Building a new home really is the Australian dream but the process of achieving the dream can actually be incredibly daunting. The last thing that you want is to forget something along the way so we’ve put together this checklist to ensure that the building process goes smoothly, efficiently and without any disasters. It can be helpful to take this checklist with you when talking to builders, but a good builder will go over all of this and more with you without you even having to ask.
Check What You Can Afford
- Make sure that you have budgeted for everything involved with your new home build, including things such as the price of the land, what the land is worth, legal fees, taxes, site works costs, the costs of building, and agent’s fees.
- Do you qualify for finance?
- Are you eligible for any government assistance programs (such as the First Home Owner’s Grant)?
- Are you happy with the finance/loan that you have? Can you service the loan even if the interest rates rise in the future?
- Always remember to include a buffer in your budget to save you financial pain down the track!
Choosing Land for Your New Home Build
- Is the new block of land suitably located for your family? Take into account proximity to shops, transport, schools, recreational facilities, medical care and so forth.
- Does the block of land have any restrictive covenants, easements, encumbrances or other things which may cause delays or issues with building?
- Does your block have a strata title that might affect how you can build?
- What are the rates cost?
- Are all of the main utilities available to your new block of land?
- Is the land large enough for your needs?
- Does it face in the correct direction to allow you to build your home as you want? Keep in mind any frontages you need, the direction of the sun, and so forth.
Checking the Plans for the New Home Build
- Do you understand the plans that you have been given? Ask your builder to explain anything you are unsure of.
- Have any extras or additional features been included in the plan and properly drawn out and illustrated?
- Make sure the materials that you want are included in the plans.
- Make sure that all power points, TV fitting, phone points, and the like are exactly where you need them.
- How much have the changes to the original plans cost you and can you afford this?
Look Over the Contract
- Ensure that the contract used is one that is recognised by the building industry.
- How are payments structured in the contract? Will progress payments need to be made and if so, if that ok by you and your bank?
- What time period is the building scheduled to run for (how long should construction take)?
- What rights do you and the builder have should building run over schedule?
- What rights do you have if you are not happy with something the builder has done?
- If you are providing your own fittings or fixtures, will the builder’s insurance cover this?
- Is the contract fully completed? If not, do not sign.
- What deposit is required?
- Has the builder given you a Home Indemnity Insurance certificate?
- Don’t sign anything until you have looked over it properly and are confident that you understand everything! There is no cooling off period.
- Make sure that you have everything that you need in writing.
- Keep copies of everything for yourself.
The New Home Build Construction
- Make sure you have copies of your builder’s insurance certificates.
- Provide proof of your land ownership to the builder.
- Ensure that you have the full name and contact details of someone from your builder’s company and use them as your liaison as much as possible.
- Ensure that all development and finance approvals have been received.
- Visit the site regularly during the building stage to check on things.
- Arrange to have independent inspections done if you are not confident in doing inspections yourself.
- Take photographs at regular stages during the building process.
- Keep notes of all interactions between you and the builder.
- Your builder should notify you when the home has reached practical completion.
Moving In To Your Brand New Home
- Arrange connection of gas, water, electricity, telephone and internet.
- Arrange for home and contents insurance to cover your brand new home.
- Check the workmanship on every element of the home – check doors, drawers, cabinets, floors etc.
- If there is anything you are unhappy with, notify the builder straight away. Remember that defects must be reported within 120 days.
- Notify the relevant authorities of your move to your new home – the post office, banks, Medicare, employer, electoral office, schools, and so on.