Category: Helpful information

May 24, 2022

No-nonsense house and land package buying guide

Are you considering investing in a house and land package?

The entire process of acquiring a house and land package can seem overwhelming at first glance. But the truth is that it’s not as complicated as you may think. Use this straightforward, no-nonsense guide to learn everything you need to about how to purchase your own house and land package.


The first thing you need to do is find the land where your new home will be built! This can be broken down into 7 easy-to-follow steps:

1. Find the right location

There is no right answer to this step. After all, you need to find a spot that reflects who you are, where you want to be, and what type of amenities you’d like your property to have. Remember to factor in lot size, maintenance concerns, proximity to cities and infrastructures. Additionally, please note that in many cases, the location you choose will influence which builders you’ll work with to construct your home.

2. Put down a deposit

Deposit amounts may vary, but you’ll typically need at least $1,000 to remove a property listing from the market. The next step is to add to the hold, the balance of the deposit for 10% of the purchase price, which includes Goods and Services Tax (GST).

3. Get your documents in order

Conveyancing is critical to ensure the smooth transfer of a property from the developer to your lenders. For this process, ensure that you’re getting the proper legal consultation to fully understand the process and any related costs.

4. Get your financing in order

Speaking of costs, your next step is to set up your loan. Work with the professionals to make sure you’re paying all fees such as the Stamp Duty and taking advantages of all incentives, such as the First Home Owner’s Grant.

5. Draw up the contracts

Now is the time to meet with your Solicitor or Conveyancer to arrange your sales contract. Please note that this process may take several days. You’ll need to pay the full balance of the 10% deposit at this point as well.

6. Complete the settlement

Once the Land and Property Management Authority registers your property, you need to settle the purchase. This involves paying the total balance due on the settlement. You’ll work with your Conveyancer or Solicitor to confirm the transfer of funds from your lending agent to the developer.

7. Let the construction commence!

Here’s the exciting part – it’s time to get started with the home design and construction! The builder should handle the submission of plans to the Council for approval. From there, it’s time to enjoy watching your dream home become a reality.


Here’s what your home construction process will typically look like (in 6 more simple steps):

1. Lock in your home design

The best part about contemporary home construction is the truly amazing range of options at your disposal. You should prioritise your essential home components. You can then weigh those essentials against their costs to determine the perfect mix of design features that meet your budget.

2. Secure your home financing

Home financing is a different component than your land financing. You’ll usually work with your builder who will create a New Home Agreement to submit to the lender. Depending on your circumstances, you may need to put a deposit down at this stage.

3. Draw Up a Home Building Agreement Contract

After you accept your New Home Tender, an actual Home Building Agreement Contract will be created. This is a thorough document which provides everything you need to know about the process – the design, costs, terms, and more. Again, you may need to put a deposit down to draw up this contract as well.

4. Submit Your Building Approvals to Council

All the official approvals will now be submitted to the Council. In most cases, your builders will handle the mechanics of this process. However, you may need to take steps to confirm that everything has been settled and all the finances are where they need to be.

5. Let the construction begin

Now comes the exciting part – watching your home get built! You’ll usually work with a Supervisor or other Developer Representative who will keep you updated on the progress. Please remember that you should only visit the construction site with an approved Developer Representative.

6. Collect Your Keys – Welcome Home

Once all the construction is finished and all the payments have been made, you’ll receive your Occupation Certificate. Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of your own brand new home to enjoy with your family for years to come.

Choosing the best block of land to build

From home layout and design to square footage, the sky is the limit in what you’d like to have in your new house.

Planning for your dream home can be a truly exciting time. From home layout and design to square footage, the sky is the limit in determining exactly what you’d like to have in your new house.

Of course, you can’t forget about the importance of the actual build location of this new dream house you’ve been planning. The process may seem fairly straightforward; you need to find a block of land large enough in a location you like. However, there are all sorts of other factors that determine the suitability of a property for a new home construction.

Use this guide to determine the key considerations you should follow while choosing your own block of land for building. These guidelines will help you better understand what to look out for – and ultimately get the right land for your new construction.


