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Fisher1

Building a house

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Hi all

 

we are planning to move to NSW from the UK on a parents visa next year, and had hoped to buy within two hours travel of Sydney.

 

However, prices in outlying towns (we were very keen on Kiama for example) seem to be rising very quickly. We are reluctantly considering the possibility of having a house built, as this might not be any cheaper but we would at least be able to get exactly what we want (???) in terms of insulation and fittings.

 

We are reluctant because we would need to rent while the house was being built and because we've heard many horror stories about building in Europe.

 

We'd be grateful for any advice or information about building in Australia.

 

thanks in advance.


103 visa application lodged February 2013. 143 visa application submitted January 2016. Police checks and form 80 submitted February 29th 2016. Visa granted April 4th 2016.

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I must admit I'm surprised the prices houses are going for.

They still seem to be going up.

 

I don't really think it would save you money as the high value is the land value in whatever suburb it is.

The actual building value is probably less of a factor.

 

There will be a lot of extra costs too like establish ing a new garden etc.

But it would be nice assuming you get the result you want at the end of it all.

 

I haven't built myself and do worry about some of the stories you here about dodgy builders but they should be an exception.


Buy a man eat fish. The Day, Teach Man, to lifetime.      - Joe Biden.

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We are in the process of building and whilst our house is big (433 sqm) - we aren't having all the 'bells and whistles' in terms of all the extras. With demolition (we have asbestos), we are looking at about $550,000 on the build itself excluding landscaping. From our research, we have found that every builder - including the very expensive custom home builders - seem to have negative reviews as well as positive.

We are knocking down our current house and will be renting so hopefully we wont have any issues. However, we have been told by others that have built, to add 3 months onto any estimated construction timeframe given.

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We built in WA and were overall very happy with the result.

 

We shopped around builders - there are big show home sites all over with each house belonging to a different builder and it is possible to quickly tell the good from the bad and lots of reviews on line.

 

It does mean you rent while building, but financially it isn't too bad as the mortgage is paid to the builder in stages, so, you don't have a full mortgage repayment until the end. Or, if you are funding it yourself, you don't pay for most until the end when you get the keys.

 

There are additional costs, as mentioned, often gardens have to be established and this can be a very big expense. I don't know what prices are like in NSW, but, when the prices in WA for things like plants and turf were incredible. However, some new suburbs will offer insentives such as x amount for landscaping.

 

Things like fending also need to be budgeted for and can be expensive - we had a covenant in our area that required all boundaries are built in limestone, so party walls in the garden were $10k each.

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thanks for that everyone, all comments are helpful as we really have no idea ...


103 visa application lodged February 2013. 143 visa application submitted January 2016. Police checks and form 80 submitted February 29th 2016. Visa granted April 4th 2016.

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I work with alot of home builders here in QLD and be very aware that procedures are different here to UK.

 

1, Builders. Check and recheck who you are looking to use. There are some very good builders here however some are financially very fragile and will take your money without finishing the project. Some poor builders will con you including on specifications. Some states have licensing although can be out of date.

 

2, What are you buying? Are you buying a project home or architect designed? Project homes are most common and are built at budget. If you change the specification then cost increases very quickly. Buildings are built for the client not sold after built like UK where only some properties are purchased off plan. Check your materials carefully as homes are designed for 50 years only so a lot are constructed from cheap lightweight buildings. I see properties less than 10 years old which are ready for knocking down!

 

3, Personalising your property. You will have a choice from a limited list of selections. Sometimes contracts include Prime Cost sums so you can choose any item within a fixed budget, tiles are the best example of this.

 

4, Contracts. They are terrible here and full of loopholes. Fundamentally beware of the following.

 

The payment is on a schedule and once a stage is reached the money is due immediately regardless of whether you are happy with the quality. UK work is certified based on work completed to standard and you have 28 days to pay so the client always has the advantage.

 

If you delay payment or decisions then YOU are in breach of contract

 

You as the client have no control of activities on site including methods of construction, quality, alternative materials etc. Late completion is almost guaranteed and you are powerless. Liquidated damages do exist and ALWAYS amend to suite your needs as standard here is $50/day. Base the sum on your weekly rent you are paying as damages are to refund your actual loss not a penalty for late completion.

 

You MUST be here in Australua when building. Interstate investors or clients can cause major issues especially when things start to go wrong.

 

Client representative are rarely used however if you are remote from the build then I would highly recommend this.

