How avoid traps when building your dream home?
Building a house can be a great experience. It can be an amazing experience if you think of these few tips before you start. It may save you a few bucks and some headaches down the track.
How to choose the right builder?
The market is full of builders with great track record and many years of experience. You can choose one with great reviews, word of mouth or how many years they have been in the business. There can be plenty of shortlist criterias.
I will divide this into 4 part process.
Part 1 (Shop around)
- Check for reviews.
- Ask around by trying to find an existing customer.
- Check how many years of servicebility they have.
- Try to find out an on going build project and check the finish.
- Approximate timeframe to build
TIP: Display houses are great and a good way to choose a builder, however, I would give only 20 out of 100 points when we make a decision since display houses are made especially for sales purposes and to attract customers.
Part 2 (Into the details)
- How much flexible a builder is during a build process?
- Can I change a few things during the build process?
- Is the builder comfortable about me bringing in a private certifier to check the quality?
- Is there a Variation cost?
- If yes to the above question, what are the conditions for imposing a variation fees?
TIP: If you change the structure of the house (for example: add or remove a window) during a build process because you thought it could be better, expect a hefty variation cost and that is understandable.
If you get charged after changing simple floor colour/material or adding a few things like bulkheads, I will sound my alarm. You should be only charged with the additional material costs and not any other admin fees.
Part 3 (Inclusions)
- How much allowance is provided for different part of the house, for example, appliances, joinery etc.
- Shop around and see if that allowance will satisfy your requirements.
- Check the brands (if you are specific to any).
- Check for building material (read a bit if you do not have the knowledge).
TIP: It is quite hard to get it all right in the contract, and that is why you will expect some flexibility and understanding from the builder.
Part 4 (Contract)
- Check the milestone payments and breakdown.
- How long will it take to build according to contract and what is the penalty if this is not satisfied?
- Read the contract in detail and request changes if you are not happy.
TIP: Milestone payments are made when the build process reaches a certain stage. I would recomend to personally visit the site when the invoice is being sent.
Getting the right builder can solve most of your problems if not all. As I have mentioned earlier, building a home can be a great experience, however, it can easily turn into a nightmare if one is not careful.
If you are reading this, it means that you are in the middle of a build of thinking about building. I wish all of you good luck in your amazing journey.