First and foremost – don’t go at this process alone. You wouldn’t trust the design and construction of your new home or other building to someone who didn’t know what they were doing. Why wouldn’t you keep the same standards when it comes to the plot of land itself?

Obviously, your first consideration is to understand exactly what sort of house you’d like to build. Once you have the size and scope figured out, you can then work with the professionals to help you find a suitable block of land.

Property sales consultants can show you available land plots that fit your specifications in terms of size, dimensions, location, and more. However, you still have many other factors to consider before making a decision.


Where you decide to build is arguably just as important as what you decide to build. Make sure that the block of land you purchase is within an area that has everything you need.

Are you looking for a great school district to raise a family? Would you prefer more acreage a little bit further away from the city? Determine all of these these factors well ahead of time to make the selection process easier for you.


As you probably already understand, the specific dimensions of your block of land will play a critical role in the type of home you can build there. You need to fully understand the precise dimensions you’re working with on a block of land. Otherwise, you could run into some major hurdles once it’s time for the construction phase.

Depending on the area where you’re building, you may face some compromises in terms of land availability and build capability. What does this mean in relation to your home design? For many people, it could mean having to drastically alter initial plans to create a much different home design.

To help reduce this type of risk, one strategy you can follow is to list all your home essentials and non-essentials. Depending on your exact needs and wants, you can adjust your house design and layout to better match with a block of land. This can help you get the land you need – and the home you want – much more quickly than remaining fully rigid on your house design or layout.

For example, if you’d like a back deck that overlooks a yard, you’ll have to refine your property search for a block of land which can accommodate this. If you can spare this specific feature or alter it (such as reducing a deck’s size or location), you’ll likely have an easier time matching your home design to the land where it will be built.


If you’ve found a block of land that seems too-good-to-be-true for the price, buyer beware. You may be facing several additional (and expensive) complications under the surface.

When assessing a block of land, ensure that you fully understand the precise fill and fall across the entire plot. The last thing you want to be doing is spending more money to even out your land before it’s suitable to build a new home on.


Remember, regulations will require a certain amount of setback – or space between your building and your property line – in new building construction. In Victoria, for example, single storey homes need at least 1.2m of setback and two storey homes require a 2m setback. These distances may vary depending on where you build, so check your local requirements ahead of time to be sure.


With the right help and professional guidance, all of these factors can be addressed to help you find an ideal block of land. From there, you’ll get to see something truly amazing: the transformation of all your planning and dreaming into a beautiful and stylish home for you and your family.

How to choose the best home design for you

Once you have found that perfect plot of land, it’s time to start thinking about building your home.

When building a home from the ground up, you are in a unique position to be able to create your dream home.

Your builder will likely have several different home designs for you to choose from, or you can opt for a custom build. Building a custom home, however, is typically significantly more expensive, so here we’ll discuss how you can decide on a pre-designed home that is perfect for your needs.


In some neighbourhoods, particularly those in gated communities and those with a body corporate, there are restrictions on the style of homes that can be built. For example, if the rest of the neighbourhood is filled with traditionally styled homes, that modern masterpiece that you love will probably not be allowed. Similarly, a neighbourhood of one-story homes would likely not appreciate a towering three-story home in their midst. Know the rules of your neighbourhood before you start looking at home plans so that you don’t get your heart set on something that will not be allowed.


You’ll also need to take into consideration the shape and orientation of your land plot, particularly if it is unusually shaped. A house that is wide in the front would not be a good fit for a narrow plot of land. Take into account any incline on your property as well. Hills can affect the design of the home. If your property is on a steep hill, you’ll need to choose from very different options for the home design than you would with a plot that is flat.

Look at what is going on around your land as well. Is there a particular angle that offers a beautiful view? You may want to choose a design option that has a veranda so that you can sit outside and enjoy it. Think about which way your windows will face too, as this will affect the amount of natural light that can enter the house.


