Building a single storey Clarendon home
This post is intended for all first time builders (like we were) who are thinking of building through a major project builder. This is what I experienced/learned throughout the proces. I have endevoured to be as accurate as I can.
We had absolutely no clue in what is involved in building a house this time last year. Since the land we bought was unregistered, I will start there…..
Once land is zoned and released for development by the Govt, it has to be registered before anything can be built on it. In NSW it is the LPI office where you can find out the status of a land. For land to be registered, major civil works have to be done, which include – water, sewarage, utilities (gas/electricity/phone), roads, street names/signs. This is done by the developer. Some developers, like Landcom, may also do some general levelling of land by using cut and fill. Other (private developers) leave it for individual owners. Before you buy the land, slope is one thing that will surely affect the price of construction. Also, some areas may be flood-prone which will then affect the price of your home insurance. On the contrary, some areas may be in a bush-fire zone. There are different Bushfire Attack Levels. Again, higher the BAL, higher the construction cost (of house to comply with that BAL.)
Anyway, coming back on topic of land registerations, sometimes it may take months or even years for land to be registered. You can check past record of the developer on how punctual they have been in past. If you are in a hurry to build, you may want to look at land which is already registered. but bear in mind you will likely pay more for registered land, (but not much).
Once land is registered and settlement is done, you now own the land.
Once land is registered your builder will need to get some surveys done on your block of land to determine the ‘site costs’ These surveys may include the countour survey (this tells you the slope of land) & geotechnical survey (this tells you the type of fill/soil and hence the type of slab)
Looking for a home design
You may want to go to different builders and have a look at their display homes. Decide what you want to build – single or double. Double storey of course costs more and longer to build but not that much more. Its a lifestyle choice.
OK, VERY IMPORTANT: When looking at a display home, do not assume you will automatically get what you see. Most inclusions are an upgrade. Its in the builders benefit if they present you a beautiful house to look at, even though you get a plain Jane for their ‘base house price’. You can then add the inclusions/extras on top of the base house price. As an example, a lot of builders do not include flooring in base house price. You have to pay extra. Who would have guessed you need a carpet/timber floor on top of the concrete slab ?
Even some design modifications like coffered ceilings, bulkheads may be extra.
Ceiling height is another pet money spinner for builders. Included in base price is 2450mm ceiling height for ground level. Most people upgrade it to 2600mm, and some even to 2700mm. This has to be again paid on top of base house price.
Some other things which we assumed were included, but weren’t:
Eaves – yes, we were shocked. Apparently the base house price doesn’t include any eaves. Eaves are included in the facade. So if you choose and pay for a facade over and above the standard included, you will get eaves (450mm in our case)
Driveway – most builders do not do driveway.
Concrete pathway around house – Most houses I have seen have a concrete pathway aropund the house perimeter. You don’t want to be steppping out of the door and straight onto grass !
Window coverings – usually not included
Airconditioning, alarm, turf, landscaping etc
Builders know that most people like to have some amount of luxury in their new home. So they bundle together some upgrades and charge a set price for them. The specials may vary from time to time.
For eg, with Clarendon we paid for 2 packages. One was the Saphhire inclusions, which is their mid range luxury package.
Then on top, we also got the ‘People’s Choce’ promotion. Its also known as ‘Summer of free’ promotion during summer months. It includes items like Ducted Airconditioning, 2600mm ceiling height, alarm system, dishwasher/microwave, upgraded insulation, 40mm stone benchtop, inline water filter, automatic garage door opener – all for $5450.
Work in progress ……..