So you have decided to build a family home and you are not sure where to start?!   There are generally many starting points if you are about to embark on your home building journey.

Whether it being a Knock-Down-Rebuild or a Vacant Block, it is important to understand that there is no one or right starting point.

SO let’s look at the potential “points of entry” if you like into your home building journey.

Home Building Journey

Your home building journey is your entire time since you started thinking about building a home to the point where you actually move in.  In this blog, we are going to talk about the initial starting points.

Your home building journey comprises of 3 phases:

Phase 1 – Starting Points

This is going to be the focus of this blog, which we will discuss below.

Phase 2 – Home Building Process

This is the phase where you engage a builder for your project.  For more information on this, please visit my blog segment on The Build Process.

Phase 3 – Move In

Once you move in, there will be a whole lot of things that you may still have to do from finishing your landscape, blinds, pool, buying furniture or whatever else you will need to do.

Starting Points

There is a number of potential points where you can start your home building journey.  It is important to note that there is no right or wrong starting point.  It is more about what will work best for you and your situation.

KDR (Knock-Down-Rebuild)

You can start off your journey through demolishing your current home (investment or family home) and build a brand new home on it.  There are pros and cons with this approach of course like the other approaches.

Pros

  • you can live in the same area that you love
  • your kids can go to the same school
  • you get to keep your neighbors
  • least path of resistance or effort amongst all the potential starting points

Cons

  • you get to live in an older suburb vs. a brand new estate
  • you are limited to designs that fit your block of land
  • you may have council imposed restrictions on how you design your home
  • it may cost more to build in built-up areas vs. new estates / suburbs

The key to KDR is finding the right builder who is geared towards building in existing suburbs.  Not every build has the ability nor the knowledge / expertise to build in KDR areas.

Vacant Block

Another starting place is purchasing a vacant block of land.  Like all the other approaches, this one also has its pros and cons.

Pros

  • choose where you want to live
  • live in a brand new suburb / estate
  • get a second chance at making friends and neighbors 🙂
  • pick the block that will best fit your requirements

Cons

  • you don’t really know the neighborhood you are purchasing into if it’s a very brand new area
  • pay a little more to purchase the land as demand may be high
  • you are paying full retail market price unless the developer is feeling generous -_-
  • put up with developer guidelines

Much like any other starting point, the key is to select the right builder that knows and understands the estate / suburb you are purchasing.  If the builder has not built in your selected estate or suburb, there may be elements that they are not aware of which may cost you down the line.

Home Design

A lot of people that I meet start with the home design.  They create a home that they want to live in and then they find a block of land that suits that home design, in the location they want to live in.

I know that I said that there is no right or wrong starting point, but if I was to choose a starting or entry point into my home building journey, it would be starting with the home design that I want to live in.

For investment purposes of course, it is a little different.  My decision making process should be around returns, building for the local market, etc… However if I am building my family home, it is a completely different thinking process.

The More Difficult Path

There are easy ways to do things and then there are less easy ways to do the same things… Below is probably not the easiest of ways to do things when it comes to your home building journey:

  • visit as many display homes as you can
  • research a lot of designs
  • try and get some quotes for comparison basis
  • look at some inclusions with those builders
  • consider million dollar promotions and giveaways
  • engage an architect before engaging a builder
  • make a decision all on your own
  • hope you make the right decision and pick the right builder

The easy way however is simple!  Ask yourself one very simple question:  what am I buying? 

When you are looking at building a home, you are actually buying a builder.  Anyone can design a home that you want, but not everyone can be your honest partner that will truly support you throughout your whole journey.

The above process should not be just about your design home, it should also be about selecting the right builder.  Most people use the abovementioned process to look for the design or block then best deal if not the cheapest deal available to them.

Most people miss the point that they are also looking for the right builder.  So they don’t spend enough time studying the builder, their processes and how they go about their business.

Would you get into business with someone you don’t know?  Even if they have the product you want or they are smartest people on the planet?

People do business with people they like & trust.  AND yet it astonishes me how often home owners miss this entire step of understanding and selecting the right builder for their home project.

Know your Builder

It is imperative that you find out as much as you can about your home builder.  The first point of contact is their salesperson or consultant, so some questions to consider asking yourself include but not limited to the following:

  • has the consultant come out and met with you for a coffee at your own convenient time?
  • if the builder has a display home; has the consultant stood up and greeted you when you walked into his / her display?
    • You might think this is not important, but you are about to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, the least he / she can do is stand up and welcome you to his / her home.
  • did the consultant stay back and contacted you after hours which is more convenient for you (after you finish work)?
  • has the consultant tried to engage you he / she simply gave you some brochures and told you to call him / her if you have some questions?
  • does the consultant follow you up consistently?

A Note

Your starting point will set the entire tone of your home building journey.  So choose wisely and choose what’s right for you, your circumstance and most importantly what’s best to help achieve your goals.

It would great to remember that (regardless of the entry points you choose to start your home building journey with) finding the right builder to build your home should be as important if not more important than picking your home design or your location.

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