Think about how long you plan on living in your new home. If you’re like most people who build their own homes, you likely intend to make this your forever home. If that is the case, you’ll need to consider not just your needs now, but those in the future as well. Do you plan to have children? Will your elderly parents need to move in with you at some point? These are important factors to keep in mind. If this will be your forever home, you’ll likely want to splurge on some upgrades as well.

If, on the other hand, this is a starter home and you plan to sell it in the future, you can focus more on your short-term needs. Resist the urge to spend too much money on upgrades, as you will not be spending enough time in the house to make them truly worth the added expense.


This is where it comes down to the details of what is important to you in a house. How many bedrooms do you need? Would you like to have a home office? Do you need walk-in closets or ensuite bathrooms? One story or two? Let your builder know the specific requirements you have for your floor plan. This will enable them to more easily identify plans they offer that meet your needs. Remember to incorporate all of the above factors as well when making your decision.


Even if you think you have found the perfect home design, it is always a good idea to have at least a couple of backup options. Once your site is inspected, you may find that your first choice just doesn’t quite fit in the space or that certain easements on your property would prohibit the build. Having backups can save you from having to start your search from scratch.

Once you have settled on your final choice, it’s time to start building. Before you know it, you’ll be living in the home of your dreams!

How to choose the best possible land estates

As new land developments continue to jump in popularity, it’s never been a more exciting time to build a new home.

These new developments and estates showcase a special set of benefits, which often cannot be found in established suburbs and neighbourhoods. In many cases you’ll see more expansive lots with much more open space, integrated parks and recreational areas, and even conveniently located train stations and shopping districts.

While all of these accolades sound exciting to a prospective home builder, there are still several steps you should take before agreeing on a block of land within an estate. A little bit of research ahead of time can give you the insight you need to better understand the type of area you’ll be living in. And this can help you make a decision that you’ll be happy about for years to come.

Below, have a look at several tips to follow while considering land estates where you may build a new home. These tips will help you better understand the development, what’s available around the build site, and whether or not it would be a good fit for you and your family.


Behind every good development and land estate is a business that understands all the requirements that are needed to transform an empty area of land into a thriving neighbourhood. Your job is to ensure that whichever development firm you work with has a track record of achieving this type of objective.

Ask yourself the following questions when determining the trustworthiness of your developer:

  • How long has the company been operating for?
  • What are the core values and principles that the development firm follows in their projects?
  • Has the business completed other developments? What are they like?
  • What initiatives has the business taken to help build a community around their developments?
  • Are there any incentives for building higher quality, environmentally-friendly or sustainable houses?

The answers to all of these questions can paint a very strong picture about the quality of the development authority behind an area. Make sure to understand the design guidelines they follow within their projects. This will give you direct insight into what to expect once a community has been fully built out.


Speaking of the design guidelines, the Master Plan provides a much clearer glimpse into how a neighbourhood will eventually look. This plan shows the overall density of houses across the area. You want to pay particular attention to higher density areas to ensure the traffic, parking, and other considerations have been adequately handled.

Additional factors to look for include recreational elements such as multipurpose trails, parks, sports fields, and other community-centred elements. Having these built into a Master Plan shows a developer’s commitment to creating a true community of residents (rather than just a dense cluster of houses).


While it’s nice to have your own “space” in a community, you want to have a connection to other important areas where you live. Learn about how this land estate will inevitably connect with the infrastructure and transportation hubs. Are there plans to make direct connections to installed systems such as buses or trains? Will you have transportation to easily get back and forth from the city if you’re on the outside?

This information is often in the public works department within a state authority’s urban planning department. If you work in the city or plan to visit there frequently, you should understand how this will function once the land estate is fully built and populated.


The age-old advice of “see for yourself” holds especially true within a land estate development. Take the time to visit the prospective site where you may build your home. Have a look at other homes which have already been built. And don’t be afraid to speak with your potential neighbours to get a direct glimpse into what life is like in the estate.


While this is certainly a challenge for anyone to do, try to foresee what life will be like in this development 10 years from now. Building your dream home is a big investment – both in time and in money. Accordingly, you’ll likely be around for 10, 15, or even 20+ years for many families. That’s why it’s so important to determine how this land estate will serve you and your family during that time.

