The day is arriving when you’ll meet with your builder for the first time. It is important to feel prepared and have a specific goal in mind. Here is what you’ll need to know…
What to Expect:
It’s easy to plan your home from the comfort of your computer, pouring over an endless stream of Pinterest boards, blog posts, and spreadsheets. But eventually the day will come when it’s time to prepare for your first face-to-face meeting with your builder.
Obviously, everyone wants to feel prepared for their first meeting. It’s natural to want to start off on the right foot, and by now you probably have a pretty good idea of who you want to work with. You’ve done your homework and settled on a builder that ticks all your boxes and they’re easy to work with.
Goals of Your First Meeting
Well, that depends entirely on how far along you are, but the main goal should simply be to discuss your needs and what you want. Below, are two different examples that play out in our office, based on whether or not a customer arrives with house plans in hand.
Example 1: “I have my plans!”
Great, this means we can jump right into discussions of finishes, materials, and costs. In order to put together an initial quote, we’ll begin nailing down details such as …
- Exterior Finishes: Do you prefer brick, Render, cladding?
- Foundation-Type: Will we be building your home on top of stumps, or slab?
- Interior Finishes: We’ll want to determine a laundry-list of interior selections including cabinet-types, floor-coverings, lighting and plumbing fixtures, window and door designs, fireplaces, and trim packages.
- Homebuilding Extras: Will you be expanding on your home’s footprint with the addition of decks, porches, and/or patios?
Example 2: “I don’t have my plans.”
Don’t worry, most of our customers come to us with a general idea of what they want, but most look to us to help them choose and refine a design that fits their needs. If this is the case, expect your homebuilder to start asking questions — lots and lots of questions.
- What size home do you need? How much livable area?
- How many baths, bedrooms?
- Can we find an existing plan that fits your needs?
- What home layouts fit your style and plans?
- What’s your budget?
- Within your budget, which trim-packages do you like?
- Do you need purpose-specific rooms?
- Will you build on a slab, or stumps?
- (The list goes on)
In this example, there might be two or three meetings prior to building out a quote, depending on whether or not your builder has a plan that perfectly fits your needs.
How to Prepare:
An experienced builder should have no problem walking you through the question-and-answer process, gathering the necessary bits of information needed to plan and quote your build. However, it doesn’t hurt to come prepared. Here are a few tasks you can do to gather information:
- Do some research: More than likely, you’ve got this covered, but the more research you can do prior to your first meeting, the faster your builder can finalise your plans.
- Bring pictures: Visual aids go a long way. Bring photos, Pinterest boards — whatever you’ve got — to your first meeting, and you’ll be more likely to get what you’re looking for (or really close to it).
- Study (or bring) floor plans: If you haven’t settled on a floor plan, go ahead and familiarise yourself with what’s out there. Weigh the pros and cons of things like open layouts, multi-story homes, bonus rooms, etc.
- Consider your lifestyle: Do you work from home? Are you an entertainer, a chef, or a homebody? Think about the life you lead and want, and identify the rooms that are most important to you and your family! Be sure to prioritise them in your plans.
- Think about your home today: More specifically, identify the parts of your current and past homes that you absolutely loved — and, more importantly, hated. Note these items and make a wish list of the home features you’ve always wanted!
- Lock in your budget & timeframe: Two of the biggest variables in any build are time and money. Knowing the budget and timeframe you’re comfortable working in sets constructive parameters on all future conversations.
- Prepare to ask your own questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about everything and anything. The key to a successful homebuilding experience is regular, open and honest communication.
- Consider where to build: Do you have a block of land to build on? Do you need help with a property search? Or does your builder own a particular neighbourhood you’re interested in?
That might seem like a lot of information, but the good news is you will have a lot more than one opportunity to communicate with your builder. But, if your builder of choice does their job, you should leave your first meeting with all questions answered, and a clearer vision for your next step.
First, before construction even begins, let’s make sure we have included a few procedures, that are going to be contributing factors to your overall build time.
1. Initial Meeting with The Builder
This is when you start putting your ideas together and coming up with an overall design and a basic floor plan. After a couple of more meetings with the builder you will work out more specific criteria for finishes and move towards a final design. This can take anywhere from 2 – 4 weeks.
2. Contracts and Permits
Once the final design is worked out this than turns into a project that can be quoted and a client proposal can be put together. Quoting the project and signing the contract can take anywhere from 2 – 4 weeks. Once the contract is signed the building permit process follows and this can take another 2 – 4 weeks.
