Thinking about building a new home can be exciting, scary, bewildering and confusing. Taking that first step to talk to someone is often the hardest part. The easiest way forward is to find a builder who can answer your burning questions.
One question you want answered is “How much is it going to cost?”. It’s a fair question but not easy due to the huge number of variables. So, we thought we might shed some light on this, and what you can do to help.
1) Know Your Budget.
A plan range, or a custom design, is not the first thing you consider, its your budget. There is little point wasting time and energy, and getting disappointed, pursuing an avenue which you cannot afford. Knowing your budget will provide some direction when looking at plans, but it will also enable you to start a discussion on a design build process for your own custom home.
If you know your budget, a reputable builder and designer will be able to design your own custom home to your requirements, but importantly to your budget!
The trick here is to get the right team. A builder and designer working together from the start is your best bet as a designer working independently from a builder does not have the same level of access to knowledge on building practicalities, cost of materials and labour requirements to achieve their design.
You can use ideas from plans, your own sketches, or simply provide a checklist of your wants/needs, including what you don’t want. With any budget there may be compromises, so it’s important to know what you are prepared to compromise on.
2) Know What Sort of House You Want!
What level of Quality or Specification. Do you want it built to meet, or exceed, our minimum building code?
A base plan price for the entry level market, or a lower quality home, is not going to be the same as the plan price for a similar size home from a company specialising in building to a higher specification, or a specialist builder. An important point, therefore, is to figure out what sort of build you want and what sort of builder you want to build your home.
A home with higher specs, or built to a higher energy efficient & performance standard will cost more than the same size home built to the minimum building code, with basic hardware & kitchen, smaller rooms, and no extra home comforts. Size of home is also important to establish – ask yourself if that extra bedroom & bathroom are essential, or would you rather invest in quality and higher spec materials?
Once this is established you can search companies who build the sort of house you want, and offer the service you want. This will certainly provide a much better guide, saving you time, and potentially money and stress if the wrong builder is brought in.
If you are looking at plans and their guide prices for guidance ask about the inclusions and the level of quality. Also clarify what the terminology means. If there is no list of inclusions what is their price guide based upon?
This brings me onto 3……….
A plan range can be a good starting point as it provides an indication of what could be within your price range.
Chatterton Builders don’t do house & land packages, and we also build to our client’s unique needs. As such, we won’t misguide with set prices like some other companies, but instead use a price guide approach, offering three ranges, dependent upon the house you are trying to achieve and covering those in which we specialise.
By reviewing our plans, and seeing what is included in the indicative price guide, you can see what a “realistic” price range would be for the construction of the home.
As alluded to earlier, however, the inclusions and level of quality will vary widely between building companies so bear this in mind when comparing plans and establishing if something you like is within your budget.
Some housing companies have a set price for a build but unless you are building as per plan and as per specifications (no changes, upgrades etc) then this price is not the price you will build it for. Also, unless it is a house & land package, how can they confirm below ground costs, which vary considerably, especially here in Canterbury?
Note: Be careful – some builders have a low base price but use upgrades and changes as a means to make money on an otherwise unrealistic base price simply used to pull you in. Not all are like this but it pays not to sign anything until you know their process and their guarantees.
In summary, what people want is a realistic answer to the cost question as fast as possible without spending too much money on designs. So, whilst square meter rates and set prices are rarely used these days, what can be used successfully is your budget.
The industry has moved a long way from those days when budget was held closely to your chest. Do you really want to build a house in an environment of mistrust? We suggest open and transparent with everything is the way it should be, and it works both ways.
If a Design Build team know your budget they can give you the best house for your lifestyle and family, that is unique and affordable to you. Builders can be transparent with their contract, build costs and variations. They can also work to an agreed margin, and agree that no changes or additions to the work are undertaken without written consent.