What to do when buying a House and Land package

If you’re in the market to build a new house, look at house and land packages.

For those who may not know, this term refers to a combination deal that gives you a home alongside the land where you plan to build. Many different variations of this package are available to prospective buyers. The end result is always the same: a new home on a freshly purchased plot of land.

If this sounds like a worthwhile purchasing deal for you, read on to learn all about how it works and what you should look out for. That way, you can find the best possible deal for your own house and land package.

What to Do When Buying a House and Land Package


Generally, you have two different options when it comes to these types of home and land packages:

1. Land Purchased, Home Built

This option often provides the most amount of control in getting the house that directly matches your specifications. In general, you search for a developer-owned plot of land in a current land estate or other property region. In many cases you can work with that same developer or an affiliate to construct the home on the property you decide to buy.

From a logistics standpoint, you will need to pay a deposit amount to secure the land and home construction deal. In most cases this amount is 10% of the total purchase price. This allows you to pay a stamp duty just on the land rather than the home building.

You will also need to arrange two separate loans using this method – one for the land itself and the other for the home. You’ll also likely need to continue making progress payments as the home moves through various phases of its construction.

2. House Purchased on a Builder’s Land

Conversely, many developers offer a land package where a house is already built or being built. While this option restricts how much control you have over the type of new home construction, there are a few other advantages for going this route.

You’ll typically only need to put a 5% deposit down to start the process. Additionally, you’ll face no progressive payments during construction. For many buyers, this gives them a bit more financial flexibility to rent another unit during their home’s construction. You could also save the money that would have been used toward progressive payments to place a larger down payment on the home once the construction is complete.


Identifying the developer and location that’s right for you is often easier said than done. After all, this is your new home. You want to be absolutely sure you’re getting the dream home you want in a location you’ll be happy about for years to come.

The first order of business in your hunt for a developer is to do your homework. With research, you’ll have an idea of all the different options out there in terms of home construction, land options, pricing, and more. Even better, you’ll make a much more informed decision once it’s time to make your choice.

When you’re considering a development firm, assess them based on the following characteristics:

  • Experience and Selling History: How long has this company been in business? How many other developments and new home constructions have they completed? Experience matters in this business, so make sure to work with a well-versed developer for best results.
  • Straightforward Pricing: The last thing anyone wants is an unexpected rise in overall costs during the process. This holds especially true when you’re already midway through the process with no turning back. The easiest way to confirm the cost is to verify the company uses a fixed price contract for the construction.
  • Proper Insurance and Warranties: While this seems like a presumption, always make sure that your builders have the appropriate insurance and warranty protections on your new construction.
  • Reviews and Reputation: Perhaps most importantly, take some time to see what other people are saying about your prospective developer. Read the online reviews – both positive and negative. Ask your potential neighbours what it was like to work with this company and what the quality is like after construction. Get some referrals from others to verify the company’s trustworthiness. The more you learn upfront will inevitably mean fewer surprises down the road.


Whether you’re opting for a land first/construction second package or a home on a developer’s land, you need to get an idea about the home you’ll eventually build. Why not check out some of the display homes to see your options?

This is your chance to truly see what your new home will be like. Don’t be afraid to test out the quality of the building materials, verify durability, check the details, and determine optional components and related pricing.

With just a little bit of work on your side, you can get a wonderful new home. As always, don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions to your developers and builders. In the end, it will lead you to a much better home choice that you and your family will love for years to come.

Explore your options for financing your new home build

When building a new home, you’ll need to have funds available to cover the costs of the build.

It is usually a good idea to include at least 10 percent extra in your budget to account for last-minute additions or any changes to the initial estimate.

