Are you wondering how to choose a builder for your new home? Look no further- we’ve compiled a list of things to look for, and what to avoid!
Picking the right builder for your new home can be a little overwhelming. After all, in today’s market we’re spoiled for choice! There are so many companies, firms, and builders vying for our attention that it can be difficult to know where to start.
On one end of the spectrum, you have boutique homebuilding firms that may only manage a handful of high-end jobs at a time. These kinds of builders have in-house designers, landscapers, and architects at their disposal and cost a pretty penny. On the other end of the spectrum, you have modular home builders, who sell hundreds (if not thousands) of prefabricated kit houses a year. There are very few, if any, customisation options with these kinds of homes, but they can be a fantastic option for families who are trying to build on a budget.
Most of us will end up falling somewhere in the middle; choosing to build with a volume or project builder. These companies allow still for a good level of customisation & decent build times, but won’t break the bank. Or as Goldilocks would say – they’re just right!
My boyfriend and I were lucky enough to have found a sales consultant who was willing to work with us on changing/altering plans to suit our family’s needs. Ultimately, it was his willingness to hold our hands and guide us through the process that ultimately lead us to picking his company.
While we certainly made a few mistakes along the way, we absolutely loved our building process… and the end result! I’ve compiled a list of some things to keep in mind when interviewing homebuilders… so hopefully, you can pick a winner too!
Table of Contents
1. FIND A BLOCK OF LAND FIRST
Before you do anything else, you should give some consideration to where you want to live. There are a few reasons for this:
- Some builders may be unwilling or unable to work in rural areas; so if you’re building outside of the cbd/inner suburbs you’ll need to determine which companies service your area before visiting any display villages.
- Some blocks or estates may actually be owned by a particular building company – which will obviously limit your options significantly.
- Sloped, narrow (see our tips on designing a home for a narrow block) or irregularly shaped blocks can make finding a suitable floor plan more difficult. Builders will need to know this kind of information before they can make any recommendations.
2. VISIT A BUILDER’S DISPLAY VILLAGE
The best way to gauge the quality of a builder’s work is to visit one of their display homes.
If you want to save yourself some time and a lot of driving, I recommend looking for a mixed display village in your area. These are generally found in estates in up-and-coming areas, and will feature display homes from a huge variety of different builders- all within walking distance of one another.
Allow yourself plenty of time to walk through each different builder’s home, and make sure to take lots of notes/pictures. Trust me, after a while all the houses will start to feel the same & it’ll be hard to remember which is which.
It’s important to remember that display homes tend to showcase the best of what a builder can offer. They’re often stacked full of upgrades, and therefore, not necessarily a true representation of what you’re buying into. So, before you sign ANYTHING make sure that you’re aware of what’s included in a builder’s base cost, and what’s going to cost you more down the line.
3. BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR BUDGET
I’m sure you saw this one coming from a mile away. But unfortunately, the biggest limiting factor when it comes to choosing a builder for your new home is money.
There’s no point approaching a luxury home builder if your budget doesn’t allow for it. As much as we would all love to custom-build the home of our dreams, it’s still a ways off for many of us.
Make sure to take note of the ‘ticket price’ of each builder’s home and land packages before engaging with them. While this isn’t 100% indicative of their finished build costs, it should give you an idea of whether you’re in the right ballpark.
4. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Before you commit to anything it’s worthwhile doing a googling your prospective home builder. A few negative reviews/experiences are to be expected, but a large amount of them should raise alarm bells. In my opinion, the best place to find honest reviews is productreview.com.au. Conversely, reviews found on the home builder’s website directly are likely to skew more positively than negatively.
If possible, try to speak to somebody who has had a recent experience with this builder. This might mean joining facebook groups, or messaging somebody privately on instagram. Unless of course, you are lucky enough to have a friend or family member who has recently built with the same company. In which case, you’ve hit the jackpot!
5. ASK QUESTIONS OF YOUR BUILDER
When meeting with sales consultants you should come armed with a list full of questions! I recommend taking notes during the meeting so that you can sit down and assess them later.
While your family’s needs might differ somewhat from mine, here are some questions that I think are worth asking regardless of your individual circumstances. Of course, feel free to add a few of your own.
- What is your current build time?
- How long does the pre-construction process usually take?
- Do you offer fixed-price builds, or is this contract subject to variations?
- How much is the deposit & when is it due?
- Is landscaping included?
- Can I modify this floorplan as I please?
- What are your standard inclusions?
- Can I use my own plan/do you quote custom floor plans?
- Do you have a studio/design centre?
- At what point will I have the final price?
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