BUYING a home is generally the biggest investment most people will ever make, with many mortgages lasting a working lifetime.

There is always a risk with older properties that a routine redecoration will unearth all manner of horrors from rising damp to crumbling plaster and ancient wiring.

So you’d be forgiven for thinking that buying a brand new home is the way forward, with all their promise of fresh paint and untrodden flooring.

Alas, some of the residents on the Castlegate development in Northallerton would tell you otherwise.

The majority of homes may be up to standard, but when four separate households report a catalogue of problems - and say their neighbours are also displeased with their buildings - then you do start to wonder what has gone wrong.

Some of the problems may be perceived as fairly minor, such as paintwork that has dried into drips on door frames.

It is not going to ruin anyone’s life, but is it what you would expect in a £400,000-plus “prestige” property?

And the same home needed a complete refit of its en-suite because it was not up to standard.

Another household experienced three leaks in the first year - that is not just bad luck, it is bad plumbing.

Developers need to make money and nobody is saying they shouldn’t - this is business after all.

But houses are more than just a mere commodity.

They are people’s homes, and every care in the world should be taken to ensure they are built with the utmost care and respect.