Home building today: where to start

A majority of newly constructed buildings in Australia are residential. Given the rate that new homes are currently being built, the choices in everything from fixtures and fittings, to site preparation and landscaping may seem daunting. Read below for an overview for some the things to consider before you draw up plans in order to save you money and result in a house that best suits your lifestyle.

The thermal performance of your home will not only make it more liveable in all temperatures

One of the best things you can do is to invest in a design that is energy efficient and draws upon passive solar design principles. In fact, today’s new homes are required by law to be of a certain minimum standard, this is a six star standard. The thermal performance of your home will not only make it more liveable in all temperatures, but reduces the need for artificial and costly heating and cooling. Features that help you achieve this may include use of natural light, specifically placed windows to promote airflow, ventilation systems, and awnings. For enhanced performance you may also consider carbon neutral housing or solar and battery systems that allow you to virtually live off the grid.

Although the single largest cost that you’ll encounter is the price of land, the second biggest factor, quality, you will ultimately have more control over. Firstly, unless your pockets are deep, you’ll want to factor into your build budget some for run over costs and where these extra funds will come from. Although a larger house will generally cost more due to labour and materials, don’t assume that a smaller build will be easier or cheaper. A tricky, small site with limited access or other restrictions may also become quite expensive to build, despite you factoring in an average price per square metre. Therefore, get someone qualified to conduct a realistic site inspection before beginning to draw up the plans.

At the other end of your planning, don’t forget to factor in costs such as fencing and gates, landscaping, council costs and additional cabling if you desire high speed internet in an older neighbourhood. A good way to manage costs should they start to blow out of proportion is to complete a list prior to construction starting that outlines your needs versus wants. In a smooth build, you might be able to tick everything off the list, but should you encounter issues and extra costs, you’ll already know what you can cut back on to get the essentials addressed. This can be a tough exercise, but remember you can always add in additional things later such as pools or higher end flooring.

The best home builders will already have an established network of other tradespeople to draw upon, should you not have them lined up. For this reason, some people will opt to build through larger companies or select a house and land package that comes with supplier partnerships. House and land is particularly useful for those who are budget conscious as fixed priced contracts are frequently offered.

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