Nicole and Kurt’s journey to building their “forever home” was a bit unusual. They weren’t thinking of moving, let alone building, until Nicole’s parents came to stay while they hunted for their next property.
The arrangement worked perfectly. Having Grandma and Grandpa downstairs made family life so much easier for Nicole and Kurt, who both work full-time and have two busy kids aged five and two. Nicole’s parents also enjoyed having more contact with their grandkids. The two households hatched a plan to pool their resources and find a home that would suit them long-term.
Waikato’s exploding property market had other ideas. As Nicole says, there didn’t seem to be anything they liked within their budget.
“We were looking at paying 900K for something we’d still need to do work on,” she says.
Building seemed like a smart idea – for not too much extra, the family would get exactly what they wanted.
Nicole says they did their research, but working with Sentinel Homes was a no-brainer.
“They just stuck out as being better quality,” she explains. “We also loved the look of Sentinel Homes’ pre-designed plans and found one that was perfect for us. They all had the modern look we liked and with their reputation, Sentinel looked really appealing.”
That first impression was confirmed when they got in touch with Nate Alley, Managing Director of Sentinel Homes Waikato.
“He’s a friend of a friend, and my friend spoke highly of Nate. He’s a really good guy and you can tell he wants what’s best for you even if that makes things harder for him.”
Nate’s enthusiasm and Sentinel Homes’ systems and processes helped make the planning and building phases far simpler than Nicole expected.
“It was very daunting at first, but having those fixed prices with everything all written out was very reassuring,” she explains.
Nate guided the couple through every stage, from preliminary pricing to arranging geo-tech and stormwater reports for their new Ohaupo Road property. His no-surprises policy meant that the family ended up coming in under budget by $6000 in the usually tricky groundworks phase.
“He was upfront about everything. He put in a good PC sum, so we didn’t get 50K worth of surprises coming up. He wanted to make sure we’d allowed for everything.”
The home seemed ready-made for the two households, with two entirely separate dwellings. Sentinel Homes’ flexibility meant both households could decorate and spec their spaces as they wished.
“We have very different styles,” laughs Nicole. “We left each other to it – the interior design is very different in both homes and Sentinel were accommodating to anything we wanted.”
The two dwellings, one with four bedrooms and the other with two, are separated by a firewall, so one can be rented as a self-contained flat in the future.
In the larger home, Nicole and Kurt added raked ceilings, upgraded fixtures and a media room, but the base design was already close to perfect.
“There’s a seven-metre sliding door, which was part of their design. It goes out to the view – we can just step out into the countryside. We’re very stoked with that. Their normal specs are already so good – the upgrades were more to suit our style.”
When COVID-19 meant that a shipment of flooring was unexpectedly delayed, Nate fell back on Sentinel’s strong supplier relationships to find replacements – and covered the difference in cost. It meant the family can move in before Christmas – two months earlier than expected. When asked, they can’t even remember any snags in the building process.
“If there were little things, it was never an issue. They would always ring to let us know and then they’d get it done,” says Nicole.
She puts that excellent track record down to good communication and updates throughout, with a foundation of personal attention.
“When we first started building, we were introduced to the whole team – they’re not too big that you’re just an address. Everyone knew us and we feel like we’ve built friendships,” she says.
While Nicole started the process with trepidation, she’s now enthusiastic about building – especially if it’s with Sentinel.
“It’s a good way to go. In this market, houses are going for crazy prices, but you can build what you actually want for not too much extra, and to do it with Sentinel is great. They actually care. They want you to have a good experience.”
If you’re considering buying the home to suit you, get in touch with Sentinel Homes on 0800 456 321 for a free, no-pressure meeting.
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