The MJH Group (originally McDonald Jones Homes) is a leading company with over 30 years of experience building across Australia. They now have 10 brands under their umbrella including Brighton Homes. Established in 2018, Brighton concentrates on developments in southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales.
In this review, we’ll discuss the pros, cons and crucial facts about Brighton Homes, looking at what customers have experienced and pointing out any patterns in their business. We’ll also provide you with some handy tips to keep in mind when choosing a Brighton home.
First, here’s the good news: Brighton is up front with many of their costs. Backed by the MJH building group, they have significant building experience and focus on a localised region, building from Gympie all the way down to Ballina, past Byron Bay. They have knowledge of the area and cater for the modern market with various design options.
The bad news? Like many builders, there is a $3000 deposit required before Brighton will give you all the details on a new build. The fixed price building contract turnaround can be quite long with an approximate 2-3 month wait. Inclusions can be confusing and, similar to many builders, they do not perform concreting in outdoor areas.
What we liked
- ✅Upfront with many of the costs
- ✅Cater for current design trends
- ✅Single story layout flows nicely
- ✅Build from Gympie to Byron Bay
- ✅Backed by an experienced Australian building group
What we didn’t like
- ⛔️$3000 deposit before knowing the details
- ⛔️2-3 months for a fixed-price contract
- ⛔️Concrete not provided for outdoor areas
- ⛔️QBCC asked to rectify defective work
- ⛔️Build steel frames as standard
Every builder’s process is unique, so we got in touch with Brighton to get a clearer picture of theirs. After speaking with reception, a sales assistant from their Loganholme office answered our questions about the following topics.
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What’s the Process?
Deposits and Fees
On Brighton’s website, the Kaiya 25 model is advertised at $222,900. Over the phone, our sales assistant estimated the true cost to be around $260,000 after including extras like these:
- A driveway allowance
- Council fees
- Relaxations from the council
To get a more accurate quote, Brighton charges a $3,000 drafting deposit for a build tender.
Build Times and Stages
Brighton Homes provide a rundown of the pre-building stages on their website, describing every step from initial consultation to commencement of construction:
Initial quote ► Preliminary agreement ► Consolidated tender ► Plan presentation ► MyChoice design studio ► Contract signing ► Building approval ► Authority to commence construction
Customers are provided with an initial quote and pay the drafting deposit to secure the quote price for 180 days (or approximately 6 months). Brighton mentioned that they are facing high demand due to the New Home Builder Grant. They estimate it’ll take 2-3 months before a new customer can get their fixed price build contract signed. This is quite a long while.
After signing, however, they predict it will take about 20 weeks to finish your build. That’s pretty fast considering the overwhelming demand for tradies right now. We would take this with a grain of salt; some of their customer feedback suggest between 6-12 months.
Who’s Looking after Me?
First, you design and plan your build with a sales representative. Then, they hand over your build to a project coordinator and site supervisor. These two folks will see your build through to its completion. Communication seems to be prompt with Brighton. If your site supervisor is ever busy, your project coordinator is there to talk.
Three weeks after practical completion, the Brighton Cares team will touch base with you regarding their after-care service and a 24 month warranty. While this is a good selling point, it is important to note some inconsistencies. According to one review, there was a complete breakdown of communication with the warranty and after-care team, leaving the owners with unresolved defects. Another review mentions they had poor communication throughout the entire process.
Brighton Homes built 7 houses in the 2013/2014 financial year. Last financial year (2020/2021), they built 528 houses. It may seem like their business has skyrocketed in only a few years, but it’s important to remember that Brighton Homes is actually an offshoot of McDonald Jones Homes. This means they have wide access to resources and plenty of connections to rapidly increase their number of projects.
In the past 5 years, Brighton Homes has been asked by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) to rectify bad workmanship twice (once in 2017 and once in 2018). In both cases, they had to fix non-structural damage.
Brighton Homes has a 5 star rating on productreview.com.au, and mostly positive reports. Past clients have been happy with their customer service and value for money in particular. There are only a few complaints, so we’ll go over them briefly as well.
However, two things caught our eye — first, the Brighton Homes team respond to every review regardless of the rating, which is a plus. Second, there is a disparity in the number of views seen online. Product Review shows over 500 reviews with an overwhelming average of 5 out of 5 stars, but there is some concern with their credibility. In comparison, Google shows only 19 reviews in total. Their average score is 3.8 out of 5. We are sceptical of the positivity shown on Product Review because the company has built over 500 homes; we expected to see more reviews across multiple platforms. There are also a higher proportion of negative reviews on Google which gives us a clearer insight on the business.