The more extra wiggle room you can afford, the better; it is always better to have more money than you need than to come up short. When financing a new home build, you have a number of options available to you. You should always do plenty of research before deciding on a financing method. Here’s a general breakdown of some of the most common types of financing to get you started:


A mortgage is the most common way to get financing for a home. Aim to save as much as you can for a deposit. It is possible to obtain financing with a deposit of less than 20%, but you will have to obtain mortgage insurance, which can cost several hundred dollars per month. Once you have decided on your preferred lender, ask to be pre-approved for the loan. This way, you’ll know how much you can get financed so that you’ll know what your budget should be when working with your builder. Bank vs. Broker

You can obtain a mortgage by going through a bank or through a mortgage broker. By going through a broker, you can gain access to a wide range of mortgage options that you might not have found on your own, giving you flexibility in your choice.

In some cases, you pay a flat fee or a percentage of your loan amount to the broker, while in others, the broker receives a commission from the lender. It is important to note that the commission-based structure may influence the broker to recommend certain loan products that generate large commissions, even though they may not be the best option for your particular situation. Brokers can offer valuable advice, but do your own independent research as well to ensure that you are getting the right loan to meet your needs.

If you choose to obtain your mortgage through a bank, you’ll cut out the middle man by going directly to the source. However, your options will be limited by the specific loan products that a particular bank offers. Fixed Rate vs. Variable Rate

Mortgages also differ in the types of interest rates they charge. With a fixed rate loan, you’ll lock in your interest rate for a set period (typically 1-5 years). During this time, your interest rate will not change. The benefit of this is that your monthly repayments will not change either, making it easier for you to establish a monthly budget. If the standard interest rate rises, you’ll still pay the same lower rate. However, if the standard rate drops, you’ll be stuck paying more as your locked in rate is now relatively higher. At the end of the fixed period, you’ll usually have the option of switching to a variable interest rate or refinancing your loan with a new fixed rate.

In a variable rate loan, the interest rate fluctuates along with the standard rate. This means that your monthly repayments will vary as well. This can make it difficult to budget when your bill is not always the same, so it can be risky. However, variable rate loans often give you the option of making extra repayments whenever you choose to without penalty, which can help you get the loan paid off faster.


A construction loan differs from a mortgage in that you don’t have to take out all of the money at once. Although the maximum loan amount is still the same, you can draw down from the loan as needed. This is a great option for those building a home because it can save you a lot of money on interest. With this type of loan, you’ll only pay interest on the amount you have drawn down, whereas with a mortgage, you’re paying interest on the full amount from day one.

Another benefit of construction loans is that many offer the option of paying only the interest while your home is under construction rather than having to make full repayments. You won’t make any progress on repaying the loan, but you’ll free up cash for any expenses related to the build. Construction loans are typically offered with a variable interest rate.


Your third option is to obtain financing through your builder. You’ll typically find this option available with larger building companies. Although your options will be limited to just what the builder offers, it can be incredibly convenient to have your building and financing handled all in one place. Many builders also accept lower deposit amounts than banks would. However, because of their limited options, you may not get the best rates or additional features with your loan.

Common mistakes to avoid when building your new home

Read on for some of the most common mistakes people make when building a new home and how you can avoid them.

Building a new home can be very exciting because you have the opportunity to create your dream home. However, many people get so caught up in the process that they make mistakes that could end up costing thousands of dollars down the track.


This is probably the most common mistake that new home buyers make when building their first home. When you are shopping around for builders, many of them will intentionally offer an estimate that is significantly lower than what the final cost will be in an effort to beat out their competitors to win your business. Then, when the final bill comes, it could be thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars higher than what you thought you were agreeing to!

To protect yourself from this tactic, ask the builder for a detailed breakdown of the specific costs involved. Find out what procedures the builder has in place for dealing with any increases in cost. A reputable, honest builder should notify you in writing of any possible changes for your approval before proceeding. The better you understand the details of the estimate and ways it may change during the building process, the better you will be able to budget for any extraneous costs.

Underestimating Costs

Image credit @AlexanderStein


Just as you conduct research on the builder you hope to work with, so too should you research the neighbourhood you would like to live in. Check with the local council for any proposed construction in the area. It may be a great neighbourhood now, but if an industrial plant is about to be built right down the street, you may wish to reconsider.

