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From financing to final lockup: 3 things you need to know about building your first home

Home builder hands over new home keys to customer

Building a house for the first time is incredibly exciting, but it can also be a daunting experience. As a first-time home builder, you’ll want to know everything from financing to choosing your house plans, and what to expect when working with a builder – before you actually start building. Here are our top 3 tips to know when building your first home. 

1. Get your finances in order

Couple reviews the budgeting and finances of their family before building their new Bundaberg home

This tip is a bit like asking which came first – the chicken or the egg? When you’re building a house for the first time, it can be hard to know where to start with financing. You need to know how much you can lend in order to know what sorts of houses you can afford… but you need to know what sort of house you want so you can make enquiries as to whether or not your ideal home is in your current budget. So, what should you do first when talking about financing?

In our experience, knowing a rough figure of what you might be approved for can help you avoid disappointment – you don’t want to get your heart set on a $1 million mega-mansion only to find out your upper limit is closer to $400,000. Whether you go directly through a bank or use a mortgage broker, your lender or broker should be able to assess your finances before you really start looking at homes.

That being said, it doesn’t hurt to know what the median price is for your area. Do a quick search online to find out how much houses are selling for around your location, and this will give you a good idea as to how much money you may need to lend. Combine this with the estimate your lender gives you for your borrowing power, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you can afford. Remember that house prices can vary drastically depending on your wants and needs, but round figures are a good start.

2. Lock in your plan

Young couple laying on floor while packing reviewing the plans of their new home

The first step in truly nailing down your house price is to talk to a builder about house plans. There are a number of options when building a home, including:

  • Building on plan – using an existing plan on offer from your builder, with little to no adjustments
  • Adjusting a plan – using a base plan as a jumping-off point, but customising it to suit your needs
  • Designing a custom home – hiring a designer to create your house plans from scratch

While building on a plan may seem restrictive, it can be one of the most common choices of new home builders. Gone are the days of a builder offering 2 or 3 pre-fab home options – nowadays, we offer a range of standard house plans in Bundaberg to choose from, with various family sizes and lifestyles in mind. Building on a plan is often the easiest, which is why it’s such a hit with new home builders.

If, however, you want a custom home, there are other options available to you. Most house designs can be adjusted to suit your needs, whether it be adding an extra room, flipping the layout, or including features like butlers’ pantries and walk-in robes. Keep in mind that with some builders, changes to existing plans do incur an extra fee.  Rest assured, this is not the case with CRJ, we are happy to customise our ready-to-go plans or alternatively design a completely custom home at no extra cost. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you lock in your plan and are happy with everything before signing the dotted line – changes to your house plans after signing the contract can be quite costly.

3. Build a rapport with your builder

Female shakes hand with Bundaberg home builder on site

There’s nothing worse when building a new home than not knowing what’s going on. That’s why it’s important you choose a builder you can trust and one that communicates openly throughout the whole process. Make sure that you understand your and your builder’s obligations and rights from the get-go. This means nutting out costs, timeframes, and expectations – yes, it can be a difficult conversation, but it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Make sure before signing your contract that you understand everything in the paperwork. You should have a solicitor run their eyes over the contract, and it’s crucial you ask any questions you have before signing. Make sure that you talk to your builder about what guarantees they have for timelines, building quality, and maintenance – you don’t want someone who casually promises 12 weeks when it will actually take 12 months, or cut corners with poor workmanship.

Once you’re happy with the arrangement and have signed a contract, try to keep up communications without becoming domineering. A good builder will keep you informed every step of the way and understands you’re anxious to see your new home. That being said, sometimes things can fall through the cracks, and it’s perfectly okay to ask questions and check in – just don’t become a nag or you’ll be at risk of being labelled a Karen!

Building a home for the first time is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it’s important you know what you’re getting into so you can enjoy the process. If you’re ready to build your dream home in Bundaberg, get in touch today to learn more about how we can turn your dreams into a reality.

About the author

CRJ Designer Homes

CRJ Designer Homes

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!

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