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How to pick a builder

TheFoxSays
Junior Contributor

How to pick a builder

Hi All, 

 

I am looking for some advice on who has built a house & what builder they have gone with. 

My husband & I purchased a block of bland in the Fraser Coast area nearly 12mths ago & with the sale of our first property recently, we are looking to find a builder. 

 

What were the things you looked for in a builder? What inclusions do you reccomend looking for? Pre-designed plan or own plans drawn?

 

Thanks for any and all advice! 

 

Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: How to pick a builder

@TheFoxSays,

 

Thanks for your post and congratulations on the sale. It must be an exciting time for you and your husband as you contemplate building a new home. I'm sure there will be many members of the Workshop community keen to share their advice with you along your journey.

 

Let me also extend a very warm welcome to the community. Please let me know if you need a hand getting the most from the site.

 

Jason

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maknilsin
Experienced Contributor

Re: How to pick a builder

Hi,

 

@TheFoxSays I purchased my first home last year and am waiting for my build to commence (fingers crossed we start in May!) 

 

I found when I was looking for a home that the first thing I did was to just check out as many of the builders as I could and their display homes to get a sense of the kind of homes they can put together.  Keep in mind though that with any of the display homes they have will be filled to the brim with all of the top level inclusions so you have to lower expectations ever so slightly.

 

After a few months of looking around the perfect house and land package appeared from Porter Davis and I jumped at it. 

 

The best part of buliding with Porter Davis has been their World of Style - which is their massive showroom down in Vic where you go in and spend the day with their designers and consultants making all of your home selections. That really helped me change my mind that I was building my own home and not some stock standard off the shelf display home.

 

Hope that helps!

ProjectPete
Valued Contributor

Re: How to pick a builder

Exciting! I built 5 years ago and loved the experience.

I started by looking at display homes to see which builders had the designs that appealed to me most. Don't give your details to the salesperson on the day, you'll end up contemplating a restraining order.

From there I short-listed my favourite designs and tries to have about 4-5 builder options. I then researches through friends, family, colleagues, forums, awards, etc to gauge their credibility, quality and competence. In the end I went with Celebration Homes. Overall I'm happy with the xperia centre and the final product - not ecstatic, but happy.

Make sure they know who's running the show. Don't get caught up in the value of their inclusions and all that marketing spin because that's all it really is. Keep on top of them and hold them to deadlines, promises, etc. Let them know you know what your options are in the market and you're happy to go elsewhere of you don't get the experience you're expecting.

Fins out the early how they deal with/charge for alterations to plans. You'll find some builders are flexible and cheap while others are either flexible or not but certainly really expensive.

Look for a building r that's been in the business longer than the warranties they offer and that their warranties aren't significantly more than other builders.

Pay for a building inspector. Let your builder know you'll be doing so, it keeps them on their toes.

Hope that helps to get you started. Enjoy the ride!
KingStreetReno
Experienced Contributor

Re: How to pick a builder

Hi @TheFoxSays, I would ask your network for recommendations if possible as a starting point.

 

Once you have a few recommendations, I would ensure that you meet with them to get a sense of whether they are the right fit for you, your budget and the type of house you are looking to build. Personality fit is also really important! Some Builders are collaborators, others like things to be "their way or the highway". 

 

I would also inspect some of their previous work and get references from previous clients. 

 

We had to fire our builder recently and it has delayed us greatly (not to mention caused a huge amount of stress!).

 

The builder was a friend of my father-in-law...he was not the right fit for us as we needed someone who could support us through the entire journey from council planning, building permits to the build. You can read about our experience here.

 

Good luck.

Kermit
Valued Contributor

Re: How to pick a builder

We haven't built new before but have done a couple of major reno projects. The relationship with the first builder didn't end well, but the second was a dream.

 

I think the big difference was communication and flexibility. There are undoubtedly things in the project that will go wrong and/or that you aren't happy with. Or you might just change your mind about something... But if you have a great builder that is flexible, accommodating, understanding, easy to talk to and committed to delivering the best possible outcome for you the client, you will be fine. So try to find a builder that has been recommended by others for these qualities. 

 

And whoever does your plans and documentation probably doesn't matter as much as ensuring that it is extremely comprehensive. You don't want surprises down the track and you want to ensure everyone is on the same page.

 

Good luck! 

TheFoxSays
Junior Contributor

Re: How to pick a builder

Thanks for the warm welcome @Jason

 

Many thanks for those that have responded also ~ @KingStreetReno @maknilsin @ProjectPete @Kermit, I greatly appreciate the advice you have given so far & it has certainly given food for thought. 

 

We have been into many display homes so far, looking at hundreds of home designs. A few have been extremely accommodating, where as others have taken quite a long time to respond or not responded to our enquires at all (even after following up) - this has made us turn away from those builders.

 

We also made a very rookie mistake around 12mths ago, paying a deposit to a builder, being very specific on when we were looking to build + other various specifics, only to have said builder contact & harass us when we did not start within a certain time frame. Needless to say we won't be building with them as there was a lot of confusion,

miscommunication & disappointment before we had even started! 

 

I'll be back with more questions and advice over the coming weeks. Thanks again all!

 

 

 

 

Kermit
Valued Contributor

Re: How to pick a builder

How is the search for a builder going @TheFoxSays?

TheFoxSays
Junior Contributor

Re: How to pick a builder

So it's been nearly 12 mths since I posted this, we ended up picking a smaller builder with a great reputation, instead of a bigger known company. The build has nearly finished now, only a few weeks away which is quite exciting!
We have definitely learnt a lot and one of the biggest things that we have made the mistake in doing is not confirming in writing a few minor things - this is something I can't stress enough haha!
Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: How to pick a builder

That's very exciting @TheFoxSays. I'm sure you have a lot of learnings you could share about the building process. 

 

Jason

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