Building a new home is one of the biggest financial investments you will ever make. But with hundreds of builders in your local region alone, it can be confusing knowing which builder to choose.
The right builder will give you what you want – on time and on budget. But the wrong builder could leave you with a costly disaster you’ll regret for years.
In this blog, you will discover important tips to choosing the right builder, starting with…
A comparison of custom home builders and project builders
Have you ever dealt with a company that made you feel more like a number rather than a valued client?
Or like you’re suddenly no longer important once you sign that contract on the dotted line?
That’s a common complaint we hear from people who choose a project builder. Even though they are handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars, they feel forgotten, unimportant, and even ignored. Some complain their builder won’t even take or return their calls.
Naturally, not all project builders treat their customers like this. But when trying to build tens and sometimes hundreds of houses at once, it’s no wonder personal attention often suffers.
On the other hand, a skilled custom builder remains focused on a small number of homes at once, and is not distracted trying to juggle hundreds of projects…
That means you get the personal attention you deserve. And after all, a lot of money is at stake. You want to know your builder is focused on delivering your home – on time and on budget.
Not only do quality custom builders maintain good communication with you, they pay attention to the details. By nature, they focus on customising the little things that turn a house into the home you’ve always wanted…
… things like the extra ceiling height that give your home a spacious, relaxed feel…
… the position of windows to maximise light and air flow…
… internal walls and partitions to connect each room giving a seamless flow…
… and the little touches that make your home unique, matched to your lifestyle and personality.
Project builders are bound by a range of standard plans that maximise profits and building capacity. They produce very similar houses like a factory assembly line churns out cloned products.
Drive through any new housing estate and you will get a sense of what we are talking about. And when you look at a project home more closely, you’ll soon see where corners have been cut and compromises made in the name of efficiency.
If you’re looking for the cheapest possible price, a cloned design with no customisation or special features, and don’t mind having no interaction with your builder during the building process, a project builder may be right for you.
But if you want to deal with someone who can help you add special touches to your home while sticking to your budget…
… a skilled tradesperson who takes pride in the small details…… and someone who follows a schedule, keeps you up to date on the progress, and is always available to answer questions.
You need to choose a Professional Builder that will impress you with their attention to detail and quality of the build. The quality and luxury will surpass your expectations, and you will want to pass on recommendations to friends.
Project builders have their place in the market. But when you can get the exact home you want, delivered on time and on budget, complete with those special features that turn a house into your home – all for around the same price – it’s worth at least talking with a professional custom home builder.
We consider ourselves a Custom Builder. We work with you, we don’t just want clients, but we want to develop and build relationships to encourage repeat business, referrals and word of mouth advertising.
Custom Builders generally don’t have specific display homes, you can view other’s builder’s display homes, search the internet, visit supply shops also inspect the custom builder’s previous works and put together what you like.
Design and Layout
Custom Builders customise to suit your needs and budget. A benefit of a Custom builder, is you select exactly what you want and put it together in your house. Custom Builders will help you with the design and layout for your home, making sure you get the correct result as they are tailored to each client. Another benefit of getting your own plans drawn is that Custom Builders allow you to keep copyright of your own plans.
Custom Builders are comparable to other builders. Custom Builders quote each project individually, either based on what you want, or based on budget and the builder can show you where to save in certain areas such as, suggest design options, cheaper materials such as tiles or carpet options and also fixtures and fittings options.
Cost of Building ( in general )
This is another area where Custom Builders are comparable. The cost of building seems expensive whichever way you go, however the cost goes into unseen things, such as foundations, framing, engineering, council fees, plumbing and electrical etc. Custom Builders usually get multiple quotes from various sub-contractors to ensure the cost of the trades is the best possible.
Inclusions / Exclusions
Custom Builders are fully flexible and can do what you like, from a fully complete turnkey home, or a lock-up only contract and any stage in between. If you know a tiler, plumber, electrician or painter you want to engage, a custom builder can accommodate this.
Complexity of the Build (sloping block, narrow block)
Custom Builders normally accept such work and factors into the quote the added issues to give a true price indication to the client at the start. The Custom Builder has the flexibility to engage an architect and engineer to come up with a suitable and appropriate home on any land condition ensuring it is compliant with building codes.
Most Custom Builders arrange to meet with clients on site during the building works. This allows the relationship to remain open and allows the client to track the progress of work.
Owning a home presents itself with many different responsibilities. Even if you have just purchased a new home, it’s important to make regular home maintenance routines a part of your life. Home maintenance ensures that all of the different elements of your home run smoothly together, saving you time and money in the long run.
Here are a few tips for maintaining your new home.
Keep Your Gutters Clean
One of the easiest but most commonly overlooked home tasks is keeping track of the gutters. You want to clean your gutters a few times a year, and make sure to check them for clogging or damage if there has been a storm.
It’s important to keep gutters in good condition because they are what keeps water away from your home. If your gutters are clogged, rainwater has nowhere else to go and can leak into your home, causing anything from mould to structural damage.
