Mike and Donna Creswell weren’t looking for a new-build property when they started house-hunting – but they were persuaded by rising standards and ultimately the quality at Linden Homes’ Maple Wood development in the village of Sonning Common, near Reading.
The couple, who have three grown-up children and one 10-year-old daughter, were initially considering a move to Warwickshire from their five-bedroom house in Cookham, Berkshire, which they had spent years investing in and lovingly renovating.
But the allure of the Chilterns drew their attention closer to home to South Oxfordshire and Maple Wood – where the quality and semi-rural location were just two of the many boxes that were ticked to put an end to their year-long search.
Donna explained: “We looked at several new-build companies but we did not find the quality as good as Linden Homes. The finishing is very important to us.
“We found what we were looking for here. It’s a small development surrounded by trees and beautiful countryside. We have a small village with a doctor’s, a dentist’s and a lovely school for our daughter Emily – that was an important consideration.”
The couple were the first to move into Maple Wood, a delightful mix of two and four-bedroom properties that echo the traditional English brick and pitched-roof local architecture.
Their new address is a four-bedroom detached house with a double car barn. It’s a convenient down-sizing from their old property and a chance to enjoy a completed home where all the hard work has been done already.
They spotted the potential during a visit while construction was still ongoing, but Donna said: “The building site did not faze me. As long as we could see the potential and the way it was going to be finished I liked it. I’ve enjoyed seeing the final stages of the other homes, and actually it’s given me confidence in our own.
“My advice for other buyers of new homes is that as long as you have the location and plans you like, and a quality builder, then I would say try to see beyond the work in progress and become involved in the project.”
To put their own personal stamp on their home Donna and Mike used Linden Homes’ Enhance service. It offers a face-to-face consultation to help design rooms by choosing from a range of upgrades such as kitchen cabinets and worktops, lighting, tiles, flooring.
Buyers enjoy the blank canvas offered by new-build homes, backed by professional advice, high energy efficiency, and the peace of mind of a 10-year NHBC build warranty and two-year customer care warranty. Also as standard are fully-fitted kitchen appliances, turfed gardens, and superior fixtures and fittings.
Donna added: “Previously we had been looking at homes as an investment and a challenge. What we wanted was somewhere for our future; somewhere we could see ourselves living in 20 years. Here we are looking forward to low maintenance and an energy efficient home.”
Mike’s work as a delivery manager for a global software company means he often has to travel, so Maple Wood’s good transport links are a blessing too. The M4 and M40 are near to hand and just over three miles away is Reading’s mainline station with services into Paddington, London, as quick as 29 minutes.
The stunning Chiltern Hills are on the doorstep and Sonning Common is surrounded by fields and woodland. Nearby is fashionable Henley-on-Thames with its famous regatta and music and arts festival which are established highlights of the English social season.
Maple Wood could be within reach for buyers with a deposit as small as five per cent thanks to the Help to Buy scheme for first-time buyers or those moving on from their current home.
It works by the government providing an equity loan of up to 20 per cent of the value of any new-build home worth up to a maximum of £600,000. This can be repaid at any time or when the home is sold. And an added bonus is that there is no interest payable on the loan for five years.
With the equity loan added to their deposit, buyers are in the much better position of only needing to agree a 75 per cent mortgage from a bank or building society to secure their dream home.
Current property owners can also take advantage of the Part Exchange service offered on selected homes where Linden Homes will be the guaranteed cash buyer so customers can sell up and move on in one quick and easy hassle-free agreement.
The scheme takes out estate agents’ fees, the trouble of selling, and the danger of property chains going wrong and losing out on a new dream home.
To find out more or to arrange a viewing call 0844 417 8607.
For further information, contact Claire McCowan at Remarkable Group on 01962 893893 or Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org.
References to “we”, “us” or “our” are to the part of the Vistry Group (including Linden Homes, Bovis Homes, Countryside Homes, Drew Smith, Vistry Ventures or one of Vistry’s joint venture companies) from which you are intending to purchase a new home. References to "you” and “your” are to the prospective buyer or buyers of a new home from us.
All images are used for illustrative purposes only and are representative only. They may not be the same as the actual home you purchase and the specification may differ. Images may be of a slightly different model of home and may include optional upgrades and extras which involve additional cost. Individual features such as windows, brick, carpets, paint and other material colours may vary and also the specification of fittings may vary. Any furnishings and furniture are not included in any sale. Please check with our sales consultants for details of the exact specifications available at the development(s) for each type of home and the associated prices.