REIQ Gladstone Zone chair Alicia Williams explores the different options buyers can choose from when looking to build their dream home.

Where do you start?

When it comes to purchasing land and building your own home, the amount of information available can be overwhelming. Before contacting builders or draftsman, you need to establish your budget, preferences and desired time frame. From there, you can start by picking a plan and looking for a suitable block to build on. Alternatively, you can look for your ideal block first, then pick or design a plan that suits the land. Once you begin researching the market and the options available for you, it is likely that your plans will change.

Going off a builder’s plans versus hiring a draftsman

Most builders will be able to meet you onsite on a block you are considering and wok through key issues such as block retaining, slope/fall, access, setbacks, fencing and orientation. This will also provide guidance on the layout and design of the home you choose. There are also estate covenants and building guidelines to consider, which maintain a certain standard and aesthetic of the area. You can use a draftsman if you want to design your own home rather than use a builder’s plan. This also enables you to get a builder’s quote on all of the extra you like, rather than paying for added variations at the end.

Financing the build

Once you have picked a plan and a block of land, the next step is financing the build. Some people will buy a block of land first and then build some time later. Others will buy the land and house build together, commonly referred to as a house and land package. This can have its advantages when obtaining finance because the bank will look at the whole deal together. A valuer will likely be consulted on behalf of the bank to provide an assessment on whether the cost of the build and the value of the land stack up. If you have a large deposit or are paying cash this can help streamline the process.

Budgeting for delays

After the land has settled and the build has been financed, the next step is for the council to approve the building plans. This can take up to a few weeks or a few months, depending on the building activity in your local area. Building a house can take anywhere between four to six months for a standard-size home. You should also allow for weather delays and budget for additional variations as you build. If you are considering building, one of the best places you can start is by visiting display homes in your area.

Keep in mind that most display homes are done at a high-spec level but irrespective of this, you can get a good feel for the size, layout and flow of a home and whether it is right for you.