The government’s COVID strategy of going hard and going fast has worked, but it wasn’t without its complications. People all over the country scrambled to do everything they needed to get done before level four lockdown took effect. As it happens, Toa and Luma Tauai had only 20 minutes to spare to move into their brand-new home!
For Toa and Luma, building their new home with Sentinel Homes BOP was a no-brainer. Franchise owner Tony O’Brien had already built a home for the couple, and they had been impressed with the smooth running of the project and the final results. Their second home build was just the same.
“The finishing was very good and they were very helpful throughout,” explains Toa. “They’d take on board what we asked them to do with any variations, and were always contactable. We’d recommend them to anybody.”
That stress-free experience came to a grinding halt as COVID-19 threatened to derail their best-laid plans.
“The house was ready, but it didn’t have a code of compliance – the final inspection was booked for the Thursday, and we were going to move on Friday. But that had all been cancelled,” explains Toa.
The Thursday they’d planned for that crucial final inspection was the same day New Zealand went into level four lockdown. Under normal circumstances, no inspection means no code of compliance. Without a CoC, the bank won’t release the final payments, the insurance company won’t cover the home and the owners can’t take possession. With new tenants already set to move into their rental, Toa and Luma had nowhere else to go.
“It was a big drama,” says Toa. “We were both panicked and didn’t know what we were going to do. My husband would say, ‘We ain’t going to move!’ but we kept pushing.”
Tony and the team at Sentinel Homes BOP sprang into action. A phone call to the bank confirmed that there could be a way around the red-tape tangle. A registered valuation plus a guarantee that the house was built to standard, along with photos of the property, would be enough for the bank to confirm that they’d release the funds. And that was enough for the insurance company to cover the house and for Sentinel Homes to hand over the keys.
Even so, the clock was ticking – Toa knew that they’d need to start moving by 1 pm on Wednesday, or they simply wouldn’t make it.
“The stress started to come,” says Toa. “The bank was in chaos, and our manager had to wait all day for the confirmation to come through.”
Then, with just 12 hours until level four lockdown began, finance and insurance were ticked off, and the couple could take their first load over to their new home. Without movers to help, they spent a back-breaking afternoon and evening, ferrying their household over in a small rental truck.
“I managed to book a truck for the Wednesday – it was the last truck around!” explains Toa.
“We couldn’t get a moving company because everyone was moving at the same time. Some friends offered to help, but we didn’t want to put them at risk with the physical distancing.”
They moved their last load into the house at 11.40 pm – with just 20 minutes to spare. The couple “were knackered” after their mammoth effort, and grateful for the four-week lockdown which they could spend recuperating and unpacking in their beautiful new home.
Now the panic is behind them, Toa is grateful for the effort put in by their bank manager, the insurance company and most of all by Tony and his team at Sentinel Homes. With the Tauais’ perseverance and everyone on board to help, they managed to achieve what should have been impossible!
“We were blessed to be able to move in on the day,” says Toa. “Blessed for everyone’s help, from Tony and the crew. Everyone worked together.”
If Toa and Luma weren’t already sold on Sentinel Homes, their pre-lockdown experience would have sealed the deal.
“We’re always telling our friends, to use them. We tell everyone we can,” says Toa.
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