How to actually find a builder

(when you don’t have mates in the industry)
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It seems so easy. Ask around, whittle down your shortlist and then hire the builder you want to work with the most. BUT… as Australia’s record-breaking building boom continues, good trades people are in hot demand (we’ve talked to builders who can’t even schedule a meeting till 2020). Want to promote your house up the pecking order? Builder Frank Tarulli of Thomas Archer Homes shares his trade secrets.

How would you go about finding a builder for a small project – such as building a deck?

Reach out to your Facebook community. Chances are someone will know someone who can help. If all else fails, try googling the subject along with your local area. Don’t just look at the sponsored ads as they might not be local to you, keep scrolling down and look for reputable tradespeople with good reviews. 

What about a small-to-medium scale renovation?

Word of mouth is key. Ask people you know if they know of anyone that has used a great builder. Throw it out to your workplace and friendship circles. It’s always good to chat to someone who comes highly recommended. If this doesn’t bring up any options, again try Google. Look for good reviews and spend time looking through websites. A good builder will have a gallery of recently completed projects. Ask them if you can view any of these projects in person so you can see the workmanship first hand. Speak with past clients to get their experiences. Look at the quality of the products they use? Do they belong to a Building Association?

And a dream house project?

Using a builder who is local to your area is a big advantage as they will never be far away if any problems arise. Take notice of the banners that builders display on work sites in your area. If you continually notice the same site banner you will know you are dealing with a local builder who is continually getting work – a good thing! Check out the builders you like on social media. From there, speak to a handful of your top options, getting a feel for house design, inclusions and the ease of the relationship. Remember you are about to spend at least the next 12 to 18months with these people.

What is your advice for talking money?

Ask the builder for their build cost per square and what that includes. From there, you can work out their average build price and decide if they will fall within your budget – or if your budget is even achievable. Remember to plan to have a buffer in place for extras and upgrades along the way.

Any tricks for enticing an in-demand builder to your project?

If you’re organised and good at making decisions and if your site is clear and ready, you will be giving yourself the best opportunity to move up the cue.

Renovators tip: Be sure to look at online mortgage calculators like this one from Qudos Bank. They are a really simple tool when trying to figure out financing.

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