Building a new home can be a minefield - take it from me.
I underestimated just how naive and ignorant I was about the whole process and I let everyone from the agent selling the land to the home builder dupe me with slick sales talk, somehow convincing me that the design I desired was not as practical, stylish or aesthetically pleasing as their stock standard setups. What I now realise is that they were merely pushing me towards their ‘paint by numbers’ house plans, and didn’t want to or weren’t capable of altering theirs to suit me.
Second time around, I had learned my lessons and the whole experience was so much more pleasant. Instead of buying ‘off the rack’ from a high turnover builder who put economy over quality, I decided to look at individualised luxury home builders. The difference between the two experiences was dramatic! The focus was suddenly on constructing a home to suit my lifestyle and comfort, not trying to adapt my needs to fit a standard home design. Below I have outlined just a few checkpoints that it pays to keep in mind when planning to bring your dreams to reality.
Location - Look and Listen
Stop, look and listen when considering a building block.
A flat, rectangle block in a court location far from relentless traffic noise, is ideal. Homes built on busy roads are not only noisy, but resale values will be affected. You may think it unimaginable that you would consider such a thing before you have even bought land, but always keep resale values at the forefront of your mind at every stage of your planning.
Budget - Contingency Comfort
Another area where most people get caught out is budgeting for your project. We all want a little more than we can afford, but this can be circumvented to some extent by engaging an ethical, transparent builder who can work within your budget to create your vision. Just keep in mind that as you get your ideas onto paper, you may be inspired with extras you hadn’t considered before and unless you have put aside a contingency allowance you may end up being disappointed.
Design for a lifestyle
When in the design stage of your home, put aside what you think a home should be and start from scratch. Ask yourself some simple lifestyle questions such as:
● are you able or willing to climb stairs to your bedroom each evening?
● do you need a formal lounge or dining room?
● do you require vast amounts of hidden storage space (or is that just me?),
● are you a growing family or a shrinking one?
Ensuring that you have a flexible design where rooms can be used for multiple purposes means that down the track when you decide to sell you won’t have created a home with limited appeal.
If you have kids and are thinking of things such as a big garden, extensive plantings or an inground pool, consider whether you are really up for the maintenance. Imagine Sundays mowing lawns, testing pool water or trimming the rose bushes. Nearby parks can act as social play areas for kids and are someone else’s mowing problem. In place of a pool, consider a stunning water feature instead.
As I mentioned earlier, thinking about resale at this point can seem a bit far fetched but it pays to think ahead. Things like paint can easily be changed to appeal to a wider taste but if you have built a house in the middle of your block, with small rooms or only 2 bedrooms then you have not maximized the resale opportunities ahead and such short sighted planning will cost you ultimately.
Bringing your dreams to life in a new home is a privilege that only the very fortunate get to experience. You have probably worked long and hard to get to this point in your life so make sure you get it right. Selecting the right builder, land and design will go a long way to ensuring that you can enjoy the creature comforts of your new home for years to come.