Everyone dreams of having a pleasant and comfortable home built to fit their needs and lifestyle. But not everyone can have a custom home for several reasons, and others resort to buying production homes to hasten their property acquisition process.
Building a home involves significant investment and careful planning, especially if it's custom-built. Prospective homeowners must consider several factors, including their budget, where to build, the design, the floor plan, and the right home building contractor for the job.
A custom home project is more challenging and requires additional effort time, and budget. Because of the precious resources involved in building one, you must get everything done right as a home buyer. Here are the things to consider for a successful custom home build.
1. You're likely going to spend more with a custom home
Knowing how much you can afford is key to any successful home construction project. Without a ballpark figure, a prospective property owner like you will have challenges choosing the land to purchase and planning the size or the features to include in your dream home.
Home costs in Australia vary depending on the location, land cost, taxes, fees and others. As of April 2022, the median price for a new home construction stood at AUD$ 473,000, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Getting pre-qualified if you're getting a loan is vital to know how much you can allocate, including the mortgage repayment costs. If you need more help, apply for a homebuilder grant, which provides up to AUD$ 25,000 to qualified individuals.
More importantly, prepare a contingency budget to cover incidental expenses for your custom house, as you'll likely need it. Building a custom home checklist is a great idea to ensure you cover all bases early and as the project goes along.
2. Be flexible with your timelines
Building a new dwelling takes 4 to 12 months, excluding land acquisition and property design processes. You and your contractor may have agreed to specific timelines, but move-in dates are never final.
With a custom home, nothing is planned, selected, or designed permanently ahead of time. Because of this, the process takes significantly more time. Delays are often inevitable in various project stages, especially for custom homes. For instance, you may have to wait for construction material deliveries, or the weather may be too cold or rainy, leading to missed deadlines.
3. Choosing an ideal location requires research
Your custom home's location is one of the more important considerations when building a custom house. Researching the site and understanding the inspection and survey results can impact your property's structure and design. For instance, identifying in which section the sun rises is essential to know where to place your windows.
Local housing laws and building codes can also impact your home's height, size and amenities. If you live in a historic district, you may have specific restrictions on your residence's design and materials.
It's best to talk with professionals, such as architects, for advice on maximising your property and getting the design you want while remaining compliant with local and national regulations.
4. Designing your custom home is daunting
A custom home allows you to build a house according to your needs and lifestyle. Besides regulations and budget, consider your present and future when designing your bespoke living spaces.
Your design, features and home layout will depend largely on how you envision your future. It can likewise dictate the materials needed for construction. For instance, a one-bedroom dwelling isn't enough if you plan on having two kids. Similarly, pet lovers may skip wooden floors to prevent early damage from scratches.
Talk with an architect or a designer and discuss your design preferences or create a brief. See if they align with the other primary considerations in building a custom house.
5. Hiring the right building professionals is key
Choosing the right builders is the most significant of the several considerations when building a custom home. Your chosen project contractor must be capable of breathing life into your dream home.
Start by asking for referrals or researching different reputable builders in your area. Make a shortlist, then schedule a meeting with each. Look at their portfolio to determine their experience and specialties. Raise relevant questions and observe how they address your queries and concerns. Communication is key to a successful project, so note which contractor you feel most comfortable talking with.
Additionally, ask for a sample contract and check whether the firm possesses the appropriate permits and licenses, including insurance coverage. Reach out to the firm's previous clients and learn more about their experience. If another project cropped up, would they hire the builder again? Why or why not?
6. Active involvement is vital
While you don't need to be at the site the whole time, show up and communicate with your builder daily. Doing so lets you see the progress and check whether the timelines are followed. Take photos of the construction process.
Showing up helps prevent delays, as you might be asked to validate or choose home design elements, like finishes, colours and other selections. As the project owner, you may also have to decide quickly on your home's aesthetic features and other concerns.
There are several stages involved in the custom home building process. These stages require property owners to take a hands-on approach to ensure that everything works as expected. At the same time, bespoke house construction requires future homeowners to be patient, responsive and proactive in handling inevitable circumstances like delays and unexpected costs.