Beginners guide to building a new home

The Beginners Guide to Building a Home

16.03.2020

Are you tempted at the idea of building, but intimidated by the enormity of it?

It's normal to not know where to start. That's why we created this guide to give you a clear idea of what to expect when building your own home.

Like any major investments in our lives, buying or building a new home requires careful thought and consideration before jumping in. And, it helps to know what you're in for. 

Pros & Cons

Building your dream home from scratch starts long before the build contract is signed.

It actually all starts with you.

When you close your eyes and picture your dream life, where do you see yourself coming home to? What are your non-negotiables? What does your family need? And what are some the things you dream of in a home?

Getting all of these thoughts down on paper is a great place to start. Often the decision to build is based on not being able to buy a home that ticks all the boxes. And through this exercise, it should become clear what your options are moving forward. 

House & Land or Design & Build 

It helps to know the two main routes for building your own home. 

House & Land Packages reduce the time it takes to build your home, while still allowing you the freedom to add your own touch by choosing many of the final colours and fixtures. Financing this type of build is easier, requiring a small deposit upfront with the rest due only when you have the keys. With most of the big steps already complete, you're able to move in a lot sooner and with less stress.

If you want a home designed from scratch, then the Design & Build option is for you. You'll work with a builder to create a custom floorplan suited to your section, lifestyle and budget - or use a standard plan to base your design off. Some choose to work with an independent architect. Financing can be more difficult for Design & Build homes as progress payments are due upon completion of each major milestone of the build.  

Choosing a Section

If you choose to go down the Design & Build route, you'll either have a section to build on or be in the process of finding one.

If you already own a section, the size, shape and orientation of it will dictate what you're able to build. If you don't have a section, consider working with your builder to help you find a section that aligns with what you're wanting to build.

Keep in mind the section will also have some form of earthworks requirements. An expert opinion is recommended here to ensure you know what you're getting into. The last thing you want is to purchase a section unaware of the tens of thousands of dollars worth of earthworks fees it's going to require to become build-ready. 

Needs & Wants

Once you've made the decision to build, the excitement begins. It is, in our opinion, one of the most exhilarating things you'll ever do. 

Every home begins with ideas. And, a budget. If you don't know what you're able to spend, consider speaking to the bank before getting too far down the process. It helps if you and your builder are on the same page with this aspect.

To help make sense of the whirlwind of ideas you'll have, consider starting a 'needs & wants' list.

Needs are the non-negotiables we talked about earlier. Think about things like location (close to schools, work, amenities), room requirements, parking needs. And, budget. If you've got a strict budget to stick to, this belongs in the 'needs' section. 

Wants are everything else that's floating around in your mind. Colours, design ideas, benchtops, tiles, flooring - get it all out of your head and onto paper.

The more groundwork you can do here the better. For some, all of the decisions needing to be made throughout the build process can become overwhelming. Having a clear picture of what you're trying to achieve helps. 

Choosing a Builder

This can be a tough one. Consider these questions when choosing a builder:

  • Can you trust them? learn how long they've been around, what their warranties are like, and if you're protected while your build is under construction.
  • Can they build what you're asking them to? Is the home you're wanting within their capabilities, and do they have the manpower to make it happen within the timeframe you expect?
  • What does your gut say? It's imperative you feel confident in the people you're embarking on this journey with. Do you get along? Do they seem honest and trustworthy? What's your gut telling you?

Price is important to consider, too. But we advise against selecting a building partner based solely on who's quote is the cheapest. Instead, pay attention to who's listened to you more closely, and included all of your requests in the quote. Is there anything missing? Highlight any PC sums and clarify how accurate these are. Have all councils fees been included? Can they be upfront with you around where some of the hidden costs can be, so you can be prepared?

First Steps

Hopefully, some of these ideas have given you insight into the incredible journey that is building your own home. There's nothing like it, and we hope to see you sometime soon to start your journey.

In the meantime, consider these next steps:

  1. Speak to your bank and chat about your options
  2. Take a look at some of our Standard Plans
  3. Browse some of our House & Land Packages