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Choosing the Right New Home Builder – Questions to Ask!

Choosing the Right New Home Builder – Questions to Ask!

When researching New Home Builders, Display Homes and New Home Designs, it’s important to know the questions to ask! Remember each builder has different processes and general ways of doing things, from the standard inclusions and pricing to the construction process, time frames etc. Choosing the right new home builder is a critical decision that must be made after much research and careful thought.

To be confident and able to make informed decisions, knowing the right questions to ask is the key. These prompters and questions are designed to assist with your early research process.

Your Needs, Wants & Options:

  • Your Budget? Review Home Loan options at the beginning of the search process and decide how much money you want and can afford to spend. Think about your borrowing power not only now but in years to come. Are you planning to go from a 2 income household to just one or visa versa.
  • Custom Builder or Project Builder? Will you select from display home designs or require a custom built home? If you have your own home plans already drawn many of the larger home builders will not be able to help you, they specifically only build their designs and many limit the modifications that can be made. In saying that however they have fantastic well designed homes to suit a wide variety of tastes and home buyer needs. For many people one potential draw back of designing their own home from scratch is that they find it very difficult to visualize how it is going to look and function as a home, when looking at a 2d plan. Builders with display homes use this as a key advantage simply because you get a very good feel up front by simply being able to walk around the home.
  • Which Rooms You Need? Consider which key rooms and design aspects you prefer and require; i.e. Is your family large and really noisy like mine? maybe going complete open plan isn’t going to give you anywhere to hide away for a little bit of peace. Obviously we all want everything right now and can convince ourselves that in fact we “Need” the rumpus / media room / alfresco / walk in pantry / his & hers robes the list goes on. When my parents brought their first home it was probably about 15 squares for 5 people and that was considered large and over time they did extend the home and then buy another larger home. Think carefully about your budget and that realistically the home probably isn’t your last or maybe indulge yourself and get everything you want, that’s the beauty of a brand new home, its your call. Basic things to think about are number of bedrooms, style of design i.e. open plan or not, do you spend more time inside or out in relation to whether to allocate a lot of space to alfresco & outdoor areas, need for rumpus room etc.
  • Buying Land? When looking at the home build budget, you need to be mindful of the cost of the land you plan to build it on as this will have a significant bearing on the amount left over for the home component. Different suburbs are obviously priced differently and estates within suburbs vary. Obviously if you have your heart set on home design that happens to be quite wide, you will require a suitably wide block. Also if you are looking at land that has slope over the block this can impact the site cost component for the build significantly and should be factored in. Looking at a block of land and assessing the amount of slope or “fall” as it is referred to is very deceptive to the eye.
  • Government Grants If you’re a first home buyer looking to build its well worth looking at the Federal & State Government websites for grant options at the time. Click First Home Buyer Grants to for updates on government grants.


 Home Builders Processes & Pricing

  • When visiting display homes generally not everything on display within a home is necessarily included in the standard price.
  • For homes of interest, request an appointment and gain an initial quotation. Ask questions as you walk thru the home, outlining items you want included and ask that likely extra costs be included.
  • Understand where the builder operates and possible area / region surcharges.
  • Review standard variation options for the home design and check the builder’s variation policy and the cut off point for variation requests.
  • The buying and building process and time frames of key stages and your required involvement, i.e. deposits, documents signing, construction process etc.
  • Check the suitability of the proposed Home design to your proposed block of land, considering aspects of orientation to North and general home setbacks, back yard space etc.
  • Carefully review land covenants and ensure the design complies with requirements set out by the developer and Rescode government requirements.
  • Discuss possible cost of site works for a particular block, i.e. Slope of land, foundation requirements, provision for rock removal, removal of trees etc and when these costs will be ascertained and fixed.
  • How involved you can be if intending on supplying materials such as carpets etc.
  • Structural guarantees & insurances provided. Industry bodies a member of and confirmation of the builder’s registration.
  • When signing documentation and contracts check carefully to ensure all requested changes have been documented and drawn on final plans.

Although it’s a good idea to chat to friends or family who have built to familiarize yourself with the process, it’s important that you discuss the process thoroughly when researching with particular builders of interest because each will have different ways of doing things.


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