All the permits have been finalised and approved. It is now time for the builder to start the Construction Scheduling process with the various tradesmen needed to complete the construction within the designated timeframe. While this is going on the home owner is selecting the various finishes which are to be incorporated into the overall design.
4. Construction Starts
The actual construction process could take anywhere from 12 – 16 and longer. Depending upon the complexity of the design, undesirable weather, the number of storeys, the slope of the land, easements involved and even trees to be removed, these all impact on the timeframe. Another element to remember is that sometimes the titling of land can be a lengthy process. So if a buyer wants to build straight away, they need to ensure the land is ready to build on.
Take note of this…
The last key factor that causes major time delays in constructing a new home is ‘unplanned changes’.
When buyers insist on features or a certain design concept for their new home during the building process (changes that were not scoped during the planning phase), delays in the process are almost always the result.
Reality TV shows have given people the wrong misconception, that you can do major works in 4, 5, or even 6 weeks. But in saying this most people have common sense and understand the process actually takes longer. It takes time to build a quality home.
When should I consider a reno?
When your home no longer suits your needs or style, it can be tempting to consider a renovation rather than a new build.
There are circumstances where renovating is the right choice. If your home is structurally sound and you like the layout and only want small changes then renovating is the way to go. However, if your home is older and doesn’t suits your needs then it’s time to rebuild.
A Few Points To Consider When Renovating
- Are you compromising the way you really want your home to look and feel?
- Are you sacrificing the opportunity to gain better views, energy efficiency’s and structure?
- Are you going to make many changes and are you going to be able to live in the house while it is getting renovated?
Draw up some plans, and consider what often starts out as a great idea can take ages to complete.
- What about the idea of living in amongst building materials and ongoing mess while renovating?
- What about the time getting quotes and managing trade whilst renovating?
- Your budget, extensive renovations are not cheap.
- How much extra life will a renovation add to your home?
- Is the financial value of your home important to you?
The choice between renovating and rebuilding, comes down to two factors, mainly sentiment and finances. If these two factors don’t depict your situation than a new build will offer the perfect solution.
A Few Home Truths About Renovating…
If you really want the truth about renovating you may want to keep reading; if you’re planning an extensive renovation with lots of structural changes it can be definitely cheaper to start from scratch. It relates largely to renovations being unique to the individual home, and renovations that are time consuming and labour intensive.
Brand new homes can be built quickly using systems and modern materials that maximise efficiency and save time on new builds. One of the upsides of building a new home is you can ask your builder for a Fixed Price Contract.
The building process can be a difficult one for the average homeowner to understand. From the technical aspects and terminology of the actual construction to the hassle of financing, even the most focused client can find themselves overwhelmed with information.
This is where a good builder can make all the difference and help make the process a smooth one for both you and themselves. By establishing open lines of communications early on in the process and continuing to make themselves available to you, a builder can help avoid the problems that can stall the production of a new home.
Norm Wales Constructions takes great strides to help you understand the building process from start to finish. We believe that the more informed you are is an asset to the entire process; you can best explain your desires to the builder and avoid the errors and delays that come from miscommunication. To the very end, we encourage you to ask questions.
Our company strives to include you in every part of the process so that they not only understand the work being done but acquire knowledge about the home building industry for the future. By doing this, Norm Wales Constructions not only hopes to improve the relationship between yourself and homebuilders but also demonstrate why working with us is the best decision you can make. When you are ready to build your custom home in Bundaberg, Norm Wales Constructions should be your first phone call.
Well, the short answer is no.
Home designers, architects and interior designers are more than capable of improving your final product, but their services are not always necessary — especially if your homebuilder already has a diversified, in-house team.
If You Choose to Work With An Architect
You might have an existing relationship with an architect or a home designer that already knows your style or can better translate your ideas into a final design. That’s absolutely fine! We want you to get the home that best fits you. Your builder shouldn’t have any issues working with your architect.
Keeping An Eye on the Bottom Line
There is, of course, one big drawback to working with an architect: cost. Working with a homebuilder, exclusively, during your planning stages will likely save you money on drafting, plans, and any necessary revisions.
Architects and home designers can bring a lot of value to your custom home build, but they might be entirely focused on the “concept” or “design” and completely unaware of how their design and material choices are going to impact your bottom line.
That’s not the case when you choose to work with a builder on your custom home design.
A homebuilder acting as both designer and contractor is perfectly situated to keep an eye on cost. They have an extensive knowledge of which types of designs and materials will push you past your budget, and should be more than able to guide you towards a custom design that fits your plans, personality, and your budget.