Buying land and building a new home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make and can be quite daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Follow our 8 steps to guide you through the journey into the world of home building before you take the plunge.
1: Do Your Research
Do all the research you can prior to deciding where to build. New land estates differ greatly; some have overhead powerlines and some are underground. Many have incorporated green spaces into their landscape design, but is there enough and is it close enough to your potential new home? Is the location suitably close to schools, work and public transport? Naturally, the things that are a priority for one person may not be important to another, so take the time to work out what really matters to you.
2: Set Your Budget & Finance
Budget is obviously one of the major contributors in your buying decision, so work it out early and try to be as realistic as possible. Remember that you’ll need to factor in extra costs on top of the purchase price such as conveyancer costs, state taxes, stamp duties and other fees.
Get in touch with an experienced financial lender who can help you choose the right institution and loan type, arrange pre-approval where necessary and ensure you have covered all bases when it comes to budget.
When you’re building new, you may be entitled to Government grants or rebates in South Australia that will help you with your budget - click here to find out more about what’s available.
3: Find Your Land
Once your budget is set and you’ve done enough research to know where and what you’re looking to buy, it’s time to start looking around and find that perfect spot to build. There are so many factors to consider at this stage, from lot size, shape, frontage and slope, to encumbrances and access to services.
4: Pick Your Home Design
Found the perfect block? Once you’ve secured the allotment, it’s time to finalise your choice of builder, home design and all the exciting parts like finishes, fittings and colours. At this stage most people usually have a reasonable idea of the home design they’re after and which builder they want to work with - just make sure you are completely happy that you’ve made the right choice before you move any further into the process.
With your design and floorplan selected, you’ll most likely have an appointment with an interior designer or architect to select and finalise your colour schemes, fixtures and fittings and make any last minute changes to the design of your home. You might be tempted to upgrade to all the bells and whistles, but keep your budget at the forefront of your mind and remember that every alteration you make will have a big impact on that final figure you have in mind.
Once that’s all confirmed you’ll be given a final building contract to sign and be required to pay a deposit for your build. Make sure you got through every detail of this contract before you sign, as now is the time to make any changes or pick up any errors - it will only be more expensive and more difficult to make these later on!
5: Site Testing, Land Settlement & Approvals
Once your block of land is titled, your builder will prepare a soil test and update any costs if required. They’ll then arrange external approval, including formalising unconditional finance approval for your construction with your lender, obtaining building permits and finally prepare the site for construction. Remember that you’re required to pay the final balance on your land and settle before your builder can prepare the site for construction.
6: Commencement of Construction
Construction commences! There are 5 main stages of construction as listed below, and generally your builder will invoice a percentage of your overall contract at the completion of each stage.
- The slab is poured
- The frame goes up
- Lockup (the stage where your home is now secure)
- Fixing (when all your beautiful new fixtures and finishes go in)
- Completion (the most exciting part!)
At construction completion, most builders will go through your new home with you for a final inspection. Take your time here and voice any concerns you may have - this is your last chance to make any changes before sign off. Your financial lender may also request an inspection to release the final payment to the builder.
7: Construction Settlement
Once your inspection is finished and you’ve signed off, you’ll need to settle on the construction component of your new home and prepare to move in! Be sure to arrange home insurance, gas, electricity, internet and water connections now, as these can take a few days to connect sometimes and make living in your new home difficult!
8: Hand Over & Move In
All settled? Congratulations! Your builder will handover your keys (and hopefully a celebratory bottle of wine) and you can move on in! Make sure you are aware of all requirements of yourself as a homeowner when it comes to warranties and guarantees - you want to make sure that ‘love my new home’ feeling lasts!