What Must You Know Before Your First Meeting With Your Builder?


The day is approaching when you will 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 simple to plan your home from the comfort of your computer, pouring over an endless stream of Pinterest boards, blog posts and spreadsheets. Eventually though the day will come when it’s time to prepare for your first face-to-face meeting with your builder.

Obviously, everyone wants to be prepared for the first meeting. It’s natural to want to start off on the right foot.

By now you probably have a good idea of who you want to work with. You’ve done your homework and settled on a builder that ticks all the boxes and they’re simple to work with.

7 Things You Must Know Before Designing a New Home

Goals of Your First Meeting?

That really depends entirely on how far along you are, but the main goal should simply be to discuss your needs and what you want.

Down below, are two distinctive 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!”

Awesome, this means we can jump right into discussions of finishes, materials and costs. To be able to put together an initial quote, we will 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?

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Example 2: “I don’t have my plans.”

Do not worry, the majority of our customers come to us with a general idea of what they want and do not want however 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… Several questions, for example…

• What size home do you need? How much liveable 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 may be two or three or even more meeting prior to building out a quote, depending on whether or not your builder has a plan that will perfectly fit your needs.

How to Prepare:

A builder who is experienced should have no issues walking you through the question-and-answer process- gathering the necessary bits of information needed to plan and quote your build. In saying that it never hurts to come prepared.

Here are a few tasks you can do to gather this information:

Do your 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: Visuals go a long way, as they can help us visualize exactly what you are looking for. Bring photos, Pinterest boards – whatever you have got- to your first meeting and you will be more likely to get what you’re looking for (or really close to it).

Study (or bring) floorplans: If you haven’t settled on a floor plan, go ahead and familiarize 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 prioritize them in your plans.

Think about your previous homes or current home: More specifically think and identify the parts of your current or previous homes that you absolutely loved and more importantly, what parts did you hate? 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 has your builder worked on a particular neighbourhood you’re interested in?

diagram of town

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.

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Norm Wales

Norm’s discipline continued as he excelled in his trade, gaining valuable experience that enabled him to begin his own building company. With a philosophy of constant improvement, Norm developed processes for every aspect of his business.
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