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News & Inspiration

What is the process of building a house?

Dec 12, 2017 | Choosing Land, Inspiration

The process of building a house

You’re ready to start the next phase of your life in a brand new home, but where do you even begin? What are the steps of building a house and achieving the Australian dream?


  1. Decide on your current and future needs
  2. Choose a builder
  3. Choose (and adapt) a home design
  4. Apply for a home loan
  5. Sign the contract
  6. Monitor the build
  7. Complete the handover

1. Decide on your current and future needs

It may seem obvious but it is a really good idea to take stock of your needs before you get started. Not just your current needs, but also your future needs.

  • How long do you intend to live in your new house?
  • Are you likely to need to extend in the future; is your family growing?
  • Is the house for your own use or will it be an investment property?
  • What is your budget? This will have huge implications for what you can do now, and what might have to wait until later.
  • Where do you want to live? How close do you need to be to work, schools, friends and family?
  • What does your family require? How many bedrooms do you want? How many bathrooms do you want? Do you want an alfresco area? Do you want an open plan design?

2. Choose a builder

Now you have some idea of what you’re looking for in your new home, let’s turn our attention to who should be building it. It is important to do your research and weigh up your options and make sure the builder you choose is right for you and your project. Get recommendations from friends, do research online and talk to builders.

If your home design or block poses particular challenges or opportunities, such as a sloping site, it is a good idea to work with builders who are used to dealing with this kinds of issues.

Get detailed plans from potential builders – these should include accurate costings for each aspect of your home. Ensure that the contract the builder provides covers everything and includes a timeline for completion. Make sure you get the preparation of plans agreement, home indemnity insurance, building contract and contract variations agreement looked at by a solicitor or conveyancer before you sign.


3. Choose (and adapt) a home design

There are endless opportunities when it comes to home designs so it is important that you choose one that will support your family and their lifestyle. Talk to your builder about what would work for you and what they would recommend. Visit display homes and other examples of their work to get a sense of the quality of their building work and finishes.

Home design options

Some things to think about when it comes to some of the home design options are:

  • Will your home be single storey or double storey?
  • Aesthetically what would you prefer: something traditional, something modern? Should the home fit in with the other buildings around it or stand out?
  • If you are looking for the new house to be an investment property you might look at dual occupancy residence designs.
  • Are you starting from scratch, or do you intend to knock down, rebuild? This might have implications for what you can do with your existing block.

Floor plans

A reputable builder should be able to provide you with detailed floor plans for a home design. How do the spaces work together? Do they flow well? Are they open plan, or more defined spaces; and which would you and your family prefer? Is there enough bedrooms for your current needs? And how do different spaces open onto each other?

Fixtures, finishes, facades and inclusions

While two homes may have identical floor plans, the fixtures, finishes and inclusions may give them a very different feel, function and experience. It is important to think about the kind of aesthetic you want your future home to have. Should it be luxurious, or child-friendly (easy to clean)? Are there particular colours and materials that you have always loved, or are you being led more by current trends? If you are tempted to follow current trends, what options do you have to change them moving forward? Are they likely to date quickly?

Does your home design come with modern inclusions such as stylish finishes and kitchen and bathroom and laundry appliances? Or is this something you will have to buy separately at the end of the build?

Customisation options

It is important that you remember that you’re at the heart of this project. Make sure your builder is prepared to work with you to ensure your finished home is right for you and your family.

4. Apply for a home loan

Getting your finances right is very important. You need to work out how much your new home project is likely to cost and make sure you have the approval from your lender ahead of time.

Questions to ask:

  • How much deposit will you need?
  • How will progress payments be determined? (Get your solicitor or conveyancer to check the contract.)
  • How much will Stamp Duty be?
  • What legal fees will you need to pay?
  • What costs are associated with your loan?

Having a broker to navigate the intricacies of the financial products is a great way to assure you settle on a home loan that fits with your unique situation. Our friends at Corporate Finance Group are a trustworthy source of vital information. Give them a call today on (02) 4228 6312.

5. Sign the contract

Review the contract carefully with your solicitor or conveyancer. The details really matter here, so don’t leave anything to chance. If something is ambiguous make sure it is clarified and written expressly into the contract. You need to feel confident in the document you are signing.

As Chris Reardon notes it is important to find the right balance between your needs and your builder’s needs:

Choose a contract that strikes a reasonable balance between your needs and those of your builder. Clear dispute resolution provisions and nominated independent arbitrators are essential. Annex the builder’s tender, council approved plans and specifications, certified engineering details and any schedules (prime cost, contingency sums or nominated suppliers/contractors) to the contract.

Remember to check local laws and council requirements in your local area to see if the contract complies with local standards. Make sure your builder is responsible for securing building licences and permits from relevant authorities.

Getting insurance before the construction starts can help protect your land, your new property and the safety of people visiting the site.

6. Monitor the build

It is important to stay involved at every stage of construction, so you can choose the design elements and make sure it stays on time and on budget.

It is a good idea to keep a record of important details of the project in writing. Think about making notes about discussions you have had with the builder, updates on progress, copies of letters and notices, information about the weather, as well as progress shot photographs of the site.

7. Complete the handover

You’ve made it! It’s time to collect the keys, make any final payments and move into your wonderful new house. Make sure you receive copies of relevant warranties and certificates as per your contract. Don’t forget to get the builder’s written authority that the building is completed and safe to move into.

There are many steps to actually building your new home, but with a bit of research, the right builder, and the right legal advice, you can build your new home without too many headaches!

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