Custom homes break moulds! While some are happy to choose their home from a menu, others dare to get creative! This article will help you weigh up the risks of building a custom home and help you make smart decisions. We’re going to look at some pros and cons of custom designs. We will also give some examples of just how risky a custom build can be. Most importantly, our TOP TIPS will help you create your dream home without headaches.
✅Pros of a Custom Home
- Location: If you’re working with a difficult site (perhaps on a slope or with difficult accessibility), many project home builders won’t be able to cater to your needs. Let’s say you live among the gumtrees on the side of a mountain. In this case, a custom design will be your only choice.
- Personalisation: Personalisation of taste (design control) allows you to let your creativity flow. It’s also a great way to make sure your home serves your needs. For instance, a formal lounge may be right for some, but an absolute waste of space for others. Countless variables can be changed inside and outside your walls. After some research, you may find alternative fittings and finishes make your design come alive. Instead of conforming to what the market says your house should be like, you can make it your own. No one else will have the same house as you!
- Functionality: Everyone uses their floorspace differently. Building a custom home means you get to decide exactly how big you want each room to be. You might want to change an extra bedroom into a study at some point, or maybe you’ll get another car. A custom home is the best way to future-proof the functionality of your house.
- Quality: If you build a custom home, your builder may use higher-quality materials than if you buy off-the-plan. This means you might save a lot of time and money on maintenance costs.
- Transparency: Participating in the planning of your house gives you lots of flexibility and information. Many of your structures, fittings and furnishings will come with a warranty direct from the manufacturer. These warranties could save you a bunch if anything breaks. You will also get the chance to communicate effectively with subcontractors.
⛔️Cons of a Custom Home
- Initial Costs: Custom homes have higher upfront fees. You will need to pay for services leading up to getting a quote from a builder. This can become very costly if plans fall through.
- Smaller Contractors: Typically, custom home builders are also smaller and at higher risk of insolvency. If you’re not careful, you could get stuck with a large amount of debt and an empty plot of land! CLICK HERE for a link to our buildistar methodology.
- Many Variables: The number of variables in a custom home are high, so the risks are high as well. While you can hand-pick a lot of elements in your home, these choices open you up to hidden costs. If there is lower demand for your niche design, the construction costs are going to be higher.
- Time: Usually, custom homes take longer to build. There is often a frustrating interlay period between when your home is “almost finished” and when you can move in. Communicating regularly with your builder will be essential for optimum coordination and scheduling.
- Resale Value: Your finished home will be beautiful to you and your friends, but what about the rest of us? Your impeccable taste might be too sophisticated for the rest of us! If you’re too trendy, the market might need a few decades to catch up with your custom design.
At Buildi, we’re focused on mitigating your risks by utilising proven strategies. If you are thinking of building in the greater Brisbane area, here is how we can guide your custom build:
- Free consultation – We will sit with you to understand what you are looking to accomplish.
- Due diligence – We work with you to ensure you’re buying the right block of land at the right price without hidden problems.
- Builders tender – We will take your requirements out to the market of builders and they will bid to win your business.
- Present solutions – We will compile the top 3 options and present you with a comprehensive proposal on builders’ strengths & weaknesses, along with prices and specifications.
- Contract signing – We will work with you and your selected builder to ensure there is full transparency in what you are entering into.
- Building your home – We work closely with the builder to ensure all service levels are met and your project is on schedule.
We’ve got the advice you need to communicate clearly with your builder about custom designs, layout changes and specific requests. Contact us today!
When Fancy Floors Flop
In construction, a finished job is only as good as the tradesperson hired to complete it. When Marie started her journey, an element that she felt passionately about was flooring. Marie did extensive research on flooring options and ultimately decided to go with a hypo allergenic, breathable insulated floor through a third party supplier. Even though she paid top dollar for her new floors, she had no idea what she was in for.
When the contractor finally showed up on site (which was months behind schedule), things became worse. The tradesperson quit halfway through and sent an inexperienced colleague to complete Marie’s floors.
The end product was disgraceful. It was littered with stripes and messy marks. When the contractor went out of business shortly after, she had no choice but to redo the whole surface. Marie spent $20,000 on nothing. Her situation is not uncommon when building a custom home.
So how could Marie have avoided this situation? She did her research and followed all the right steps. We have some tips on how to protect your best interest in situations like the above:
- Work with a builder that will be open to managing and holding suppliers/subcontractors accountable.
- Get references. Ask your contractor for 3 recent clients and call them for a reference.
- Always pay invoices after the work is completed.
Walking away from $30,000
The email below is another example of how a custom design plan can unravel. These clients had everything drawn, engineered and approved through council. The total cost of their plans was $30,000. We were put in touch with them after all this had been undertaken.
After many attempts at getting a builder to meet their budget, they decided to walk away from the project. $30,000 of their hard-earned cash was lost. Most of the quotes were coming in at $150K over budget.
These customers had inconsistent estimations of their build costs. They weren’t able to get a hold of an accurate quote for their build without forking out lots of money first. Instead of trusting somebody’s “best guess”, it’s better to do your own research. How much did other clients pay for similar builds in similar areas? How much information can you gather before you start paying for build plans?
Our Tips for Building a Custom Home
Prior preparation will prevent a poor outcome. Make sure you complete all the necessary checks on your block of land before you start your custom home build. Having a greater level of clarity will mean you don’t get blindsided by additional costs. For example, a category 4 noise overlay can cost upwards of $30,000.
Get your squad together. You will need a team of professionals who will help you through the custom home journey. It’s best to have the following lined up (with quotes provided) so you can estimate your outlay costs: an architect, structural engineer, certifier, soil test company, acoustics engineer and hydraulic engineer.
If you wish to minimise your outlay costs, find a builder that has an inhouse drafting team. This will allow you to hold the builder responsible for deliverables, (i.e. budget and schedule).
Get everything in writing. When subcontractors give quotes, they are offering you transparency and accountability. Always push to get a detailed quote so you can have clarity around deliverables. Ask for the quote to outline timeframes as well.
Hand your builder a list of specific questions about your customisation. If you want sliding doors, for example, ask what price range you’re looking at. Also find out who can install them and how long it will take. If you and your builder have the same understanding, this gives your doors a better chance of sliding into your home hassle free.
In the building industry, there is no one that looks after clients’ best interests. Working as a Building Broker, Buildi strives to mitigate our clients’ risks with strategies that are tried and proven. If you’re building a new house in Queensland, get in touch to find out more.