising £50 each year, for the duration of the warranty. Any total claim valued at  less than the minimum claim value is not covered.

LABC and Premier Guarantee warranties require an excess to be paid for each claim like any other insurance claim. More information here

New Home Blog - New Home Expert is committed to providing help and advice for people having issues with their new homes and difficulties with house builders as well as helping potential buyers reduce the risk of possible problems if they do buy.