Building a new home is something many home buyers dream about. Follow these house building tips to stop your project turning into a nightmare.
What’s my budget?
Before you start the process of planning for a new build, it’s essential to know how much you can afford. It also pays to be realistic about your goals so you can allocate money to the things that matter to you most. You’re more likely to stick to your budget and have less financial stress and fewer regrets in the future.
Need a floor plan that’s highly customised to your lifestyle? You might be better off dedicating a chunk of your finances to hiring an architect to design a home. Whatever your priorities are, just remember that building is just the beginning and you’ll be needing budget for landscaping, furniture and more to complete your new home.
What type of permits will I need?
For most types of homes you’ll need two permits:
• A planning permit from your local council shows that your building plans meet planning controls for your area, including use of land for development, appearance, environmental codes and more.
• A building permit from a building surveyor or certifier states that your plans comply with local council and safety regulations so that building work can begin.
Processes and fees for these will vary from state to state and between different councils. But wherever you’re building, you’ll need to be prepared for the costs, paperwork and time involved in securing your permits before you build.
It’s worth checking with your council to determine whether the home you want can be built without a planning permit. If you carefully follow council guidelines, you may be able to proceed straight to a building permit application.
What should I be looking for in a home builder?
When it comes to hiring a contractor to build a house, you should have an extensive checklist and questions to follow up with your candidates, including:
• Checking they are licensed and have no history of bankruptcy or outstanding disputes with your state building commission.
• Visiting recent projects and getting referrals from previous clients.
• Asking about details of your building plans to make sure they understand what’s involved.
• What is included in their quote?
• How long works are likely to take and timing for key project stages.
• Do they work with reliable subcontractors?
• Who will be managing the site?
• Will they be working on other projects while yours is underway?
• Do they carry all relevant and necessary insurance?
These questions to ask a home builder will address issues that are just as important as being able to deliver your new home within budget.
What should my building contract cover?
There are different types of building contracts available but any contract should clearly lay out the rights and responsibilities of you, your builder and contractors.
In order to protect your home from the very start, ask your solicitor to check your building contract for workmanship warranties and builders’ insurance provisions. Make sure the final price in the contract is what you agreed on and that you understand what the conditions and allowances are for cost variations. Your contract should also refer to detailed plans and drawings, a progress and payment schedule and details of deposit required and cooling-off period upon signing your contract.
Ultimately, a contract gives certainty and protects all parties, so take your time, ask lots of questions and above all, keep the golden rule of contracts in mind: if you don’t understand it, don’t sign it. Stick with that and you won’t go far wrong.
Have you ever built your own home? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.