Planning your building project

If you are planning your building project then don’t fall into the trap of thinking that getting your plans drawn is all the planning you need to do. WRONG! Building a home has many pitfalls. The biggest trap I see is when owners get really excited about designing and then building their own home. They engage a designer or Architect and spend good money on a fantastic looking design only to be disappointed when they face the reality that they will never be able to afford to build it. A properly planned home needs to have every aspect considered. Think about it. The house design is probably the last thing to consider. Once you establish your budget you can approach a lender to find out how much you can borrow. Once you have this figure and you have come to terms with signing up the next 25 years of your life to the bank then you can start to get excited. Finding your block of land is the first hurdle. Only you will know whether it is right for your situation. Before you make an offer on the land do some investigating. A little bit of sleuthmanship can save you heaps of hassles down the track. A lot of the investigating can be done for free, it will just take you a little bit of time. Go to the local council and see what sorts of information you can get about the block you are interested in. Sometimes you can even find out what the block is worth from the Land Valuer Generals office or you can ask a neighbour (if they’ll tell you!) look at the styles of home in the area, look at public transport, schools, shops, landfill sites, flood zones, flight paths, services, trees, parks, neighbours etc and then decide if you can see yourself fitting in there. Go and speak to a local building designer or architect and try to get as much information as possible out of them. Once you are satisfied with what you hear ask for any references on good builders in the area. Go and speak to the builders and find out how busy they are. Ask to look at some of their last houses they built. Do it. If you are still happy with what you see and hear then commission the design of your home. Make sure you are very clear about your budget to the person drawing your home. If you work on a rule of thumb of $1500 per square metre for your home you would be close. Therefore a building of 200m2 area would be roughly estimated about $300000 to build. Of course there are so many variables at this point it really pays dividends to work out a complete bill of quantities for your home. Once you have this sort of detail you can make value decisions and compromises. That should cover your build cost. What about your build time frame? How long is it going to take? Are there enough builder’s or tradies in the area to start work on your project as soon as plans are approved? How much longer is your rent lease? When do you need to be in your new home? When do you start paying the full interest amounts on your mortgage? To not know these things is probably naive but you would be surprised how many people don’t know. Don’t you fall in the trap. Building your home can be the most wonderful experience of your life or your biggest nightmare. If you don’t know what your next step is then talk to a professional. People actually make a living out of helping people like you because the building process is more difficult than what you might think. If you are planning your building project then don’t forget to do it.

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