Similarly, an area that seems fairly sparse at the moment may be on the cusp of a construction boom, bringing shopping, dining and entertainment options to the area. Whether or not you have children now, you may also want to look into the schools in the area. You may choose to have children in the future and will want them to have easy access to quality education.


This is another area where you should not skimp on research. There are many banks and mortgage companies available to offer you financing for building your new home, and all are not created equal. Take the time to explore the myriad of options available to you to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. A mortgage broker will have access to a wide range of options and can help you wade through them to find the one that is best suited to your needs.

Image credit @stevepb


When builders show display homes, they are doing everything they can to impress prospective clients to win their business. Because of this, many display homes include extras and add-ons that are not included in the basic home build. However, the price they show is usually for the basic home.

To avoid a costly surprise when your home is finished, ask the builders what exactly is included in the build price and what costs extra. That gorgeous tile flooring you loved in the display home is likely an add-on, with a lower-cost flooring coming with the basic build. Don’t be shy about asking questions. The builder should be able to give you an honest answer about the true cost of the display home.


Let’s say you really like a particular home design but would absolutely love it if there were an extra bathroom downstairs or a balcony for the master bedroom. These types of changes to the overall layout of the house can be very costly, especially if you start making them after the house is already being built. Try to keep changes to a minimum, or better yet, keep shopping around until you find a floor plan that you are truly satisfied with.


This is a trap that many people fall into. While it may seem like just a little bit extra here and there to upgrade small details, like doorknobs or window coverings, these small charges add up, potentially costing you thousands of dollars more than you had originally budgeted. If you are building the home for yourself and plan on living in it for a long time, then by all means, buy those fancy crystal drawer pulls you love so much (assuming you can afford them).

However, overspending on fixtures can particularly be a problem for property investors who are building a home with the intention of renting it out. Those fancy doorknobs will likely not add any value to the home, whereas spending more for upgraded appliances in the kitchen could increase the rental value. For investment properties, stick to the basics, only upgrading in areas where it will truly add value

6 Reasons to invest in a House and Land package

When searching for a smarter way to invest, countless people have turned to the world of real estate to help.

Purchasing homes, rental properties, or other buildings can yield great returns with the right strategy. However, there are often all sorts of difficulties and challenges which make this niche a difficult area in which to succeed.

Despite these challenges, there are a few additional areas within property investment which are more likely to yield better results. In fact, one of these areas is shifting your investment focus onto new construction with a land and house package deal.

Many people ask themselves “are land and house packages a good investment for me?” The answer to this question is almost always a resounding “yes” – for you, your family, and your future.

Below, learn just how wise of an investment this can be with 6 of the best reasons to opt for a land and house package.


1. You Have Little to No Upfront Maintenance or Repairs

Depending on your investment, with a new build, you can enjoy a lengthy period of time where maintenance is often fully covered under your Buying Contract. In many cases, your building and its related fittings and fixings will include a Builder’s Guarantee. Most standard Builder’s Guarantees offer this coverage for up to 5 years.

Also with new builds, reputable builders are using higher quality materials, combined with the latest technology. The result is a more efficient home, with lower running costs and upkeep expenses.

2. You Can Save Money on Stamp Duty Costs

Stamp duty is an expense that home purchasers have to endure during the purchasing process. But when you purchase a land and home package, you could stand to save thousands over a traditional home purchase. That’s because you’ll only be paying the duty on the land’s value since the house has not been constructed yet. This can help you save even more (which you could then use on the house’s down payment instead).

3. You Can Build Where You Have the Most Potential

If you intend to rent your investment property or resell it later, you have a lot more options at your disposal with a land and house package. You can research which areas have the most potential in terms of rentals, property value forecasts, and more. That way, you can opt to build your new property where you’ll get the most out of it in the long run.

4. You Can Get Higher Quality Tenants

If you plan on renting out your investment property, you want to attract high quality tenants who will pay their rent on time, treat the property with respect, and stay for years at a time. When you’re renting out a new construction, you are more likely to attract better tenants who will appreciate the new luxuries of your property.

