Whether renovating or rebuilding, creating your family’s dream home calls for very careful planning. From budgeting to future-proof design choices, there’s much to think about.
We caught up with design and style-led builder, Hall & Hart Homes, to find out exactly what to consider when planning your forever home.
Where do you start when planning a new home?
Talk to your builder about what is achievable on your block. Many people start designing their house without realising the limitations and council conditions that may apply to their site.
This can include flood zone impacts, bushfire limitations, and/or setbacks from other structures. You can waste significant time and energy without having all the facts about the block ascertained prior to starting.
You can also benefit from talking to family and friends who have built previously and asking them about their own experiences. For initial ideas, you can also walk through HomeWorld and other display villages to start picturing what your dream home could be.
What should people include in their building goals?
Make sure you are clear on budget and how you will use your home both now and in the future. Will there be elderly parents to consider? How many separate areas will you need as the kids continue to grow? How will rooms and spaces need to evolve? What are must-haves and nice-to-haves?
What are the benefits of rebuilding over renovating?
Whether you are considering staying in your beloved neighbourhood or redeveloping an old house somewhere else, a knockdown and rebuild will allow you the freedom to create a home that’s perfect for you. It may also be significantly cheaper than renovating.
When renovating, you are limited to the foundations of what already exists. These foundations can be restricting in creating a design that works for your family. Rebuilding enables you to create your personalised home, to suit not only your land, but your family and lifestyle too.
Hall & Hart Homes offers clients two unique custom design processes where they can customise our portfolio of designs to suit their lifestyle.
Alternatively, if a client is looking for a complete custom home, Hall & Hart Homes can engage with one of Australia’s leading architects where the client can create their own design. Driven by customised design and quality finishes, this Sydney-based builder ensures every house beautifully reflects its owners.
Where can you source design inspiration from?
You will find some builders have a dedicated page based on homes they have completed. This is great as you get a true indication of how and what the builder can do for you.
How do people source the right professionals?
You can look for reviews on websites and online building forums. There you can engage with people who have built with builders before and get feedback on the process. If you are doing a Knock Down and Rebuild make sure the builder is experienced in this type of specialised building and permitting.
How early on should you start talking about furniture?
Furniture placement should be an integral part of the design process of your home and addressed quite early in the process. You may have a large piece of artwork that needs to be accommodated for, or perhaps you have a hobby which requires large items to be stored.
Household items such as TV placement and the orientation of lounges and fridges need to be considered in the design. There is nothing worse than moving in and finding there is no where to hang the TV relative to the lounge. It is also very important to locate furniture so you can position power points and lighting correctly. You want to ensure everything fits well before you move in!
How do you know if a builder is reputable?
A good builder will listen to your needs and provide realistic cost estimates within the early stages. The builder will also conduct a detailed review of the site, as conditions such as the slope will make a significant impact to the cost of build.
As a minimum, the builder should do a contour survey to understand the slope on the block and a geotechnical report to determine if there is any rock likely to be encountered during construction before providing firm prices. Further a thorough review of the council conditions is critical to understand all compliance issues on your block.
Be wary of costs that look too low or a contact that has a lot of provisional quotes for site costs, such as sewer or storm water, as these can increase significantly during the building process if they are not fixed before contracts are signed.
Inspect the inclusions that the builder provides as standard as this will alter the price dramatically, a cheap price typically means a cheaper standard of build.
A strong relationship between builder and client is fundamental to success. You need to be as committed to your build as your builder is and promote open, honest communication. Your builder may tell you something you might not want to hear and a great builder will help you find a solution.
Remember: a good builder has a strong reputation, knowledge and experience.
What are the biggest budgeting mistakes people make?
Buying a site that will have significant restrictions due to council conditions or significant site costs and not being told by the builder until you are significantly into the building design.
Making sure that you leave enough in the budget to achieve the finishes that you want, there is little point in building the largest house you can afford if it is finished poorly.
Landscaping is also more expensive than most people expect – get some ideas from a local landscaper before you start as to what the costs are likely to be.
What tips do you have for creating the perfect outdoor area?
Orientation of the house is critical to optimise views and bring the outdoors in. Determine the functionality of your outdoor space and consider things such as lighting, ceiling fans, heaters, speakers and cooking facilities.
What are your best tips for budgeting?
Start with the end in mind. Make sure you have a good split between the house size, façade, internal finishes and landscaping.
People make the mistake in building the largest house they can afford and then realise they don’t need the extra space. Better to build a house that’s a little smaller but with a superior internal and external finish.
What are some clever ways you can save when building a home?
Most people dramatically underestimate the significant cost impact the site conditions will have on the overall cost of building.
A sloping block will cost more to build on and also landscape. If the block slopes to the rear then stormwater costs can also be very significant. The best idea is to work with your builder to understand the cost implications of the block before you purchase it.
What should you prioritise: style or functionality?
Good design means not necessarily having to make an either-or decision, so work in parallel with a recognised designer and builder who can assist you to ideally achieve both.
How important is it to review the property market when renovating or rebuilding?
The family home is most people’s largest asset so you always need to keep the local market conditions at the back of your mind. Overcapitalising the build for your area is something that you should be aware of.
How important is it to know your rights?
Building a home is the largest investment many people will make so it’s very important to work with reputable builders and know your rights and also obligations under the contract.
Make sure you are not entering into a binding contract too early in the process. There should have been a significant amount of engineering and investigation of the site prior to entering into a contract that you cannot exit without large penalties.
A builder that tries to get you to pay large sums upfront is also a warning sign so be careful. Make sure you check out blog sites or reviews of the builder before embarking on what is a very big decision.
Brought to you by Hall & Hart Homes