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How to, Construction, Housing - 5 min read

Simple Checklist for Building a New House

Jason Hook

Head of Sales and Marketing

Aug 23, 2018 11:53:00 AM

Building a new home as an owner-builder allows you to get more hands-on during the design, financing and construction process; bringing your dream home to life on your terms.

It’s a popular dream for many Australians, however, building a new house without a plan can easily result in high costs, a delayed project and unnecessary stress. 

To help you navigate the process, we’ve prepared a simple checklist for building a new house, including some key pointers to guide your planning at each stage of the project.


1. Financing

Perhaps the most important part of the entire process is knowing how much your new home will cost. There are many different cost factors to consider when building a new home, but start with preparing a budget based on what you can afford.

If you’re planning to finance your home, consider how much the loan will cost and how long it will take to pay it back. Talk with several lenders to determine the following:

  • The amount you qualify for
  • The down payment amount
  • The repayment period
  • Interest rates 

To qualify for a competitive rate, make sure you have a stable income, healthy savings, and a high credit score (typically scores of over 600 are preferred). This will give you access to lower interest rates and lower down payment amounts.


2. Location

The next step is to determine where you would like your new home to be built. A location will determine the land regulations and fees that you may need to pay. 

Consider what you and your family’s preferences are when choosing a location. Do you want a home with a large front/backyard? Do you wish to be near a school or retail shops? 

You should also look into the process of obtaining a building permit in your area. If necessary, you can have a surveyor check the land for soil type, the height of the water table (if you wish to build a well), and accessibility to utility lines.


3. Selecting Contractors

Once you’ve secured financing and settled on a location to build, the next step is to look for a qualified contractor/builder. Selecting a builder who knows your location well is always a plus because they understand soil types, weather conditions, local building regulations and other factors that may affect your design preferences. 

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As you shop around for a contractor, make sure they meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Licensed
  • Insured (liability insurance)
  • Bonded (against any damage to your property)
  • References (to ensure quality of work)

The contractor should also be able to provide detailed estimates regarding their fees, material costs, subcontractor costs and other expenses you may need to incur.

Remember that working with the right builder will be key to achieving the home you’ve always wanted. Seek references from friends and family before making a final decision.


4. Choosing a Design

After you’ve selected a builder to work with, the next step is to choose a design for your home. Most builders have a library of template designs you can choose from.

If you’re more selective, you can hire a designer, architect and/or engineer to develop a custom home design from scratch. This will enable you to specify all dimensions, rooms and shapes exactly how you’d like them.


5. Determining Material Costs

Material costs will be the largest expense you incur when building a home. Once you have your design selected, you can save on costs by sourcing building materials yourself. Some builders may require that you purchase materials through them, while others may give you more flexibility.

If you’re free to source materials for your home, identify a reputable building supply firm, obtain a material estimate from your builder and submit it to at least three suppliers. Have them bid for the most competitive cost and ensure that your builder checks for quality. 


6. Preparing the Worksite

Next, the site will need to be prepared for construction. This includes carving out the driveway, digging the foundation, and routing utility supply lines. Most builders will take care of this step, but keep a close eye on what may need to be done by another contractor. 


7. Safety Considerations

During the design step, make sure you consider important safety features such as protection against fire and flooding. You may choose to install shock-proof windows, fire doors and heavy-duty roofs that protect against inclement weather.


8. Framing, Design and Final Touches

Once the worksite is prepared and construction of the home begins, make sure the outside framing is designed to your liking. You should also hire an interior designer to plan for the finishing touches (such as walls, floors, windows, and finishing options). 

To see how you can simplify the construction process with intelligent and affordable estimating software, get a free 14-day trial of Cubit today.

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