First-time buyers describe ‘hell’ of purchasing their dream homes on Persimmon estate

First-time buyers have described the ‘hell’ they were forced to endure while purchasing what was supposed to be a ‘dream home’ at a Derby estate. 

Residents have expressed their dismay after having to face upset, stress, depression and bullying during the process of buying homes at Buttercup Leys, which has been constructed over the past few years by housebuilder Persimmon in Derby. 

Some buyers also saw Persimmon sell their existing homes elsewhere as part of agreements to buy a house on Buttercup Leys.

The homeowners, who say that the joyful feeling of buying their first property has been taken away from them, also feel they have been duped into buying 999-year leaseholds for their homes instead of freeholds, which they say was not an option at the time, but has since been offered to prospective buyers after them.   

First-time buyers who were supposed to buy their ‘dream home’ on the Buttercup Leys estate, which has been constructed over the past few years by housebuilder Persimmon, in Derby

A freehold can be bought at a later date, they were told, but not for two years and at a cost of £2,000.

A leasehold on the site enables the residents to effectively rent the land underneath their house for 999 years, while a freehold is outright ownership of the land.

Lee Else, a 38-year-old supplier quality engineer at JCB, lives on the estate with his partner Katie and three-year-old son, Logan.

He said: ‘We know it can be stressful at the best of times, but when it’s first time buyers or first time for someone to actually own a new-build property, it is meant to be a dream, a fantasy, a happy time.

‘Persimmon preyed on first-time buyers, younger families. They threatened to take the full deposit off people (£500) and to take away the homes if you don’t sign the contracts.

‘You can imagine the nightmare this created.

‘People lost £15,000 to £20,000 to make a fast sale (on their current house) or lose it all.

‘This has created upset, stress, depression, arguments between families as tensions were raised. People’s dream homes turned into homes from hell.’

Among the furious residents is Lee Else (pictured), 38, who said Persimmon preyed on first-time buyers and younger families and threatened to take the full deposit off people

Among the furious residents is Lee Else (pictured), 38, who said Persimmon preyed on first-time buyers and younger families and threatened to take the full deposit off people

Kim Durkin, who bought plots on the estate in 2015 and 2017, said: ‘We were told all houses on the estate are and will be leasehold and that is how all new-build estates are sold now. I feel we were mis-led and mid-sold.’ 

And Vikki Williamson, a 49-year-old clinical scientist for the NHS, lives on the estate with her husband Mark and daughter Amy-Lea and was one of the first to move on to the estate in April 2015.

She said: ‘We knew it was leasehold, and nearly pulled out because of it, but the salesman assured us that it would only cost £2,000 to buy after two years, and that ‘all new houses are leasehold now’.

‘Persimmon tell the same stories to purchasers nationwide, with the same figures, so it is obviously company policy, which they deny, just to get sales.

‘Once people move in, the aftercare is non-existent. This is not the first new build house I have bought, and I had none of these issues previously, so we are not naive house owners.’

Elsewhere Charlotte Burden, a 32-year-old business development manager for VW commercials Derby who lives on the estate with her husband Kim and three children, said her family bought a house on Buttercup Leys through the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Mrs Burden said: ‘I am truly disappointed to hear that there is another part of our ‘dream house buying journey’ that has been darkened with lies and misconceptions.’

David Brew, who lives on the estate with his wife Samantha, who both work at Balfour Beatty, and their two sons, said: ‘Having to worry about purchasing this leasehold and being stressful as it is not as straightforward as it was explained to me.

‘The sales team knew we didn’t have a lot of time to wait for our house as our previous property had sold quite quickly and we needed to move in soon.

‘I find this situation regarding lease hold a very deceitful tactic from Persimmon.’

Meanwhile Jamie Stephen, who also lives on the estate, said: ‘We had read bad reviews about Persimmon, but when buying we thought that we were dealing with an honest business selling all houses equally regards land ownership, which has since turned out to be a complete lie.

‘Imagine being scammed out of thousands of pounds, then finding out that a whole community of people are in the exact same position, having been lied to for monetary gain – it makes you feel sick to your stomach.

‘Persimmon seem to have approached this issue with ignorance, arrogance, lack of morality and complete contempt for their customers when asked for answers.’

Patrick Major, who bought his plot in September 2017, said: ‘I was told at the point of reservation that all houses during my phase of development were to be sold as leasehold.

‘I was also informed that under no circumstances would there be availability to purchase the freehold before two years of ownership.

‘Since then I have found multiple houses sold at the same time on the same development phase to be purchased with the freehold title.’

In response to the claims, a spokesman for Persimmon Homes North Midlands said: ‘We are in regular contact with the residents at the Buttercup Leys development.

‘Any residents with queries about their own property are welcome to contact us directly.’