 

Choose your certifier very carefully, they police the builder and if bought as a builder led package then you will end up with the builders friendly selection, the certifier who is the builders golfing buddy and therefore rarely criticises the builder or his work. Throughout the build certification will be issued ie frame with the certifier checking it is in line with the engineers details, Australian Standards and State Regulations. Certification is given to you only once the project is COMPLETE with form 21 here in QLD. For many clients they are not able to get a form 21 as the builder has neglected to get previous form 15's (for pre fabricated products ie windows) or 16's for on site works. Without form 21 the house remains legally incomplete meaning the bank holds back payment.......remember if you delay payment then YOU are in contractual breach.

 

In conclusion, you are the dumb client who is there only to pay. The builder runs the show, tells you when to pay and will choose external specialist ie certifier. Certifier, usually chosen by builder, should police the work and pick up problems as they are encountered. I strongly believe the certifier should work for the client but not the case. Building warantees are usually provided and are there to pick up any problems as they occur. You get 6.25 years in QLD which is less than 10 years in UK.

 

Best of luck with it all, believe me can be very hard work.

 

S

Edited by srg73

Thames Migration appointed Jun 12 and 189 Visa granted Jan 13:wink:. Landed Sep 14 and roots being quickly established. Brisbane, what an amazing place with incredible opportunity.

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...From our research, we have found that every builder - including the very expensive custom home builders - seem to have negative reviews as well as positive.

 

 

That is because all builders work with subcontractors and not like in the old days doing everything with a own workmanship.

 

The 3 months extra for the estimated construction time is due to councils needing ages to give approvals for the engineering plans of the houses.

 

We have build our house with a builder last year and would probably never do it again as there are more hidden costs to a new build:

 

flooring and carpet not included as only tiles 5000 K extra on top

fencing and gardening was mentioned before,

then you have to consider security doors which are never included but most of Australian houses have these kind of flyscreen security doors 3000 K

the windows are all 'naked' as you need to buy blinds and curtains yourselves 3000 K

you have to find an electrician for pending lights and outdoor lighting as this is not included most times

worst thing: no heating at all (and we do have winter here if you don't want to live in the top end of Australia) and no aircon included (some builder do include aircondition)

 

Fisher1 you really have to read your contract fine prints carefully and look out for the pitfalls!


IELTS 01/2011; TRA 03/2011; SS SA 05/2011; visa 176 lodged 06/2011; visa granted 08/2011; arrived in Adelaide 02/2012; Australian citizen 08/2016

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Thanks for pointing out the pitfalls - plenty to consider before making a decision, I really appreciate your candour.


103 visa application lodged February 2013. 143 visa application submitted January 2016. Police checks and form 80 submitted February 29th 2016. Visa granted April 4th 2016.

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We built two years ago and the biggest recommendation I can give you is to research and educate yourself. I spent at least a year reading the HomeOne forum (which is specific to building and you can get lots of good info there) and we visited a LOT of display homes to suss out the different builders and get a very clear idea of what we did and didn't want before we started talks with one builder in particular. We also engaged an independent building inspector who made sure that the work met the Australian Standards. On the flipside, a lady I know was building at the same time as us and she was unhappy from the day she moved in. Part way through her build I asked her how it was going and she didn't even know the name of the building company let alone what stage they were up to. I was driving past nearly every day and peering in the windows to see what had been done and we got a weekly call from the builder to let us know "X and Y were done this week, Y will be finished by Tuesday and then Z will start on Thursday"

 

We are really happy with what we ended up with - we went with a small franchisee (Hotondo) here in Geelong because we needed a custom design - our block is short and wide as opposed to most modern blocks (and therefore house designs) which are long and narrow. It wasn't any more expensive that getting a bog standard house from the huge project builders and we had a lot of input and felt the builder worked WITH us. We had a reasonable choice of fixtures and fittings and we able to provide some lights and taps ourselves to get exactly what we wanted, as well as vinyl planks. We got to have a couple of meetings on site with the cabinetmaker to discuss the exact kitchen/bathroom/laundry layouts as well as going over the light switches, etc, with the electrician before they were finalised.

 

The main culprits for going over time seem to be the project builders who promise to churn out a house in 14 to 16 weeks (and the workmanship tends to reflect the speed of the build in my opinion). Our contracted build time was 9 months and handover was bang on time. It was a longer build but, for example, we had one excellent brickie working for six to eight weeks as opposed to a team of six who slap the bricks up in less than a week.

 

Yes we had a couple of hiccups along the way but anyone who builds a house and says everything went 100% to plan is lying (or has been lied to by their builder). Thing will go wrong, it is how the builder solves problems that is the important thing. For example, the slab was poured 10 cm short on one 4 m long wall (due to a simple human error of misreading the plan and reading an internal wall's length instead of the external wall). He called us at 8:30 am, less than an hour after the issue was discovered by the framers, to let us know and with a plan and timeline already in place to fix it and offering a meeting on site to show us exactly what was what.

