While some families are happy to choose house and land packages that are all-inclusive, many still prefer to 'go it alone' and choose to find a builder to construct their dream home. Here's what you need to do when choosing one.
Building your home is by far one of the biggest (if not actually the largest) investments you'll make in your lifetime. And with so much weighing in the balance, the last thing you want is for your dreams to turn into a horror story. Poor workmanship, unexplained delays, or worse - getting stuck with a half-finished home, are just some of the many things that may go wrong.
But there's no need to fret. Tick off these five items on your checklist, to help you find a great builder or tradesman.
1. First checks to find a builder
Hop online and research popular builders in your area. Check with your neighbour, or a trusted work colleague to see if they know anyone they can recommend.
In most cases, local builders not only know the area better, but have a loyal customer base and references that can vouch for their services. Regardless as to where you find a builder, be sure to ask for references - this is a sure-fire way to sniff out any less than qualified builders.
2. Gather your quotes
From your pool of potential builders, pick a few and ask them to provide you with a written quote.
Make sure that each quote is crystal clear in outlining what it contains, and what it doesn't, so that there are no unaccounted-for surprises.
Then, all you need to do is compare your results, and when you're ready, start negotiating.
3. Go through the records
After you've narrowed your list down to your top two or three builders, make a quick enquiry with Consumer Affairs or the Department of Fair Trading to see if there are any past or outstanding claims against any of them.
4. Confirm licences
Before you make your final decision, confirm that your builder is in possession of all necessary licences, and that they are current. Each territory or state has slightly different requirements, so make sure your builder is licensed to work in your area.
5. Get a complete contract
You're just one step away from getting started! In your excitement, don't rush this last step as it is the most important: the building contract. Ensure that a formal contract is drawn up that covers all aspects of your build, including provisions for unexpected costs, and time frames for various stages of completion.
And your very last step
Make sure it's signed properly, of course!
If you make sure to cover these steps while you find a builder, you'll be far more likely to have a smooth and enjoyable experience.
Continue to selecting a great block of land.