Things to consider before building a home

Keen to see that home you always wanted to build start to take shape? There’s a lot to work out before those first bricks are laid, but having a firm plan of attack will help set you up for success.

From budgeting your costs to picking the right builder, here’s what to consider before building your home.

1. Location

You could choose a block in an established suburb or a newly developed area, or even opt for a combined house and land package offered by developers.

If you’re choosing a new area, check out the council website to see if there are any plans for commercial development (such as shopping centres) which may boost your property value down the track.

2. Type of home

Think carefully about the number and types of rooms you’ll need, and what you could use extra rooms for in the future. An extra bedroom could be useful as a study.

Also make sure that the features you choose to build into your house will suit your lifestyle and add value to your home. For example, while you might not have children now, including a bath tub in one of your bathrooms might save you the hassle of adding one in later, or improve your potential resale value if selling to a family with young children.

On the other hand, if you’re not planning to live in the home you’re building over the long-term, you might want to save luxury features like that outdoor kitchen, expensive appliance or theatre room for the home you want to live in forever.

3. The costs and your budget

Remember, it’s not just the home itself that you’ll need to factor into your budget. You might have demolition and council fees to pay, and rent for somewhere to live while you build. Your builder can normally give you an idea of what it will cost to finish your home, and make sure you allow some money in your budget for unexpected costs discovered in the initial site preparation or for issues not covered in your building contract. You should also budget for things like landscaping, appliances, window fittings and furniture.

To save money, you might like to do some of the work yourself, like painting or putting down floor coverings.

To help you work out how much you could afford, try our borrowing calculator. Having an idea of how much you could borrow and having the loan amount pre-approved can help when putting in offers, saving you time and worry. Our Home Finance Managers could help you get pre-approved for your construction loan.

4. Rules and regulations

Some local councils and government authorities have certain requirements or regulations that may impact your home design and landscaping choices. Being aware of the rules and making sure you abide by council regulations could save you money and hassles later.

5. Picking the right builder

Your choice of builder has a huge impact on your overall building experience, so it’s important to do your research. Visit a range of display homes and chat to a few different builders to ensure you’re getting value for money. Consider each builder’s quality of work, service and reputation, and make sure they’re licensed and accredited. To help you decide, it’s a good idea to talk to the Master Builders’ Association.

6. The fine print

Before you finalise and sign your building contracts, always read the fine print. If you’re not sure about something, ask your builder to clarify, or seek independent professional advice on what it means before you sign. You may be charged if you need to make changes during your build, so it’s best to be certain before you sign.

Monitoring the build

Building your home is a major investment, so once the construction process has begun, it’s important to monitor the building at every stage. At Bankwest, we’ll do the same, making sure that the building work is completed to match what you’re paying for. We do this through what’s called a construction loan. With this type of loan, funds are released in stages as the building work progresses, following periodic valuations.

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Things you should know 

The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.