Buying a home off-plan can be nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time. With some preparation, you can go into it well prepared and with great information to get the best new construction that you can.
- Come with ideas. Homebuilders will follow your lead, not the other way around. If you can’t give them any kind of direction then you will end up with the same generic house as everyone else. The advantage of buying a house that hasn’t been built yet is that you can customise it, so come with some ideas and inspiration for what you might like. Create a Pinterest board, and look through some home magazines for inspiration.
- Choose a floor plan. With a clearer idea of what you want, you can now choose a floorplan. The floorplan will be a deciding factor in the size, style, and features of your new build. Whether you choose a plan from your builders’ reprographics, the internet or a catalogue, it will need to be looked at and adjusted by a contractor or architect before any work is started.
- Balance additions with cuts. People plan with a budget in mind but can then end up building with their heart. This makes it easy to justify going over budget to get the things we want. To keep your budget on track, balance out any additions with some budget-cutting somewhere else. For example, if you really want that expensive bathtub, then compromise with cheaper flooring.
- Leave room in the budget for additional costs. Time and materials have to be budgeted for, but there are more things to consider when you’re creating your budget. Your budget should include the costs of alternating the land before construction, such as clearing trees. Budget for fees for any special permits the builder will need. Labour costs can fluctuate due to supply and demand. Costs can be higher at times of low unemployment, as salaries will cost the builder more.
- Budget for the unexpected. Delays are part of any construction process and can carry many additional costs. Workers will need to be paid for those extra days. Damaged materials will need to be replaced, as will any stolen tools. Leave some room in your budget for this unexpected additional costs.
- Find the right builder. Choose a builder who has experience in building the type of home that you want. The builder should also be insured and bonded. Look for insurance policies like worker’s compensations and general liability. Ask about the contractors they use and check their licenses as well. This ensures the whole crew on the project are skilled and experienced.
- Understand the contract that you are signing. You’ll be working with this builder for some time, so establish the expectations of both sides early on. Always list in detail anything that you expect, even if the contract doesn’t specify it. Create the most detailed contract that you can. This clarifies what is expected of everyone, gives an accurate cost estimate and shows where your money is going.