Building Your New Home Checklist
A new house can be one of the most exciting life events. Building a new home in Perth can be a hassle-free experience if you take into account the following important considerations.
Setting a Budget
The first question to ask is "What can I afford to build?" Work out a budget that includes all costs, including land purchase, legal and other professional fees, duty, site works and building costs, and labour costs. The budget should include post-construction costs, such as furnishings and landscaping, moving expenses, and other related costs. Once you have worked out what it will cost, determine if you can afford it and look into whether you need financing. You may also be eligible for financial assistance from the Government of Western Australia, including the Department of Housing, the First Home Owner Grant from the Department of Finance, and the Home Buyers Assistance Account from the Department of Commerce. Consider a range of financing packages to ensure you get the best one.
When looking at potential sites, ask yourself if the location meets your needs. Look into local amenities, including links to existing and planned transportation services, as well as proximity to places like hospitals, schools, shops and other services. Also check to see that the site is easily linked to utilities such as sewers, water and electricity since making these connections can be costly.
Before purchasing land, check the land title with Landgate to determine if there are any development restrictions. Checking title will also confirm the current land owner. You should also consult with the local government to see what future plans or planning restrictions apply. The City of Perth is also a good resource to determine what your tax rates and advise you on past uses of the land.
When considering the site, look at its size and shape and whether it can accommodate your plans. You should consider the orientation of the home and how sunlight and sightlines will affect the enjoyment of the property. Look at whether site works are necessary, including tree or rock removal, levelling and drainage works, and other remediation. When discussing the design with your builder or an architect, make sure there is sufficient clearance according to local planning requirements and how you can introduce energy efficient design elements. Other considerations include determining whether you need retaining walls and confirming if any existing dividing fences are on the boundary and not on your property.
Preparing to Build a New House
Since building a new house involves a lot of paperwork involved in building a home, create a filing system to keep track of all your documents. If using a builder, look at what other work the developer or builder has undertaken and seek out previous customers. Make sure you choose a builder that is registered with the Western Australia Building Commission. If you are building the house yourself, get an owner-builder approval from the Building Commission.
Work with the developer or builder to understand various design options, including materials that will be used. Check the building plans and specifications carefully. Make sure you understand them before you approve the design, and understand whether changes can be made once the plans are approved. Make sure all your requests are reflected in the plans before planning approval is obtained. You or your builder will need to get planning approval from the relevant shire before construction starts. Once plans are finalised, look at the total costs and confirm that you have the financing necessary to follow through. Make sure you understand what is and is not included in the price, and ensure everything is in writing to avoid misunderstandings down the road.
When you are ready to sign the contract, check it carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities, total costs and what's included, when deposits and payments are required, the construction timetable, and how any conflicts will be resolved. There is no cooling off period, so it is normally not possible to change your mind once a contract is signed. Seek legal advice if you do not understand the contract or need clarification. Before construction starts, the contract must be signed by you and the builder. Make sure that your builder has provided you with a signed contact and related documents, such as the building plans, certificate of home indemnity insurance and proof of public liability insurance, and written specification of workmanship and materials. You should also provide your builder with a copy of land ownership.
Before construction begins, you as an owner-builder or your builder should ensure all approvals have been sought, including approval from the Water Corporation. Consent should also be sought from any neighbours if construction will affect their property. Meet with your builder before construction starts to discuss any last minute changes.
Once construction begins, check on the site regularly to see how things are progressing. Make sure that specifications are following your approved plans. Also confirm that materials, fixtures, and other aspects of the house are aligning with what was agreed upon. Record any important information and take photographs of any concerns. If there are problems, deal directly with the builder or their supervisor and not the tradespeople.
Once construction is finished, your builder will inform you that the home has reached practical completion. When this happens, look over the property to see that the house is habitable. This will be when your final payment is due, even if minor changes or work is still needed. If there are any disputes, contact the Building Commission. Any complaints can be made within 6 years from practical completion.
When you are ready to move into the new house, look carefully at the workmanship and request any addition work if there are problems. Check that all doors, windows and other fixtures work properly. Make sure paint, varnish and concrete have dried before moving in any furnishings. Also, arrange connections for telephone, gas and electricity service connections, and let the Water Corporation and City of Perth know that you are moving in. Notify the post office in order to have your mail redirected. Also, be sure to change your address for your vehicle and drivers licences, voter registration, bank, employer, Medicare, insurance, and others.
If you are looking for a highly experienced, reputable company to help you design, manage and build your new home contact Designer Homes Perth for a free initial consultation. DHP can undertake any type of residential building project from custom homes to full or partial renovations and extensions.