While building a brand new can be very exciting, it can also be a very long and stressful road.  Think of it as if you are taking a road trip, how will you prepare for your journey?

The key is to learn as much as you can about the entire building process.  This will reduce your risk and increase your chances of making the right decisions.  You may not get everything right, however you will get pretty close.

When it comes to embarking on your home building journey, there are many costly mistakes that you can potentially make.  Here are six mistakes that you may want to be aware of:

Mistake #1:  Blind Love

Some people just blindly fall in love with a display home that they visit.  Display homes are show homes, they have to be immaculate.

It’s like when you have visitors over, your dinner room looks so clean and amazingly new like it has never been used before.

Now I am not suggesting that you do not pay attention to how the display home looks.

On the contrary, it’s important to visit as many display homes as you can to get ideas and potentially find the right builder.

However falling blindly with the display home alone without considering other factors that contribute to the builder being right for you is a mistake.

Not to mention that you will very unlikely get the exact the same finishes as the display home that you fell in love with.

So visit as many display homes as you can and fall in love with the different features etc…

A couple of great places to start are Homeworld and HomeQuest, a place where you can visit a LOT of different display homes.

However be ruthless when it comes to selecting the right builder for your home build and don’t just base it on this one, arguably amazing, factor.

Mistake #2:  Acceptance

Many people accept the consultant’s or the builder’s word for the space being big enough or good enough for them in a specific room or the overall house.

Remember that you are the one who is going to live in it (if that’s the case) not the builder, so it’s important that you understand the space dimensions and you are comfortable with it all.

Last thing you want to do is get into your own and find out that the room is far smaller than you thought it would be.  It’s not the best feeling in the world specially when you just spent 100’s of thousands of dollars.

So walk around the displays or even at home to get a sense of the space and make sure that you are happy with it.

Measure your floor plans dimensions and make sure that the numbers correspond to what has been built before agreeing to the formal handover of your home and it’s too late.

Mistake #3:  The Wrong Comparison

A lot of people go around getting quotes from different builders thinking that they are obtaining tenders.  Quotes are just guesstimates provided by builders to give you some sort of idea.

It is NOT the price you pay for your home build.

So comparing quotes means nothing.

It’s imperative that you obtain a fixed price tender.  AND when you do, make sure you are not comparing quotes vs. tenders.

Fixed Price Tenders are properly calculated by the builder and provides an accurate price for your home build.  Comparing a fixed price tender to a random quote is madness and it does not work.

Comparing quotes and relevant prices is NOT the same as comparing value.

Having said that, people do this ALL the time.  I think this is mostly contributed to the fact that most people do not understand how building works.

So they go around asking for quotes on different designs, inclusions and promotions.  They then select builders based on the best “value for money”, i.e. price.

This can be very costly and can potentially costs you 10’s if not 100’s of thousands of dollars.  Please refer to my blog on “Quote vs. Fixed Price Tender” for more details.

Obtaining a fixed price tender is the best way to be safe and know upfront what you are actually going to be paying for your home build.

The last thing you want is your builder calling you to tell you that they need more money for piering or drop edge beam.

Mistake #4:  Delays

Delays happen.  It’s a fact.  Your builder is putting together thousands of pieces together on site, so things sometimes get delayed.

If your home is a custom home with loads of custom features, it’s actually ok if they take their time building it (within reason) to make sure they do it right.

If, on the other hand, they are just delaying your job because they are inefficient or took on too many jobs that they cannot handle; then this is simply not a good enough reason.

If your site supervisor has too many homes to visit in a single week, then he / she is so stretched then something is going to go wrong and delayed somewhere.

While delays do cost builder money but it’s costing you money as well.  It’s important to understand delays and ways to motivate the builder to have your home finished on time.

One lever you can use is Liquidated Damages.  A Liquidated Damage is the amount of money that the builder will pay you if they go over the agreed build time.

Mistake #5:  Hidden Costs

This again comes back to you doing your due diligence and making sure that you select the right builder for your home.

The last thing you want to hear is your site supervisor calling to tell you:  “Hey Bob, mate your building is going great.

We have put the slab down, we have had to massage your site a bit as we had a bit of rain and because of how your site is.

I wanted to give you a better finish so I went ahead and built some drop edge beams which may cost you some extra few dollars but trust me, this is the best outcome.

Now we don’t usually charge you upfront for this because we want to get to your site first and make sure we know exactly what’s needed so we can charge the exact cost.

We don’t want to over-allow and over-charge you in the beginning so we wait until we are here at your site.”

This is the biggest load of s*** I continue to hear in our industry.   But by then, it’s too late!!!  What are you going to do?  If you refuse to pay, they will just stop the job.

Then you are really paying for a lot more than just drop edge beams.

Hence why it’s super important that you pick the right builder who provides you with a fixed price.

Mistake #6:  Blind Review-Trust

A lot of builders may get a few genuinely bad reviews because they are not doing the right thing.  So in a desperate act, they get as many of their happy clients from years ago to write positive reviews.

Positive and Negative reviews happen over a period of time.  They don’t happen over night or within weeks apart, so it’s important to look into any patterns and don’t be afraid to question anything that you think is weird.

Having said that, having a 4.5+ / 5 star review in their productreview.com.au profile would be the minimum acceptable rating for a builder that I would entrust my home to.  Now this is not the only factor of course however it would be in my qualifying criteria.

Here are some questions to help you analyze their reviews:

  1. what’s the general pattern for their positive / negative reviews?
  2. what’s the date difference between their positive / negative reviews?
  3. how long ago have the people built with the builder who have put recent positive reviews?
  4. are the reviews praising a couple of names consistently?  If so, what about the rest of the team?
  5. if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck – it’s probably a duck.  Similarly, if their reviews look “funny”, then they probably are!

Finally

It is important to understand that these are meant to

  1. raise your awareness of what can happen to you and has already happened to many others and
  2. use this as part of your filters to eliminate some builders that you may be considering.

Like any major decision, having a decision making process is super critical to building your brand new home or investment.

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