Building a brand new home is one of the most exciting and rewarding times in your life. If you’ve already found the perfect piece of land to call your own, don’t rush into hiring the first builder you find! Before you commit to a house deposit, here’s a handy checklist to help you choose the right builder.
Ask family and friends’ for their experiences to help you create a shortlist of options. If they rave about their builder, you’ll likely have a good experience with them too. Give opinions more weight, if they happen to work in a related industry like architecture, interiors or relevant trades as they likely hear more honest word-of-mouth accounts from others in addition to their own. Ask particularly about how any tricky issues that arose were overcome by the builder.
Check online reviews
But take them with a grain of salt! Both positive and negative reviews are often faked and people are more likely to go online to complain than to leave happy messages. Look for ratings with detailed, seemingly even-handed comments and pay extra attention to any reoccurring themes or problems that seem to crop, up as those are more likely to be accurate reports.
House & land packages
Even if you’re buying a vacant block of land, it can be helpful to check which builders are offering house and land packages within the same estate. They’ll have a good relationship with the developer, know the area well already and be able to easily match your house’s style with the local streetscapes.
Look at past projects
Typically builders will have a good portfolio of past houses that they’ve built on their website. Don’t forget to check their social media pages for the latest updates. Have they got plenty of experience working with the style or period of home you want?
Make sure to meet with the person who will be your main point of contact before you sign.
Ask for references
Ask the builder for a few client, supplier and industry partner references that you can email or call. Clients that are 5-10 years down the track are particularly helpful to see what longer-term defects tend to crop up. Ask which nearby estates and lots you shortlisted builders are currently working on or have recently completed and go take a look.
Check the builder is licensed, registered and insured
The Housing Industry Association or Master Builders Association should have them registered. And check in with Consumer Affairs Victoria to see if they have any information (on things like disputes) about your chosen builder.
Check initial costs and ask about extras
Once you’re close to choosing a builder, get them to send you a full accounting of costs and any possible unexpected extras in simple terms in writing. Also a clear list of what’s included in their service and what’s not. Confirm timeframes and what processes and contractual obligations are in place to keep them sticking to it.
Consult a professional
Finally, always have a professional like a conveyancer or lawyer look over the contracts before signing. Be sure to ask about anything you need clarification on – as many times as you need to – until you are satisfied with the answer.
If you’d like any further information regarding our recommendations, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Thornhill Park team by emailing email@example.com or by simply calling 1300 001 687.