Avoid Grease Fires
Keep the range hood over your stove clean. If it has filters, make sure to clean them regularly because grease build up over time can lead to a fire. While you’re at it, make sure the smoke detectors all have working batteries.
Maintain Heating and Cooling Systems
Do annual inspections of your heating and cooling systems. The best time is usually at the end of summer. Make sure to change or wash the filters every three months.
Don’t Slack on the Plumbing
Every member of your household should know where to find the water main. If you get a leak in any of your appliances, don’t wait to fix it. Leaks can cause your pipes to deteriorate and can cost you thousands of dollars on your water bills.
Beware of partially clogged drains, as they can cause an overflow. Make sure you use a snake or plunger to unclog drains immediately.
Vacuum in Strange Places
At least once a year, you should turn your vacuum cleaner onto the clothes dryer exhaust duct. While you’re at it, use your vacuum on the refrigerator coils underneath.
Test the Garage
Once a month, you should make sure your garage door is still functioning properly. Place obstructions in the door’s way to ensure that it continues to respond and doesn’t close when it isn’t safe to do so.
Keep Solar Panels Clean
If your modern home was built with solar panels, the sun doesn’t necessarily do all the work. The build-up of dust, grime and bird droppings prevents your panels from efficiently absorbing the sun. It’s important to regularly check your solar panels and keep them clean.
Choosing to build a new home is a big decision an even bigger decision is choosing the correct builder. All you are looking for is the best possible builder to work with you and build your dream home. Sometimes a builder you may have thought would do exactly what was promised may turn into a nightmare. Below are a few warning signs to look for.
One of the warning signs that you have picked the wrong builder is that you are unable to communicate with them. When you have contracted a builder to construct your home, there are many decisions that need to be made. Since this is your home, you will be the one making the majority of those decisions. You may even find that you may change your mind from time to time or have questions to ask about the build, this is when you will need to talk to your builder.
Should you find that you attempt to contact the builder and get no response, you more than likely have chosen the wrong builder to work with. If days go by without hearing from the builder and this continues to happen than this is a bad sign.
You’re going to be dealing with your builder for many months and a close working relationship will be critical to ensure a successful outcome, so make sure you understand who it is you are with from day to day.
Price Is Too High Or Too Low
Another sign that you have picked the wrong builder is you are feeling pushed into a sale and you can not see the value in their product.
On the other hand, if the price is incredibly low ask a lot of questions and as the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, then it more than likely is.
Selecting a builder that is significantly less than other quotes may lead to future issues if in fact the builder has made an error with the quote.
Too Many Mistakes
You may have also contracted the wrong builder if your home is not turning out as expected. While it is common to make the odd mistake, if there are numerous mistakes that are not being fixed you are not going to be happy. A good builder will always make the client priority and go out of there way to keep them happy.
Also, if the contractor you’re hoping to use can’t provide any proof of insurance, it is best not to enter into an agreement with him.
Under Estimating Site Works Costs:
Some builders under estimate site work costs to reduce the overall price and win the job. The Clients end up paying thousands more than allowed in the contract. Always ask for a detailed breakdown of the site works provisional sum and get a second opinion if you are having any doubts.
Unrealistic Construction Time Frame:
Many companies are often trying to manage too many builds at once. This doesn’t allow them time to manage trades and effectively control quality. While this is going on projects will blow out well and truly beyond their construction time frame. So, ask the builder how many projects they have going on at the same time.
Misunderstanding Dimensions on Plans:
Floor dimensions and floor areas can be calculated in different ways and builders often indicate floor areas to give the appearance that their design is larger than their competitors. Room dimensions can be taken from the middle or the edge of the wall and total dimensions may or may not be the areas under the eaves. Beware of this when comparing designs.
Shop around for Finance:
People shop around when looking for the right builder but don’t look around for a good mortgage broker. Mortgage brokers have access to many different lenders, so its worth speaking to your bank and a couple of brokers to get an idea of the range of finance solutions that are available for you.
“Turnkey” Doesn’t Always Mean “Turnkey”:
A true “ Turnkey ” house should be ready to live in as soon as it is completed. Unfortunately some companies advertise a product as “turnkey” but without all necessary items. Ask for a break down of all inclusions and make sure everything you need is included in the turnkey package.
Understand The Area You are Buying In:
Choosing a good location will add to your investment. On the other hand choosing a poor growth and rental area will affect your return when it comes time to sell or rent it out.
Be Aware of Comparing Apples to Oranges When Shopping for House Design:
It is exceedingly difficult to compare houses from different builders to determine which is better value for money. There are so many differences between quotes from one builder to another, at the end of the day, pick the design you like and is within your budget.
Display Home Inclusions:
When visiting display homes, ask what the display price does and doesn’t include. Pay particular attention to the inclusions and don’t be shy to ask for a total price.
Making Expensive Structural Changes:
Making changes to a builders standard house design can cost you big dollars in drafting and construction. The best way to keep costs down is to shop around until you find a design you like or one that only requires minimal changes or work with a Custom Builder. Remember, research only costs you, your time. If you try and avoid some or all of the above situations you should enjoy your build and have a hassle free experience.