Building a new home is exciting and also comes with trepidation.

But how do you go about choosing a builder as there is a vast array to choose from and many display homes to visit?

Do I go off plans?

Do I go off the ‘look’ of a house?

Do I go off the ‘feel’ of a house?

Do I look for the cheapest house?

All these questions are valid.

Some really important considerations include:

Choose the builder not the plan.

Quality and finish of the house; your new home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make and you want it to last. Even if your plans are only to stay for a few years you want your home to stand the test of time. This makes it not only more enjoyable to live in but financial sense when you go to sell.

When you visit the display look at how it is finished. Many people say they can ‘feel’ the quality of a home. This is attributed to what you can see but importantly the many things that you can’t.

A few things to ask:

  • How many coats of paint are used?
  • Is the paint low VOC?
  • What is the brand of standard cooking appliances?
  • What is the brand of standard hot water systems?
  • What type of termite treatment is included as standard?
  • What are the standard stud widths?


A good builder will have a good reputation and should be able to provide you with testimonials and references. It is important to find out how other clients felt about the entire process – sales, construction and maintenance. A reputation that is built on word of mouth and repeat business speaks volumes about the quality of builder.

Speak to referees and ask them about their experience.

A few things to ask:

  • Can you provide testimonials?
  • Can you provide recent testimonials from people who have built more than 5 year ago?
  • Can you provide 3 references I can contact?

A plan you love and meets your needs

Many people fall in love with a plan but a good builder won’t “sell” you a plan they will work with you to achieve a home that meets all of your needs. They should ask lots of questions about how you live, what you want from your home and about the site you are building on. It is their job to work out if one of their standard plans works for you are needs a bit a tweaking taking into consideration the layout that works for your family, has a the look and feel you want, energy efficient orientation, aspect and most importantly cost.

Choose a plan but discuss with the Sales Advisor your needs. Let them guide and help you find a home that you will love to live in because it works for your lifestyle.

A couple of things to ask:

  • Can you help me find a plan that meets my needs?
    • Have a written list of your “Musts” “Maybes” and “Hope So’s”.
  • What would be the best orientation of a plan to suite my block?

Building to a Budget

Most people understand that you get what you pay for but nobody wants to pay more than what they should. Everyone has a budget and everyone finds it difficult to stick to whether you’re are spending $200K or $1M. Be clear about what your budget is. A good builder will be transparent with their cost and have a fixed price contract alleviating the possible “surprise” cost after constructions begins. Avoid PC Sums or allowances and make sure the total cost of the Engineered Slab Design is included in the contract. It is imperative that you understand what you are getting in your specifications and contract and if you don’t know ask questions. There is no point in purchasing a Cheap House only to find out once you have signed there were costs you didn’t know about or inclusions you don’t get. A Cheap house can soon become an expensive house that isn’t quite what you wanted.

Everyone has a budget, the key is working with the builder to make sure you understand what you are getting for your money and you can get the most out of your dollar.

A few things to ask:

  • Do you have fixed priced contracts?
  • Do you do soil test and engineered slab design prior to contract?
  • What is the quoting process?
  • What costs are not included?