When Claire Dowd and Dom Barlow heard about a new Bellway development planned for the village of Penllergaer near Swansea, they knew it was in the perfect location for them near family members, and before construction even began, they set their hearts on living there.
Now they are settled in at their new home at Parc Mawr, off Brynrhos Crescent, and Claire says that moving in was the best week of her life.
Claire, 30, and Dom, 31, were so keen to get things moving at the earliest opportunity that Claire made it her mission to find out every bit of information she could so that they were ready to act as soon as sales were launched.
For 18 months Claire would browse the Bellway website looking for news and call the company every few weeks to check on how things were going. “I think it got to the stage they knew my voice when I would call up!” said Claire. “I really did want one of these houses.”
When sales were finally launched the couple secured the first appointment.
Claire, who recently started a new job as a business development manager with 2B Enterprising in Swansea, and Dom, a sales executive with Watches of Switzerland, in Cardiff, had originally planned to buy a two or three-bedroom property, with thoughts of moving house again a few years down the line.
Once the couple started looking at the plans, they fell in love with the Sherbourne – a three-bedroom detached home – which cost £267,995, nearly £20,000 more than their planned budget.
They decided to go for it despite it being a financial stretch. Claire said: “We thought, we’re going to have to worry about that later. It was our dream home.”
Claire and Dom were the first to reserve a home on the development and the first to exchange, and they moved into their house in January this year with their seven-year-old pug Arnie.
They previously had lived in rented accommodation, later moving in with Dom’s parents while they saved for their deposit.
Getting the keys and moving in was an important moment for the couple, who had both long held the dream of home ownership.
“I honesty felt euphoric,” said Claire. “To be able to have something we could call our own and to have those keys and shut the door and know it was ours, I was euphoric. I still can’t believe it’s ours.”
And the sales team at Parc Mawr were a major part of making it such a good experience, said Claire, in particular Rhodri Davies, who at the time was a sales advisor at the development, and has since been promoted to Sales Manager.
“Rhodri was amazing. He was one of the main reasons we fell in love with the place even more, he was the knight in shining armour for us. He made everything easier for us. He was really attentive and went through things in a language we understood.”
The couple were also helped by sales advisors Margaret Dalladay and Carol Johnston, and site manager Dave Evans. “I simply cannot give them enough praise,” said Claire.
“They made the experience for us. You can buy a house anywhere but to be given that attention to detail and that desire for us to have a nice house, was exceptional.
“They have been life changers. They are so professional and continue to be amazing.
“Any issue we had with small snags, Dave would be straight on his walkie-talkie, and we would have someone here in two minutes. He has also given us lots of advice and been a real mentor for us on how to look after the house.”
Claire was not always keen on new-build properties, but when a friend bought one in 2021, it was a revelation to her. “I was completely blown away,” she said. It changed her opinion and she saw the benefits of getting a modern home, a blank canvas to make your own. The couple appreciated being able to move in with everything new and ready for them and no DIY tasks to do.
Now they are enjoying their new life in the home they dreamed of. Claire is a keen cook and loves the kitchen/dining space, while Dom especially likes the spa-like main bathroom. Having a comfortable spare bedroom for friends and family to use when they come to stay is also important to them.
And though they have only been there a few months they have already become firm friends with the neighbours, who all came to Claire’s 30th birthday celebrations. The couple got to know some of them before they even moved in through Instagram as Claire has an account (ty_newydd_) documenting the building of the house and all that they are doing to make it their own.
And with a dog-friendly pub they like – The Old Inn – a short walk away, family nearby, and easy access to the M4 for commuting or travelling further afield, they feel they made the right decision in setting their hearts on Parc Mawr.
Claire said: “During our moving week I was exhausted, but I would do it over and over again. I’d say to anyone moving into their first home, cherish that first week. It is super amazing. It was tiring but it was the best week of my life to date.”
There’s currently a choice of four-bedroom houses available to reserve at Parc Mawr, with prices starting from £338,995.
More information can be found at https://www.bellway.co.uk/new-homes/wales/parc-mawr or by calling the sales team on 01792 680630.