This is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Tenants can enjoy all the latest amenities in a new home – encouraging them to stay in the unit for years at a time. And you can enjoy reliable tenants, with premium rental rates to enhance your ROI potential.

5. You Can Enjoy Tax Benefits from Depreciation and Other Elements

Depreciation is an important consideration within any property you own – even a new construction built from a house and land package deal. As the property owner, you will eventually have to invest in upkeep, maintenance, repairs, and other expenses after the Builder’s Guarantee expires. And depending on the maintenance, this could lead to some highly expensive repairs over the years.

The good news is that you can offset depreciation concerns with tax deductions related to construction, fixtures, fittings, and more. You can also deduct several other components within your taxes – creating a high number of rebates and incentives year-after-year.

6. You’re Investing in a Quality Life for Your Family

Finally, if you’ve secured a land and house package to build a new home for you and your family, there’s one more major investment point to mention. That point is the value you’re giving to your family by living in a beautiful home for years to come.

Think of it as a self-investment in terms of quality of life, and quality time. In the end, focusing on yourself and your family may provide the most important investment benefit of them all.


As you can see, investing in land and house packages can provide you with a wealth of benefits, savings, perks, and more. From tax savings to better tenant quality, these properties make it much easier to improve your returns for years to come. And even if you just plan to live in your property, you can enjoy many of these benefits by way of an investment in yourself and your family.

Key questions to ask a potential new home builder

Building a new home is incredibly exciting, but don’t make the mistake of hiring the wrong home builder.

While most home builders are reputable, there are always those out there who try to get away with shoddy workmanship, cut corners, or try to rip you off in a number of ways. To help protect yourself and ensure that you end up with the new home of your dreams, consider asking prospective builders these pointed questions:


This should be the first question you ask any builder you are considering. In most states, builders are required to have a license in order to work, so be wary of any builder who is unable or unwilling to present you with proof of a current, valid license.

The builders’ insurance is critical as well. Without it, you could be held liable if any of the workers are injured while on the job or if there is any damage to the materials being used. You should not be expected to cover these types of mishaps; it is the responsibility of the builder to maintain adequate coverage. Before signing with a particular builder, make sure that you understand the scope of their insurance coverage.


Find out how long the builder has been working in your area and how many homes they have built. A low number doesn’t necessarily mean that the builder isn’t any good, but you’ll have limited previous examples by which to gauge the quality of the work. It will be up to you to decide if you are willing to take a chance on an inexperienced builder; at least you will be aware of all the facts so you can make an informed decision. With more experienced builders, you are less likely to run into as many obstacles, and if you do, those issues will likely be handled more professionally and skillfully. This is simply due to the builder having encountered similar problems in the past.


This is the best way to get a sense of the quality of the work that the builder will deliver. Pay attention to the styles of the homes to see if they match with what you are looking for. For example, if you love the rustic or provincial look and a builder’s past work is mostly in an ultra-modern or cutting edge style, that particular builder might have less authority in the style you want, as well as local knowledge of where to source specific materials. It works both ways – if you love the architectural look of the builder’s previous work, you have likely found a good match. Some builders will have experience with a variety of different styles, so it’s your decision if you would prefer a jack-of-all-trades or a builder with more specialised experience.


Just as important as finding out what is included is finding out what is not included. Depending on the builder you choose, certain materials or expenses may or may not be included in the price estimate. Each builder is different, so make sure that you fully understand the scope and limitations of the project. Also, make sure to leave plenty of room in your budget for additional expenses in case the final price is higher than the estimate due to unexpected additional charges. The better you understand what is and is not included, the easier it will be for you to keep your home build within budget, so be sure to ask this question in clear, plain terms.


