Building your own home? Top tips to ensure a smooth build

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(Feedsy Exclusive)

You’ve probably been warned to expect one or two, or a dozen, unwanted surprises when you build your own home. While nothing in life is perfect, when it comes to the time, financial, and emotional investment required for building a house, naturally you want everything to be as seamless as possible. Here are our essential tips to help you create your dream home with as little stress as possible.

Do your homework and create your plan
Step one is to research your options and determine what will fit your expectations – and your budget. You can buy a plot of land and have it designed by an architect. While this option is usually more expensive, you’ll get optimal freedom in designing the home that you want. You can also purchase a pre-designed layout from a property developer. Make sure you understand how much you can or cannot customise your home and what it will cost.

Find out about any legal requirements
Be sure to learn all the standard regulations for the state you are building in; Australia tends to have strict rules for home builds. You should get in touch with your local council as well and let them know what your plans are for building once you have them ready.

Choose a good builder
The builder you decide to hire is the individual you will be closely working with for a long time, possibly close to a year or more. This is who you’ll deal with when problems, changes, and concerns arise and who you’ll depend upon to a large extent to get the results that you want. Be sure to pick someone you feel comfortable with and who is a good communicator – both with you and with the contractors. Definitely ask for and check references and, if possible, view multiple homes that the builder has completed. Also, verify that they have the right credentials. They should be a member of the Housing Industry Association or of Master Builders.

Read and understand your contract before signing
Thoroughly examine your contract before signing. You want to fully understand the terms of the agreement, including what happens if something goes wrong, if the build goes over the timeline or budget, and what course of action you can take if you are unhappy with any of the construction while it is being done, or after your home is built. It is generally a good idea to have a solicitor look over the details of the agreement before you sign.

Be ready for your construction home loan
For your build, you’ll need a construction home loan. When you approach the bank, make sure you already have your plan in place and be able to show the bank that you meet all local and state regulations. Also, be prepared to put down a 20 percent deposit.

If you don’t think you can handle the personal involvement that’s required – or the possible budget fluctuations – then building may not be for you. If a custom build is your dream and you’re ready to put in the effort, then you may find building your own home to be an incredibly rewarding experience.

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