Help and advice

The 4P's When Choosing Your Builder

Deciding to build a new home is exciting and you want to get everything just right. This is not only a significant step for your lifestyle, but also a major financial decision.

Choosing the right builder is the first and most important step you can take on a journey that is likely to take around 12 months. Always remember that your builder is both your building partner and your consultant – a trusted advisor that will act in your best interest.

We refer to the 4 P’s that can give you confidence from the beginning that you have made the right choice – product, people, process and price.

Product:

The size, frontage and location of your land will most likely dictate the type of product that is suitable. Most project home builders have a range of designs to offer you - single storey, double storey or a combination too build a house & granny flat. However, there is no-one size to fit all and so you may need your builder to have some flexibility in the design to suit your specific lifestyle needs.

Additionally, you should also look at the standard inclusions available to you including promotional offers.

Process:

The process begins the moment you meet a consultant and start a conversation. Questions you might ask yourself are:

  • Are the initial discussions consultative- it is about you and your home?
  • Are you offered advice and suggestions that you may not have considered without pushing you to the product the builder really wants to sell?
  • Is the entire process explained to you?
  • Are you just offered brochures and asked for your details and a deposit?

There are immediate “red flags” to be mindful of:

  • Never accept a fixed price quote without the builder having completed site and authority costs? These are the foundational aspects of your site and are outside of your control. A trustworthy builder who is and will be transparent will insist on these reports before giving you a price for your home.
  • Does the builder work through all the preliminary reporting requirements with you before locking you in to a contract to build. You will have to outlay some funds for mandatory reports. A reputable builder will give these reports to you irrespective whether you continue with them.

It is important to note that just as much you are trying to protect yourself and build the home of your dreams, so too the building company needs to protect itself. Attention to detail and making certain that you are fully aware of all aspects of your build is the cornerstone of a solid building process and a strong partnership with your builder.

Don’t succumb to pressure to commit before you have been given all the information you need to make a considered decision.

Communication over the extended time to build is of major importance. You must have a clear understanding what that process will be, how often you can expect to hear of progress and what you do if you have questions, issues or concerns.

People:

The reality is that you will buy from people that you like and have developed a trusting relationship with. You will quickly develop this relationship the more time you spend with your builder, as you learn about the product and process and have confidence in the information you are given. Naturally, you will feel more comfortable to a builder that listens, understands and is willing to compromise as much as possible.

Your builder must offer you continuity of service and a team of people that work with you throughout.

You should know about the entire team – not just sales staff, but also building supervisors, colour consultants and anyone else that will be part of turning a patch of land into your home. They need to be subject matter experts and be willing to advise you every step of the way. After all you will be together for the next 9 to 12 months.

Price:

Price is important, and you will have a budget to maintain – but sometimes compromise is needed from both your builder and you.

Preparation of the inclusions you want in your home is the key and you do need to communicate this to your builder. It is advisable as best you can, to document everything you need throughout your home. Your builder’s experienced colour consultants are integral in working with you to get these features right for you.

You should always obtain a fixed price for the infrastructure and inclusions.

However, it is understood that you may change your mind during different stages of the build. Changes can affect the final price of your home, but the fundamentals should remain the same.

One final note on price is that neither you nor your builder should compromise price for quality as that ...... in the long term ……. is not sustainable.

How do you choose a builder?

Pay careful attention to the 4 P’s – Product, Process, People and Price. Make sure that your builder has 3 key aspects in dealing with you:

  • Transparent and honest in their initial and ongoing dealings with you
  • Able to communicate effectively before construction begins and through all building phases
  • Are flexible to work with you to achieve the home that best suits your needs
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