What to consider when choosing a build for your new home.

What did your family and friends say when you told them you were thinking of building? No doubt there were those who said you were mad and tried to warn you off the idea with horror stories. But, hopefully, there were just as many who were encouraging and loved the experience of building their own home.

Of course, the building company you choose to bring your dream to reality will probably have the biggest impact on how things turn out.

As you start researching home builders you’ll see there are basically three different types of builder:

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The Volume
Home Builders:

These are the big companies like Carlisle Homes, Henley Homes, Boutique Homes, the Simonds Group, Metricon, Burbank, Porter Davis and many others. You’ve probably seen their TV ads during those home renovation shows. These companies are mostly associated with house and land packages in the new suburbs where they’ll often have display homes you can visit. As the name suggests, they have a high volume of building projects on the go at any one time. Their pricing is competitive because replicating the same designs over and over is efficient and economical plus they buy building materials, fittings, lighting and appliances in bulk. Of course, this means that any changes you want to make to the house will be very limited or end up costing you a lot more than the original price quoted. 

The Franchised
Home Builders:

These are companies like Hotondo Homes, Stroud Homes, Harrington Homes and GJ Gardner. These companies are made up of small builders who buy the franchise to operate under that brand name in a particular area. So the head office acts more like a marketing company that advertises heavily to attract customers for the franchisees. When you make an enquiry, your details will be directed to the builder who holds the franchise in your area. All builders have access to the same house plans, materials, fittings etc. but ultimately each builder operates independently. If you read customer reviews for franchise builders you’ll see that the experience varies from area to area and depends entirely on the quality and integrity of the franchisee in your area. 

The Custom
Home Builders:

Most custom builders are independently owned and operated, usually by families or partnerships. As they build on the client’s land, they will usually have a collection of exclusive house designs which they can modify and customise to suit the size, shape and location of the block as well as the client’s needs, preferences and budget. They can also build to the client’s own architectural plans. On the whole, a custom builder will always be able to offer a greater degree of modifications and choices than a volume or franchise builder.

Custom builders can vary in size from small boutique operators who only build a few houses a year, to those building up to 50 houses or more. Because they don’t have the large advertising budgets of the volume or franchise builders, they tend to rely on word-of-mouth and referrals for business, so customer satisfaction is crucial for the success of their business.

Some Key things to
look for when choosing a builder:

1

Choose an established operator with a proven track record who is a member of one of the peak bodies, i.e., HIA, Master Builders.

2

Make sure your builder knows the area you want to build in really well. If he lives in the area, even better. Having experience with local councils and building regulations can save a lot of time and avoid delays.

3

Your builder should have an outstanding reputation with glowing reviews from past and current customers. Look for evidence that the builder will listen to you and take the time to understand your needs and your vision for the home you’re building.

4

When reading reviews, especially look for instances where something needed to be fixed or rectified and whether the builder took responsibility and attended to it in a timely and satisfactory manner.

5

Ask your builder what process they have in place to ensure you will be kept informed of how your build is progressing.