Choosing to build a new home is a big decision! But even once you’ve settled on that, you then have to decide if you should purchase a house and land package or go down the design and build path. That decision is made a little bit confusing due to the fact that they have some similarities, but also some real differences too.

So, to understand what you’ll ‘get’ from a house and land package, versus the design and build process - as well as working out which is the best for you and your family - read on.



What is it?

Over the last 10 to 20 years, house and land packages have become one of the most common options for people who want to build a new home. It is where building companies and developers subdivide blocks of land for new homes to be built, and then offer a ‘package deal' for buyers to purchase the house and section, all for a set price.

A range of floor plans are already designed and ready to be chosen, depending on your requirements (i.e. three bedrooms or four, second living space or study). The plans are pre-set for the sites and the builders will be buying the same material in bulk to keep costs down.

And this is all to your advantage, because the builder will have an efficient process set in place and banks are usually more willing to lend on these properties due to a greater assurance of cost.

It helps to take away a lot of the uncertainty involved in a customised design and build process, which can require a lot more time and energy than a typical house and land package. There are also far fewer decisions to be made, apart from some of the ‘personalisation’ aspects - like picking from a small selection of paint colours, flooring, fixtures and fittings.

It’s right for me if...

It’s right for you if you’re happy to wait, you’re not set on a particular location or you’re a first home buyer.

At the moment, house and land packages are in hot demand and most have a waiting list of buyers. So, this could mean you’re waiting for up to a year for your new home to be built. These offerings are also usually on large blocks of newly developed land, so depending on where you live, you may be ‘limited’ in terms of the location.

It’s also worth noting that most houses in big developments are normally a lot smaller, whether it’s the site they are on or the home itself. That’s because there needs to be a set number of dwellings built in the area. So, if you’re looking for lots of space, it may not be the right choice for you long term (but then again, you might be happy to compromise!) And don’t forget, these new neighbourhoods are just that - new. They won’t be as established or have as much ‘character’ as older suburbs do, but they are well planned with walkways and green space to make up for the smaller sections.

A house and land package is typically more cost-effective, because all the details of the build have already been ironed out by the developers and building company. And again, this is most definitely to your advantage if you’re not wanting to deal with a variety of sub-trades and contractors. You’ll normally have one person dedicated to helping you with all the necessary paperwork, and they often do all the council consents for you. House and land packages are about making the process as straight-forward as possible.


What is it?

The key difference between a house and land package and a design and build, is that for the latter, you buy the land/site/section yourself and then you engage with a builder to design a house to suit. So, if you have a specific location in mind, this would be a great option for you, as developments with house and land packages aren’t available everywhere. Your new house could be in an already established suburb, near the centre of town, or on a lifestyle block.

It also means that you often have a lot more flexibility on the kind of home you end up with (depending on site covenants and other site suitability factors of course). It is a far more personalised experience because you will be getting a house designed specifically for you and your family - and the way you want to live.

It’s right for me if…

You’re happy to find and secure the section for your new home, and you have something specific in mind for the design.

You’ll have to have a mortgage for the land and a construction loan for the house itself, and as the key stages of the build are completed (floor down, roof on), you then draw down on the construction loan to pay the builder for the delivery of that phase. This can make it a bit tricky for first home buyers, having to manage progress payments and paying for the interest of the loan drawn down, while still renting.

One of the most exciting parts of a design and build is that you get to stamp your mark on the final result, because you’re there at every step of the process. You work with the designer to create the plan, and when it comes to the materials, fixtures, and fittings - you make all the choices. Just be aware that while most building companies can work to a budget when it comes to a design and build, a custom house will cost more than a house and land package, because there are so many more variables to consider.

If the design and build option sounds good to you, check out our blog on choosing the right section. It has some great tips on what to consider, and some key things to watch out for.

So, there you have it - the key differences between a design and build, and a house and land package. But if you have any questions, or would like to know what the next steps are, please click here to find your nearest branch and get in touch with our friendly team.