“To speak of home in relation to a building is simply to recognise its harmony with our own prized internal song.” –Alain de Botton – The Architecture of Happiness
So you’ve done all the research on the pros and cons of building versus buying. You’ve talked to friends and family endlessly, bookmarked realestate.com.au in your Favourites, visited Display Homes, inspected home opens, trawled the papers, navigated new and old suburbs and you’ve finally made the decision to build your new home.
Take a deep breath… and exhale.
The emotional commitment
Prepare yourself for an exciting, busy, challenging and, at times, daunting experience. But don’t be intimidated. If you seek advice, ask plenty of questions and engage the right builder to partner with you, you’re halfway there.
Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. Building a house is a labour-intensive, process-driven task with many complex variables. Attempt to hurry the process and you will fail, most likely with damaged relationships and negative fallout as a result. Sometimes being patient takes superhuman effort, especially if things are not going to plan, but it is essential to keep your head and your wits about you.
Managing your relationships
As with any significant undertaking – be it establishing a new business, having a baby, changing jobs or careers – building your new home is going to have an impact on those around you, especially those closest to you. Hopefully you have a partner, family or good friend with whom you can share the journey. Late nights sitting around the kitchen table covered in floor plans, elevations, paint swatches, tile samples and piles of brochures are likely to become a common feature in your life for the next 9-12 months. Enjoy it; it’s fun!
However, it’s also exhausting and can be stressful when you’re trying to balance it all on top of your normal life. There will undoubtedly be differences of opinion, aesthetics and priorities. Fuses may blow, egos may be hurt and heels dug in. Then, hopefully sooner rather than later, you will reach a compromise.
When you’re in the thick of all the decisions and choices, wrangling over design changes, sweating over financial spreadsheets and arguing with your partner about the colour of the bathroom tiles, it’s difficult to keep it all in perspective. Not long after you’re happily ensconced in your beautiful new home, you will forget the tiff you had over the tap and all those endless myriad of details that caused you sleepless nights will fade with the happiness and serenity you feel in your new home.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Never have Aristotle’s wise words rung truer than during the building of a new house.
The other key relationship in your life during the course of building a new home is with your builder. There will be a variety of people helping you through your project in its early stages including a contracts administrator, estimator and draftsperson. Once plans are approved and building commences, you will be assigned a site manager who will be responsible for the day-to-day delivery of your project. Make this person your best friend. A relationship based on respect, trust, understanding and, most importantly, excellent communication has never been more vital.
Communication is key
If you haven’t built before, you are sure to have a never-ending supply of questions for your builder. That’s great; it ensures robust communication. However, our 40 years of building experience at Ross North means we have done our utmost to ensure we guide you seamlessly through the building process, addressing any and all questions along the way. There’s unlikely to be a question you throw at us that we haven’t already answered.
Here are a few practical communication tips to ensure a smooth process:
- Ask, ask and ask some more. There’s no such thing as a silly question.
- Be clear about what you want and communicate this to your builder. Two-way transparency should be expected from both parties.
- Don’t assume anything. Read all documentation carefully and if you’re not sure or you don’t understand, ASK!
- Keep good records and be organised. This will help mitigate potential conflicts and ensure everyone is working from the same page.
- Be realistic about what can be achieved.
- Be patient. While you should expect continual progress, building a house doesn’t happen overnight.
What building process suits you best?
As we discussed in article two of this series “To build or to buy?”, project home builders, like Ross North Homes and Complete Homes, now offer an incredible array of products that can be tailored to meet your needs:
- Choose a house and land package.
- Pick a design off the plan that suits your block.
- Chop, change and customise one of our designs.
- Let your creative juices flow and work with our design team to create your own bespoke home.
Our friend Susan(48), who we first met in article one of this series “Change your home; change your life”, is considering options three or four and building with Ross North Homes. She has firm ideas about what she wants: a passive solar design, sustainable, beautiful home with a well-designed garden to match. While still being financially prudent, she is less constrained by budget and has discerning tastes. She’s looking to stay in this house long-term.
Joel, on the other hand, is considering options one or two and building with Complete Homes. While he wants a great house with spacious open plan living and modern finishes, he’s less fussy about the detail. He wants to live near the beach so he can surf and preferably close to public transport so he can commute easily to the city for work. A shed and an easy care backyard are also on his wish list. He is realistic about his modest budget. This is his exit strategy from renting, not his “forever home”.
For clients like Susan and Joel, families, investors and everyone in between, Ross North Homes, Complete Homes and Ross North Developments have something to suit every lifestyle, budget and stage of life.
Changing your home environment is a huge step and there are no shortcuts through the decision-making process. But hopefully we’ve stimulated your thinking, provoked some ideas and shed some light on the path.