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9 Tips When Building Your First Home

Once you have made the exciting decision to build your first home, it’s time to get down to business. As the experts in house and land packages in regional WA, SmoothStart can help guide you along this journey to make sure that your dream home is exactly how you imagined.

If you haven’t been through the steps before there are a few things you may not know, so here are 9 of our top tips to assist you through the home building process:

  1. It goes without saying, but make sure that you have done your budget and are happy with the numbers. There’s no point in building a beautiful new home if you can’t afford furniture (or food) so read the fine print, double check everything, and aim to have a buffer in case of any unexpected expenses down the track (like new tyres for the car or having to replace the fridge).Ensure that you know exactly what is included compared to what is considered an extra, as it may vary according to your builder. For example, it’s common for tiling to be quoted at a half-height, so if you would like your bathroom tiles to extend to the ceiling this may need to be factored into the additional costs.
  2. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made at this stage, so run through the house plans with someone who is experienced in design and layouts. The benefit of building new is that you can customise the space to suit you and your lifestyle, so ask what things can be altered and what can’t (i.e. structural changes).While the floor plan may look great it’s also a good idea to ask for elevation plans from all aspects to get a real sense of how it will feel and what the outlook will be. This is also the time to consider things like insulation, ceiling heights and the style of windows that you require. Think about privacy, energy efficiency, orientation and the best use of the space that you have when finalising plans.
  3. Liveability is important, after all this is your home and where you will be spending time with friends and family. It’s helpful to mark out the room sizes in your current home to gage how much space you will have, and if it’s really the same size as you picture it. Some bedrooms are only designed for a single bed, or alternatively you may find a space is larger than you require.
  4. The electrical plan is also very important, so make a list of where you commonly use power sockets and ensure that they are included – for example you may need one in the hallway for vacuuming, in the kitchen for various appliances, by the bed for a lamp, and somewhere handy for your phone or laptop. Data points and TV antennas are another thing that need to be in the right place, as they are a pain to move down the track. If you love to entertain have a look at the kitchen design and if you can easily chat to guests while preparing food. Imagine using the area and how everything would work – where would your chopping board and appliances sit, and is there plenty of bench space?
  5. While a property manager will usually be managing the actual build, it’s recommended that you stop by the site if possible to check on progress. Open communication is key, and by staying involved you will be informed of any potential issues as they arise and be able to ask questions about the process. You are authorised to check the building site at any stage during construction, however for safety reasons it’s recommended that you are always accompanied by a builder or their representative.If you would like to make any changes at this stage they must be agreed to by the builder or trades person, and any additional costs associated with the amendments to the original plans must be put in writing and agreed to by all parties.
  6. If any part of the building work doesn’t look like how it was written in your contract or is defective you should discuss the concern with your builder as soon as possible. Confirm in writing the agreed course of action to resolve any issues, and if required you can ask an independent building inspector to check and monitor any work.
  7. Do a final inspection before the official handover. Check all finishes are up to standard, and nothing has been left incomplete that should have be included as per the plan. Grab your phone charger and check the power sockets, test the oven works, and give everything a once over so that you are completely satisfied that the house is ready.
  8. Set up all of the utilities at the house. This includes power, gas, water, internet, and anything else that you will need to get connected. Make sure that you have insurance to cover both your possessions and the actual home if anything should happen.
  9. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your beautiful new home!