‘Private’ Builder or ‘Project home’ builder?

How do you make this decision?

  1. Read review websites
  2. Talk to friends that have built
  3. Visit home shows
  4. Visit display home villages
  5. Roam the streets identifying houses that you like and working out who built them
  6. Talk to builders
  7. All of the above and anything else you can thing of.

For us it was ‘7 – all of the above’.

We went down the path of looking at a few ‘private’ builders rather than ‘project’ builders. We were lucky enough to get onto a couple of guys (Bob Lay Builders and Craig Rynne Constructions (Craig does some amazing Hampton style houses!)) that were really good and really honest. For what we wanted to do, these guys were great for having open and frank conversations about what was possible to do within our budget.  It was from these discussions were came to our first cross road! Do we go down the path of a private builder or down the ‘project’ builder?

After a fairly quick look at what was out there in ‘project’ builder land, it quickly became apparent that we could get more house (square metres) from the project builders than we could with the private builders. However the private builders would be able to give us more of a ‘customised’ house in terms of design but mostly in terms of customisation of kitchens, bathrooms etc and with the quality of finishes.

So what to do? In the end we decided that we would prefer to have a bigger house with a more standard finish than a slightly smaller house with a higher level of finish.

Right now, four months after making that decision, I’m still not sure it was the right one. But I tell myself that we can always live in the new house for a few years and then upgrade the finishes once the new house feel has worn off! That’s what I keep telling myself anyway….

So for us we decided to use a ‘project home’ builder option. But which one?!


Buying a house with the plan to knock it down and rebuild

So we had been passively looking around the suburbs near where we live for a bigger house on a bigger block of land that we currently live in for about 6 months. More keeping an eye on the price properties were selling for than actual serious house hunting.

However, everything in the Tennyson/Graceville area that was in our budget had unfortunately been flood effected in 2011. Having been impacted by the 2011 floods in our current house – fortunately not too badly, but badly enough that we didn’t want to go through it every again, we were not keen to consider buying any of these properties.

After about 6 months our interest had waned and come early December 2012, buying a property was probably the last thing on our minds. And then we come home and in our letter box was a flyer for an auction for a house in our street, on a nice block, about 1.8m higher than our current place and that was ‘high and dry’ in 2011.  On the following Saturday we decided to at least have a look through given it was just up the street.

Having looked through the house, and more importantly liking the look of the block, we had a chat to the real estate agent who gave us an indication that the seller was keen to sell and that the property could go for a fair price at the auction.

That was enough for us! That following week we spoke to our bank, our solicitor (conveyancing), council (for plans/sewerage etc) and to a building inspection guy.

In our minds, we thought we should at least be prepared to make a bid at the auction if the property was well priced. There would be nothing worse than finding out later that the house had gone for a bargain price!

So luckily for us, the bank was on board, the conveyancing was good, nothing from Council put us off and the building inspection guy told us “if you weren’t planning on knocking this place down in a couple of years, I would have told you to run as fast as you can from this place! But it should be ok until you knock it down”.

That was all we needed to be ready for the auction on 22 December 2012.

The auction was interesting in itself and i certainly displayed my lack of experience in dealing with auctioneers but long story short, we got the house for a price we were happy to pay. A very exciting Saturday just before Christmas!

house bought at auction

Min and B house building blog – 1st post!


Well we have decided to ‘do a blog’ to capture all the fun of our new house building adventure!

We are already a few months into the whole process so there will be a bit of a flurry of posts of some of the things we have already done and of the things we would do differently (ha the lessons learnt that we would do if we ever built again!).

The aim of this blog is to have somewhere that we can capture our thoughts at each particular moment during the build.  If someone else reads this, please excuse my poor writing/spelling/grammar but hopefully there will be an idea or something interesting that you might pick up on if you decided to build!

Anyway, there’s our first post! Yay for us!