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Comparing home builders can be a very confusing and stressful exercise. There are literally thousands of home builders in Australia and comparing them on an apple to apple comparison is one of the hardest tasks you can ever take on…
How do you even compare home builders who offer different designs, different inclusions and different pricing points? How do you know which home builder is most suitable for you and your home building project?
In this blog, I will give you a few pointers to help you compare home builders or at the very least; eliminate the home builders that may not suit you and your home building project.
The first and most important step in selecting the right builder is to make sure that you have a “comparing system” that works. Here are the 6 steps that you may consider for your home builder selection process:
1) Build Type
It is imperative to understand the type of home project that you are about to build. The type of build will determine the type of builder that you will select for building your home.
Below are some of the build types:
- complete custom family home
- standard project family home
- custom investment home
- standard investment home
- dual occupancy – house & granny OR duplex
- semi-detached terraces
2) Finish Type
The next step is to identify the kind of finish you are after. This will involve you visiting display homes, show rooms, etc… to get ideas about the kind of finish that you want for your family home or investment project.
Understanding this step of the process is critical and will keep you from over-spending / under-spending or choosing the wrong home builder for the job.
3) Builder Type
This step is about understanding the different types of home builders in the marketplace. Your lack of understanding will be detrimental to your home, your budget and the finish quality you will end up with.
It is important to understand that the type of builder you choose for your project will determine the type of finish you will finally receive.
Here is a good blog that will help you understand the different types of builders.
4) Obtain Quotes
The next logical step is to shortlist your preferred builders to a maximum of 5. This is just a recommendation of course and it’s completely up to you of course.
Having said that, it’s important to understand that quotes are just that – quotes. They are estimates and they are NOT the final price. It’s really really really important to understand the differences between a quote and a fixed price tender.
Obtaining quotes is an important step in your selection process as it will give you an idea about costs, how different builders account for associated costings and will play a critical role in your learning journey.
BUT do not make the mistake and select a builder based on their quote alone. I know of so many builders that have quote so cheap that you seem crazy to turn them down.
However, given that quotes are just guesses, then I can guess any number I want to lure you in to buy with me. Once you are locked in, then the variations and hidden costs will quickly follow.
5) Obtain Fixed Price Tenders
Going through the quoting process will help you shortlist builders to a maximum of 2. Again this is just an opinion and it’s completely your call.
I would recommend that you pay 2 builders to obtain a fixed price tender including reports, surveys, etc… Having a proper tender or proposal will greatly help you in your comparison exercise.
The key here is to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. To do this effectively, consider reading these two articles: the 3 Golden Rules to Comparing Builders and the 3 Stages to comparing builders.
Finally, once you have done your due diligence; it’s time to engage the right builder for your home project.
A critical part of your process is the know-how. It’s ok to know the WHAT, however the trick is in the HOW. The 3P’s is part of the puzzle and will give you an insight of how to compare and select the right home builder for your home build.
What you are looking for here are essentially two things: subject experts and connectors.
- are they a subject matter expert?
- do they specialize in the type of build that you want?
- how’s their communication?
- do they walk the extra mile to help you?
- are they capable to connect you to the right information?
- have they explained all the complexities that come with building your home?
- do they support you in your learning journey?
The two main things you want to look for in a builder are: transparency and fixed pricing.
- do you understand the entire process upfront?
- have they told you the costs attached, if any, with each step?
- what’s involved with each step?
- how long will take to get from point A to point B?
- do they provide fixed pricing?
- if some costs cannot be fixed, are they transparent with their costings?
Product is super critical, specially when it comes to design and inclusions.
- do they have the design that you want?
- are they capable of designing the home you want?
- are you happy with their level of inclusions?
- what about their level and qualify of finishes?
- do they have the flexibility to give you the level of inclusions that you are after?
It is super important that you create your own process around how you are going to be selecting the right builder for your home building project. The 3 P’s are critical to your selection process and having the answers to the above questions will help you make a far more informed decision.