Building a new home, whether it’s based on a plan or custom designed from scratch, is a huge emotional and financial investment.
For these reasons, you want to have a solid plan for your residential build. And partner up with people who share your vision and have the relevant skills, experience, and resources to bring your dream to life.
Whether your project is big or small, the process of designing, planning, and building is always unique for each person. But there are steps you can take to guarantee a successful outcome every time.
First, you need to know what you want in a new home…
What Does Your Dream Home Look Like?
Perhaps you see an open plan living space … a private office upstairs … dedicated home theatre room with a big screen projector … spacious kitchen with an elegant marble benchtop … or a huge backyard for the kids to enjoy.
Whatever you desire in a new home, you need to put it down in writing and decide how much you can afford.
Remember, you need to plan for your current and future lifestyle needs. Whether you plan on having more children, starting a new business from home, or buying a new car, your new home should be well-equipped to handle almost any major lifestyle change that may occur in the future.
Other factors to take into account include:
- Your ideal location (i.e. proximity to amenities and friends, level of safety, comfort, public transport access)
- Property market value (i.e. value of similar properties in the area)
- Risk of natural disasters and pests (i.e. bushfires, flooding, high winds, soil movement, and termites.
Budgeting is one of the most important steps of planning a residential build. To do this, you need to figure out how much you can afford to pay back in monthly mortgage re-payments.
First, calculate your total monthly income and reduce it by the total amount of your monthly expenses (e.g. rent, groceries, and bills). This is an approximate figure that states how much you can afford to repay each month.
You can then use an online mortgage calculator to adjust the interest rate and length of the loan to calculate your average monthly repayments.
Choosing the Right Designer
Designers fall under two different categories: architects and building designers.
Generally speaking, architects are more expensive and have higher qualifications, more experience, and a greater wealth of knowledge to provide a more detailed, unique, energy and cost-efficient design to better suit your needs. Plus, architects are required to be officially registered and have liability insurance, so they’re bound by strict regulations.
On the other hand, building designers are a bit cheaper and can come from a range of backgrounds. For example, a designer may have previously been a builder, or they hold a degree in building or architecture but never became an officially licensed architect. None of these traits are inherently bad, but expect the level of quality to vary.
Whichever you choose, the design must comply with the relevant building and residential planning regulations, and be certified by an official surveyor.
When comparing providers, be sure to check the designer’s portfolio for examples of their work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either. So you can find out if they have the skills, qualifications, and experience required to meet your project needs.
Choosing the Right Builder
Just like designers, residential builders bring their own unique skills to the table and come from a range of backgrounds.
First, you should ask friends, family, and colleagues for recommendations for builders. If you’re lucky, you may know someone who has recently worked with a builder and can tell you first-hand about the overall experience. Otherwise, to get started you can search for a local builder in your area on Google or another search engine.
Once you have a few names, go to their website and look at their portfolio. On this page you should see photos and possibly a brief description for each project they’ve completed. After a while, you should have a good idea of the kind of homes the company specialises in, and whether they’re a match for you.
If you’re unsure about anything, feel free to call or message the company directly for more detailed info.
This should go without saying, but make sure any builder you approach is fully certified and has up-to-date insurance. If you hire a dodgy builder, you risk having the project be done poorly or even worse, they could run off with your money and leave project unfinished.
Finally, be sure to spend time planning with your residential builder to get a feel for their personality and level of communication. If the builder is quick to answer questions, has a friendly personality, and they seem genuinely willing to help – the process is more likely to go smoothly.