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We are reluctantly considering the possibility of having a house built, as this might not be any cheaper but we would at least be able to get exactly what we want (???) in terms of insulation and fittings.

 

I lecture in owner building (indeed at least one couple from this site have been on a course I lectured on). If you want to get exactly what you want, the only way is to owner-build. Any builder that you pay to do the job will always have their own way of working and will compromise your build to fit in with their normal practices.

 

The big project builders will let you choose from a number of designs, but they won't let you make any major changes beyond cosmetic, and unless you employ an independent inspector which you pay separately from any arrangement with the builder, they will most likely give you a substandard build. An independent inspector I know finds on average 80 faults with every project home build he inspects that the client would not have found themselves. Some of these are structural!

 

A smaller more expensive builder will build to your own design and specifications, however they will have the way they work, and you may not be able to change it. e.g. I did not want to build with a timber frame. Finding any builder that had any experience in anything else was almost impossible.

 

So for 100% getting what you want, and being able to change things along the way, owner-building is the only way to go. But it is not for everyone, and it is rather full-time while you are on the build.


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I'm so grateful for all this advice. It all sounds very daunting and I think when the time comes we will probably, having read this, go with buying a ready built home. But it's worth investigating every option and I will certainly be looking on the homeone forum. Thank you.


103 visa application lodged February 2013. 143 visa application submitted January 2016. Police checks and form 80 submitted February 29th 2016. Visa granted April 4th 2016.

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We are in the process of building and whilst our house is big (433 sqm) - we aren't having all the 'bells and whistles' in terms of all the extras. With demolition (we have asbestos), we are looking at about $550,000 on the build itself excluding landscaping. .

 

That sounds amazingly good value for money. That for a finished house including the demo and asbestos removal of the existing?

 

 

Sent from my HUAWEI VNS-L31 using Tapatalk

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Also wondering, is nobody building themselves? So many tradies on PiO

 

Sent from my HUAWEI VNS-L31 using Tapatalk

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Also wondering, is nobody building themselves? So many tradies on PiO

 

Sent from my HUAWEI VNS-L31 using Tapatalk

 

You MUST be licenced to do this, known as owner builder as mentioned previously and allows you to employ trades to undertake the work under your direction.

 

S


Thames Migration appointed Jun 12 and 189 Visa granted Jan 13:wink:. Landed Sep 14 and roots being quickly established. Brisbane, what an amazing place with incredible opportunity.

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You MUST be licenced to do this, known as owner builder as mentioned previously and allows you to employ trades to undertake the work under your direction.

 

S

Oh sorry, don't mean directing the build, I mean building. Timber, bricks, plumming, the works.

 

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Guest RadiantRed

Well, building a new house has a lot of constraints. You have to consider several things first before doing so. The cost of building a house is relatively high also same as purchasing a house and lot. I suggest that you do the renting first and get familiarize with the place first before finally deciding. By the way, don't worry much about ghost stories, I assume that those are hear says only. Another thing, if you are really decided and you want to build your own house, I'm sure , there are various financing companies who could lend you additional cash especially if you do have a stable job.

Edited by RadiantRed

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I lecture in owner building (indeed at least one couple from this site have been on a course I lectured on). If you want to get exactly what you want, the only way is to owner-build. Any builder that you pay to do the job will always have their own way of working and will compromise your build to fit in with their normal practices.

 

The big project builders will let you choose from a number of designs, but they won't let you make any major changes beyond cosmetic, and unless you employ an independent inspector which you pay separately from any arrangement with the builder, they will most likely give you a substandard build. An independent inspector I know finds on average 80 faults with every project home build he inspects that the client would not have found themselves. Some of these are structural!

 

A smaller more expensive builder will build to your own design and specifications, however they will have the way they work, and you may not be able to change it. e.g. I did not want to build with a timber frame. Finding any builder that had any experience in anything else was almost impossible.

 

So for 100% getting what you want, and being able to change things along the way, owner-building is the only way to go. But it is not for everyone, and it is rather full-time while you are on the build.

 

The thing which seems to confuse folk people say "I am building" when in fact, as you say, most are just having a project builder, and this will be one of their bog standard designs which you can change slightly and usually at some extortionate cost! But as others have said one really needs to do research on project builders, one needs to be really really clear on what you will be getting for your money. Another option is to buy what is termed (in Brisbane anyhow) a "Turn Key" home where literally everything, carpets, tiles, light fittings, landscaping, driveway and paths ect are all done when you get the keys, these homes can also be bought as already completed too (spec homes as called in UK) and these are wysiwyg though still covered under their warranty.

I was an owner builder and was really delighted and proud in what we did, however it was at a cost and time, which some folk will not have at least one of or both! along with plenty of stress & frustration.


