So we’ve constructed this blog article to help you on your new journey of where to start, what to research and what to consider when making your selections.
The cardinal rule - don’t forget, you’re not only buying land and building a home but you’re investing in it. You wouldn’t flush your money down a toilet so make sure you consider your needs now and the future resale potential of your decisions - Be smart.
1. Speak to the banks or a mortgage broker and determine your budget
Many banks offer what’s called a Land & Construction Loan for people wanting to buy land and build. We recommend researching and speaking to a mortgage broker or a couple of banks to compare interest rates and deals. This will give you an indication of how much you can spend on both the land and the build and therefore guide your decisions of locations you can afford to buy and builders you can work with. Gaining pre-approval is huge help in being able to make decisions throughout the research and selection processes.
2. Buy your perfect block of land
It’s a good idea when picking the location of your land, no matter if it's North, South, East or West of Brisbane, to do some research that’s a little bit out of the ordinary and beyond the standard report on current and historical value of housing & rentals in the area. Each of the following could affect the value or liveability of the location and are especially important if you’re going to be moving into your new home.
Check and see if the community has a facebook page and what sort of things the residents are talking about in the discussion forums. This could give an indication of the advantages or challenges of the area and also who your neighbours will be.
Do a drive by of the area at night or during peak hour. This will determine the kind of delays you’ll face getting in and out of the suburb. If you go at night, you’ll also soon find out if someone has a band in their garage, an out of control barking dog or if it’s a peaceful location.
Have a chat to friends and family about the location. This could bring to light if the area has a positive or negative reputation.
Do a Google News search and see if anything pops up that could attract or deter you. For example, local government announces new public transport routes through the area could add value to local properties.
Check council websites about the area. This could indicate if it’s a known high risk flood or fire zone. For example Brisbane City Council have these handy tools for lots within the council zone - Brisbane City Council Flood Awareness Map & Brisbane City Plan - Bushfire Overlay
Find out what infrastructure the area has. Infrastructure can determine the future value of your home for example are their schools nearby, medical facilities, shopping centres, parks or public transport. If there are, then there’s a good chance this will increase the appeal and value of the land you purchase for future buyers.
3. Shortlist Builders and start talking to them
Thanks to Google, finding any sort of service has become incredibly easy and it's no different for builders. Start a google search with the area and the word builder (for example "South Brisbane Builder") and beginning clicking away on builders websites. Check out their home designs, house & land packages, where they build and what they include. Once you've got a list of potential builders start to talk to them and research them a bit further. You are afterall, about to spend the most amount of money you ever will in your personal life, this decisions takes time and thorough consideration. Here are some things to do to help narrow down your list event further.
Check if they have house & land packages. Many builders in South East Queensland work closely with land developers and real estate agents meaning there’s a good chance that the builder you speak to will have access to land that will suit your needs or know someone else who does. Jump on their websites and see what they offer. Keep in mind they may have some gems not loaded up on online so it may require a phone call.
Find out what costs are included in their home prices. Do their home prices include things like site costs, administrative costs, home inclusions you would expect like flooring, the type of benchtop, kitchen appliances, automatic garage door, connection point for NBN. If items like these are excluded, it could lead to a nasty shock down the road. This information can be found in the inclusions sections of most builders websites.
Visit their display homes and see their work for yourself. When speaking to the onsite sales consultant, ask what promotions are available at the moment, you could nab a bargain. Also check if the display home you’re in has standard inclusions or if it has been upgraded for a wow effect. If it has been upgraded, what’s the difference in inclusions and price between the standard house design and the house you’re standing in.
Check previous customer reviews. Reviews are becoming powerful tools for consumers to keep businesses in check because reviews found on sites like google and facebook, are the real deal. The business cannot edit or delete the review except in very rare circumstances. So have a look and see what previous customers have said about their experience with the builder you’re considering.
Once you’ve followed these steps, you’ll have a pretty good idea of your bank, your location and you preferred builder and then it’s a matter of locking it all in! Good luck and happy house building.
Here are some more helpful resources to assist the beginning of your journey.