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Steps to building a new home

Building a home gives you the freedom to enjoy a brand new property that has been designed to suit your lifestyle. However, it’s a big project that needs to be carefully managed at every stage.

These steps will help you understand the process of building a new home, so you can enjoy this exciting time.

There are so many options for building your home, from house and land packages and project homes to custom-built properties or DIY kit homes. Each has its own benefits, disadvantages and costs, so it’s important to work out where you want to build, what you can afford and which option best suits your needs.

If you’re not rebuilding on your existing block, make sure your building design is compatible with the land you want to buy. This can have a significant impact on building costs, so it’s a good idea to hire an expert to inspect the site before you commit to buying the land or the building design.

It’s important to spend time finding the right builder for your project. Get recommendations from friends, call the Master Builders’ Association and invite various licenced builders to quote on your new home. They should provide detailed plans and outline accurate costings for each aspect of your home.

Make sure the contract they provide covers everything and agree to a timeline for completion. Also get the preparation of plans agreement, home indemnity insurance, building contract and contract variations agreement checked out by a solicitor or conveyancer before you sign.

Staying on top of your finances is one of the most important factors in the successful construction of your home. Work out how much it’s likely to cost and make sure you have your home loan in place before you begin.

Find out how much deposit you’ll need to pay and get your solicitor or conveyancer to check your contract and see how progress payments will be determined. For example, you may be able to stipulate that inspections are required to ensure progress is of the required standard, before payment is made. If you prefer to make all payments after the home is built, you can ask for a ‘price on completion’ when requesting a quote.

Before you apply for a home loan, make sure you consider additional costs such as Stamp Duty, legal fees and costs associated with your loan.

Once you’ve agreed to the costs, review the contract carefully with your solicitor or conveyancer. Many common building pitfalls are due to errors in the contract, so make sure you feel confident in signing the documents as making changes down the track can be costly.

You should also check the laws and council requirements in your local area to see if your contract complies with these standards, and make sure your builder is responsible for securing building licences and permits from the relevant authorities.

You may like to get insurance before construction begins, to protect your land, the new property and the safety of people visiting the site.

The first stage of construction is usually a pre-start meeting with the builder to choose the final fittings and materials for your home. It’s important to stay involved at every stage of construction, so you can choose the design elements and make sure it stays on time and on budget.

You may like to keep a diary to record important details of the project in writing, such as discussions with the builder, updates on progress, weather, copies of letters and notices as well as photos of the site throughout the project.

If you don’t feel confident managing the contractor or tradespeople building your home, you can hire an independent building consultant to monitor the construction on your behalf.

Around a week after practical completion of the house, you should be ready to collect the keys, make any final payments and move in. You should receive a copy of all relevant warranties and certificates as per your contract. Make sure you have the builder’s written authority that the building is completed and safe to move in.

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