In the review below, this customer was really pleased with Brighton’s ease and clarity in communication. They mention an online communication portal that connected them to their site supervisor and build team. They also mention frequent photo updates from their builder. Happy days!
In this person’s build, they were unpleasantly surprised by a $13,500 bushfire overlay. This overlay was then removed after they pointed it out to Brighton Homes. That’s a lot of money to accidentally be included in a quote. Make sure you check which council fees are actually applicable to your build. Your builder may not always have the best information.
Similarly, a one-star rating on Google shows the frustration experienced in a shifting quote price. Remember that your quote price is only secured for 180 days after paying the initial deposit. Ensure you are aware of all the timeframes and terms of your deposit.
This last review, we see a situation that is quite common in home building. Like many other building companies, Brighton Homes does not include any concrete paving for outdoor areas. This customer did not expect to be charged $4,000 for their Alfresco.
From the response, we can see there is some uncertainty about whether $4,000 is too much to pave an alfresco. This is why it’s a good idea to speak with a building broker before you pay for a fixed price build contract. A broker is on your team and they will tell you which prices are reasonable.
Brighton’s designs often have bold eaves, long windows and stained timber cladding near the entrance. We’ve shown a few of their facades below.
We’ve noticed the Kaiya 25 (3rd from the top left) showcases some common themes in their design range:
Kaiya 25: A Look Inside
Stepping through the front door, we can already see straight through to the backyard. That’s great feng shui! In other words, passage flows easily through the length of the house.
Along the hall, we see the house is decked by laminate floors and nice wallpaper. While the flooring is included in main living areas, carpets are actually standard for Brighton’s bedrooms. The fancy wallpaper below won’t come cheap either:
Moving to the common area, we see an open plan connects the kitchen, living and dining spaces. Brighton Homes says minor changes to your internal floorplan shouldn’t cost you extra in drafting fees. However, adding rooms to the outside of your plan will cost you.
Inclusions and Upgrades
The features in Brighton’s display homes are all part of the “Already Yours – 2021 Gallery Inclusions”. However, Brighton’s lowest tier of inclusions fall under their “Already Yours – 2021 Studio Inclusions”, which are cheaper. Here are the standard inclusions you will see in a new Brighton Home:
What’s Included in the Studio Range?
- ✅Ducted aircon
- ✅Solar panels
- ✅Tiling or timber look laminate flooring
- ✅A splashback and rangehood in the kitchen
- ✅A 2440mm ceiling height
What’s NOT in the Studio Range?
- ⛔️Concrete to outdoor areas
- ⛔️Flooring for upstairs, bedrooms or wet areas
- ⛔️Retaining walls
- ⛔️Rubbish or rock removal from site
- ⛔️Textured wallpaper
Brighton’s display homes are located at the following locations:
- Splendour Street, Rochedale, 4123
- Leslie Crescent, Caloundra West, QLD, 4551
- Cypress Street, Park Ridge, 4125
- Acacia Loop, Greenbank, QLD 4124
- Olive Avenue, Greenbank, QLD, 4124
- Canavalia Street, Palmview, 4553
- Kingfisher Street, Springfield, 4300
- Cardinal Crescent, Newport, 4020
- Cnr Unity Lane & Amity Way, South Ripley, QLD, 4306
- Ridge Parade, Narangba, 4504
- Clover Way, Helensvale, QLD, 4212
- 3926 Pacific Highway, Loganholme, QLD, 4129
Tips from Buildi
Here’s what we’ve learned about working with Brighton Homes to keep on top of your build and budget.
Tip 1: Make sure you know what you want.
With 72 home designs listed on Brighton’s website as of May 2021, it is important to take your time and research the layout and inclusions that are important to you.
Tip 2: Before you pay the deposit…
Make sure you clarify everything that is included in the initial quote.
Tip 3: Meet your site supervisor.
Try to have a good working relationship with them. Brighton Homes segments its process into 2 parts: sales (the front end of the business) and construction (the back end). This is not an unusual business practice and like many building companies, it can result in inconsistent levels of customer service.
As a builder with plenty of experience Brighton Homes has a large portfolio and active online presence. The reviews are difficult to judge, and we recommend looking carefully into your inclusions and knowing what to expect out of your quoted price.
Not sure whether Brighton Homes is the right builder for you? That’s where we come in. Let us take the guesswork out of buying a home and ensure you know what to expect, how much you’re paying and what you will receive at handover. Give us a ring and we’ll answer all your questions.