This may be more of a concern to some people than others, depending on your circumstances and how and where you are living. If you have the luxury of being able to stay in your current property for as long as you wish whilst work is taking place on a new build, this may not be a major concern for you. If, on the other hand, you have a specific date by which you need to move out, this will be a much more important consideration. As with the budget, home builds rarely finish exactly as planned, so it is best to always add on at least a few weeks to give yourself some flexibility. Find out how many homes the builder works on simultaneously and how much time they expect to dedicate to your property alone each week. You want to make sure that the builder that you choose has the ability to give your property the time and attention it deserves, rather than rushing through it to get to their next build.


At the end of the day, the final decision is up to you. Try to meet with builders in person, if possible, so that you can get a better sense of what it will be like to work with them. In making your decision, you’ll need to weigh up the responses from various builders in accordance with which factors are most important to you. It is always better to ask too many questions than too few. You want to have as much information as possible to help guide you in making this important decision. After all, you’ll be living in your home for a long time, so you want to make sure the job is done right.

Understanding the timeline for building a new home

Building a new home is not something that can just happen overnight; it takes time.

Typically, a safe estimate for your new home build is about six months to a year. This can vary, though, depending on the size and detail of your home, among other factors. While your builders will take care of most of the details for you, it is still important for you to understand the process your home will go through during the build. This way, you’ll have a better sense of whether or not your build will be completed on schedule, and you’ll be aware of what is expected of you throughout the process. Building a home goes through three distinct phases, as follows:


This phase begins before construction even starts. Before your builders can get to work, they’ll need to conduct a feature survey and soil test for your land. The survey involves creating a scale drawing of your property, including any easements and service connection points. The soil test determines the reactivity of your soil, which can sometimes affect the materials that can be used.

The next step is to clear and excavate the land in preparation for pouring the concrete foundation. However, before that can happen, a building surveyor must sign off that all of the work thus far is up to the necessary standards for home building. You’ll have several inspections throughout the building process. Once the excavation has been approved, it’s time to start building.

The next step is to install connections to underground power and plumbing. You’ll have another inspection at this point, after which the concrete foundation can be poured. Once poured, it will need time to cure. This is typically when you will be expected to make your first payment to your builder. The actual amount will depend on your arrangement with your builder, so refer to your contract for specific details.


During the second phase, your builders will put in the “bones” and exterior of your house. This starts with wall frames and roof trusses. You’ll have another inspection here to ensure that all of the wall frames have been placed in accordance with the plans and that everything is secured to the foundation. You’ll have to make another payment at this point as well.

Next, the builders will complete the walls and install the roof covering. Any brick work or other exterior finishing will also be done at this point. Windows and external doors will be put in as well. Once the construction is complete, plumbers and electricians will come in to lay the initial piping and cabling for the house, although the final connections will be completed later.

If your home is in Queensland or New South Wales, you’ll have another inspection here to check the roof, windows, plumbing and waterproofing. You’ll also have to make another payment to your builder.


Now comes the fun part where you’ll really start to see your home coming together. Plaster will be installed in the interior walls and ceilings, and interior doors will be installed. If your home will have two stories, the stairs will be built at this time. The bathrooms will receive sinks, toilets, showers and bathtubs, and cabinetry will be installed in the kitchen and other areas of the home. At the end of this stage, you’ll make another payment to the builders.

All that’s left is the decor. The walls will be painted, floors installed, and plumbing and electrical fixtures finished. Benchtops will be installed in the kitchen and bathrooms, along with shower screens and mirrors. If your house has a garage, the door will be installed during this stage as well.

Your builder will arrange for you to do a final walk-through. Take your time to check everything; once the builders have handed over the keys to you, their job is finished. Be thorough and note anything that is unfinished or defective so that the builders can fix it. A building surveyor will also conduct a final inspection to ensure that all areas of the home have been completed according to building code. After this, the inspector will issue a Certificate of Occupancy stating that your home is complete.

Depending on your builder, you may receive a maintenance period after completion during which the builder will fix any defects you find. This is more common with larger building companies, so check with yours for the details.

Before you can make your final payment to the builder, your bank or other lender will most likely send over their own inspector to give the property a final valuation before releasing the remainder of your funds. Once you make your final payment to the builder, the home is yours. It’s time to start packing to get ready to move in!

Examples of previous work