Building the dream – 5 points to get you started

So you want to build a home for you and your family to live in or for investment? We’ve built two homes with different builders so we know what an exciting and stressful time it can be. What does it entail and what are the benefits and things to look out for?

  1. Visit display villages. This will help you decide what is essential for you, what would be ‘nice to have’ and what is not necessary in your new home. This may include the number and size of rooms as well as more minor details such as double sinks in the ensuite. While you are there, check out the finish on the homes. These are ‘display’ villages! If the finishes on the display home are not to your liking, the builder may not be the one to build your home!
  2. Find your land. You may have a favourite location in mind but be prepared to look further afield if you are wanting to build a specific home. If you need a double garage, your frontage will need to be wider (usually 10m for a double storey or 12m for a single storey home). Check out the council area website to see what restrictions they may have on new homes. These may include the set back (distance off the road) and the percentage of open space to be left on the block after your home is built. Some builders provide ‘House and land’ packages where they have already checked that one of their plans will fit on an existing block of land.
  3. Ask your friends and family about their experiences with particular builders. Did the builder allow changes to the plan before the contract is signed (changes made after signing usually incur significant fees)? Were your friends or family kept ‘in the loop’ during the whole process or were they constantly chasing people for information? Did the contract include enough allowances for the sort of tiles, floor coverings or kitchen that they would like or was everything they chose an extra cost? Were they happy with the workmanship of the trades people who were used? Did they come away from the experience with positive feelings about building? Remember the sales person at the Display Village is a salesperson and they may not have much to do with building your home.
  4. Don’t be afraid to modify plans (before you sign the contract)! Most builders will allow you to modify their plans before the contract is signed so speak to their drafts person to see how you can make the plan fit more of what you need in a home. An additional cost at this stage is likely to be smaller than retro fitting a change after the home is built. Extending a wall to fit in the monstrous fridge you need is easier at this point than later.
  5. Start your plans from scratch. There are many builders who are happy to look at your sketches and work a plan from there. They will give you advice on what can and can’t be done in the home as well as ideas on ways you can improve your design. There may be a charge for this but you will have a unique home that suits your family’s needs.

Another significant step in the building process is getting the right finance. We’ll talk about that in our next blog!

Mark Scherer - Mortgage Choice 0403 577 287

Posted in: Home loans

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