CRJ Designer Homes is a locally owned, family operated building company. Since being established in 2006, Michael and his wife Gillian have made it their goal to build quality homes at exceptional prices, with inclusions that most would consider as an extra!
Home Building Tips & Tricks
Building your own home can be a daunting task, particularly for first-time home owners. Our handy guide takes all the stress of the unknown away, with practical tips and tricks to build your own home. Read on for four home building tips and tricks to consider when building your own home.
Top Four Home Building Tips
From planning and budgeting to understanding your agreement and entitlements, there are many things to consider when building your own home.
1) Organise Your Budget
Building a new home is quite possibly one of the biggest investments you will make, so it is important to have your budget in order before you start the building process. Your budget will have a big impact on your house plan, so make sure you have a clear figure in mind before meeting with your consultancy. It’s a good idea to have a look around at houses in the area to get an idea of the sort of price you may be looking at, and many designers have approximate figures for exisiting house plans that you can look at too.
In our experience, the biggest mistake first-time home builders make is not budgeting for everything they need. Aside from the obvious land purchase and construction costs, here are a few other expenses to consider:
• Design and consultancy costs
• Stamp duty
• Site preparation
• Finishing costs (electricity and gas connection, internet connection etc)
• Unforeseen expenses (e.g. change of mind on a room finishing)
“The biggest mistake first-time home builders make is not budgeting for everything they need.”
The good news is that if you are a first home buyer you may be eligible for a First Home Owner Grant or certain stamp duty concessions, depending on the state or territory you are looking at building in. In Queensland, new home owners may be eligible for $15,000 through the Queensland First Home Owner’s Grant for houses valued at less than $750,000, with stamp duty concessions available depending on your property value (Queensland Treasury, 2018).
Regardless of whether you’re a first home buyer or not, make sure you consider all aspects of building a house in your budget, including additional add ons you may not have considered.
2) Start with a Plan
As the adage goes, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” (Benjamin Franklin). One of the most crucial aspects of home building is the initial planning process. How many rooms do you want? Do you need a second bathroom? How much garage space do you require? These questions and more will determine your house plan, which is important to nail down before your build begins.
There are a few different options for creating your house plan:
1. Draft your own plan
2. Consult with a design team to incorporate your ideas into a professional plan
3. Decide on an exisiting plan by a designer/construction team
Your choice in who drafts your house plan will determine how much input you have into the design process. Regardless, you should ensure you have at least a rough idea on what it is you’re after before meeting with a designer, and bring along any photos, sketches or Pinterest boards that you’ve found for inspiration.
If you’re unsure where to start with your house plans, consider the following important aspects:
1. Block/Land size
2. Overall style, including consideration of exisiting houses in the area
3. Number of bedrooms, bathrooms and living areas
4. Number of car spaces
6. Colour scheme and decor
7. In-built cupboards and storage space
3) Communicate About What’s Important to You
For many builders, nothing brings them more joy than seeing their client’s smiling faces at the end of a build. Make sure that your designer and/or builder understands what’s important to you in the home, so that they can focus on those parts and tick all the right boxes before the house is completed.
Ensure that your builder is aware of the following before construction begins:
• Your overall vision of the home, including any specific design choices that may not be clear on your house plans
• The rooms or areas of the house that you want to ‘pop’
• Any areas of the plan that you are non-negotiable on, and any that are flexible should issues arise
“Effective communication will ensure building your home is stress-free”
By communicating your expectations clearly before the build begins, you’ll avoid any unnecessary disagreements or misunderstandings throughout the construction process. However, it’s also important that you maintain regular communication with your builder throughout the process to ensure there are no unexpected hiccups along the way. Bringing up any concerns throughout the building process will cause less stress for you and the construction team than leaving them to the last minute, guaranteeing that your building process is enjoyable and stress free.
4) Understand Your Contract
Once you have decided on your house plan and budget, carefully read through your contract with your builder to ensure that you understand all aspects of the agreement. If you have any questions about the contract or are uncertain about any aspects of the building process, now is the time to ask.
“It's not unusual for (experienced) parties to a construction contract not to fully understand what it says” (Matthew Horn, constructiondive.com)
Important things to be aware of within your contract:
• What construction costs are covered or not covered
• If there are any cooling-off periods
• What timeframe the construction is to be completed in
• What warranties and insurances are included
• If there are any variation charges should you stray from the original plan
• What payment arrangements are in place
Make sure that you understand all components of your contract before signing, and nut out any uncertainties or grievances with your builder before entering into the agreement. For extra peace of mind, you could also have a solicitor look over the document. Remember, your contract protects both you and your builder in the unfortunate case of a disagreement, so be sure that you’re both happy with the agreement before finalising the contract.
While building your own home may seem intimidating at first, understanding the basics of home building will ensure you’re well on your way to creating your dream home. Remembering to plan, budget, look over your contract and communicate constantly will leave you in good stead when building your home.
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