Enjoying life in Queensland

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It's very difficult to get a Mortgage as a owner builder only a couple of company's offer this ,you also have to

have around 40% deposit.

just about to start building our home

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Does owner builder mean you don't hire a builder at all ?

 

How is the average joe going to just manage the whole thing on his own if he doesn't know what he is doing ?


Buy a man eat fish. The Day, Teach Man, to lifetime.      - Joe Biden.

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Does owner builder mean you don't hire a builder at all ?

 

How is the average joe going to just manage the whole thing on his own if he doesn't know what he is doing ?

 

As an owner builder it would be your choice. The average Joe does not/would not manage, hence the project builders. I would say unless you know the building business then owner builder is not the way to go however one could still get a project manager to run it, but that means extra costs and would he be the reliably right man?


Enjoying life in Queensland

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Does owner builder mean you don't hire a builder at all ?

 

How is the average joe going to just manage the whole thing on his own if he doesn't know what he is doing ?

 

They don't, they use one of the many home builders or pay someone to manage the build for them.

 

We used a large builder (Sekisui House, no longer in Adelaide but still in NSW and QLD). We started with one of their standard plans and made it wider and changed the shape in places, added in some internal walls and doors and moved some others, increased the size of the kitchen and added plumbing and space for a fridge with ice and water dispenser, added in gas points for the future installation of gas fires in the two living areas and changed the size and location of a number of windows. We put in loads of extras (including reverse cycle air conditioning), switched to UPVc double glazed windows and patio doors, upgraded a number of fixtures and fittings, used several different paint colours and upgraded the insulation. The total price of the house was about $100k more than the base price for the house and about $30k of that was additional for footings on top of the allowance in the base price of the house. Which we were expecting as the salesman had been very honest about the fact we would have to pay a fair bit more before we even signed up to the builder.

 

The price of the house didn't include any landscaping and we spent about an extra $60k on the outside (including fencing) but could have done it much cheaper if we had wanted or needed to.


Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving.

Dale Carnegie – 1888-1955, Author and Lecturer

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In NSW you have to obtain a owner builder ticket to enable you to build.These are on line course which you present to local authority to get your DA and Construction certificate

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Well, building a new house has a lot of constraints. You have to consider several things first before doing so. The cost of building a house is relatively high also same as purchasing a house and lot. I suggest that you do the renting first and get familiarize with the place first before finally deciding. By the way, don't worry much about ghost stories, I assume that those are hear says only. Another thing, if you are really decided and you want to build your own house, I'm sure , there are various financing companies who could lend you additional cash especially if you do have a stable job.

 

 

I wonder if anyone can tell me whether banks will lend to retired people on a secure pension? By pension I mean paid for pension not government benefit. As retired people we should have enough money to buy, but it would be interesting to know whether a short (ie ten years) mortgage is possible?


103 visa application lodged February 2013. 143 visa application submitted January 2016. Police checks and form 80 submitted February 29th 2016. Visa granted April 4th 2016.

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I would hazard a guess as possible but with difficulty, and you would carry all the risks and really would not be a prudent choice as the banks would only lend a small percentage, at a higher rate, hold the deeds and more than likely require some hefty insurances, all because of your ages and all this adds up to extra costs and a risk that if you do depart this world your family could lose out too.

Might be worth looking at family for assistance (maybe the ones that would get the house anyway) could they up grade their mortgages and you pay the extra interest?

good luck


Enjoying life in Queensland

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We built nearly 3 years ago through a builder and it seemed stressful at the time but looking back, it wasn't as bad as it seems. You do need to do your research so you get exactly what you want that is within your budget and stick to it. Think about what has to be done as part of the build and maybe leave some things for after the build. It was cheaper for us to get the aircon done afterwards buying the units in the sales and getting an installer to do it which only took a day. The builder wanted a fortune to render the outside but we got father in laws mate (who so happened to be a renderer for the builder anyway) to do it for a quarter the price in cash and a few bottles of bundy so we could afford o get the whole house rendered instead of just the front.

 

The builder offers you a range of things like taps, tiles, colour of the grout, flooring, door handles, toilets which can be overwhelming and it can take over your life. We went for a higher spec on some things and lower spec on others and did some things in our own. Luckily the OH loves trawling the Internet and design mags and we got amazing bargains on almost everything so we could get higher spec for a price lower than the builder offered. Nearly 3 years on we have found the right outdoor tiles so the house will finally be finished soon. We did our own gardens and a neighbour said we have the best gardens in the whole estate which is a great compliment and she wants to copy some of the designs. Apart from the gardens we have done little work on the house itself.

 

as with any build or DIY project we have made some mistakes (nothing major) but our house is exactly what we wanted and we would build again. Friends and neighbours say visiting is like going on holiday so the effort has been worth it

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