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The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of building a custom home

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Advice from someone who’s done the hard yards

Beth and Kory’s journey to building their new home is a classic ‘Why To’ for people considering doing the same.

Picture the young couple’s urban lifestyle; living well and working hard to establish careers in the big smoke. Their rental apartment is small but functional, and while it’s not cheap the inner suburban location means a short commute to work. Plus, it’s on the right side of town to access the shops, restaurants and bars they enjoy. Life is good.

Over time, the couple’s conversations turn naturally to settling down and starting a family.

Few things change lifestyle expectations quicker than the prospect of having children. In such discussions, concepts like ‘affordability’ and ‘lifestyle’ take on a sharp focus!

If Beth and Kory’s reasons ‘Why to’ build a home sounds like a well-walked path, ‘How to’ isn’t as clearly sign posted.

“It’s a very personal journey”, says Beth. ”Everyone has unique circumstances and for us it was important to understand our underlying need”.

That nugget of wisdom should be a cornerstone if you are thinking about building a new home. Having a clear understanding of their needs allowed the pair to decide not just where to live but also the type of house they needed.

Be clear on your needs

The soon-to-be-parents knew the support of family would be a huge help in starting their own family and this led them to consider a move to Wagga Wagga. Sure, Wagga was a big change from their inner-city life, but it ticked the boxes of ‘support network’ and ‘affordability’. Pleasingly, further investigation revealed a diverse and cosmopolitan major regional centre, offering exceptional work opportunities, exciting lifestyle options and a range of great schools for their kids’ future.

It didn’t take long to be comfortable with the decision to move to Wagga but…to buy or to build? that was now the question.

The couple did the hard yards looking at older homes in convenient central locations around town but soon realised that most of the houses in their price range required renovations or had very poor environmental efficiencies.

“We were used to functional spaces that suited our lifestyle, so we quickly dismissed ‘house and land’ options because of the limited flexibility with designs. We wanted to make our new home uniquely ours; what suited us and our lifestyle but more importantly our plans for a future with kids.”

It became clear to Beth and Kory that they desired a modern house with certain luxuries, efficiencies and particular custom design elements for the next stage of their life. The First Home Owners Grant New Homes Scheme sealed the deal.

Be prepared to invest plenty of time and energy

Having made the decision to build, “We wanted to be heavily involved at every stage”, says Kory

As much as the Grant helped, it didn’t address all the financial challenges. “We are pretty calculated and cautious and understand that dreams don’t always fit a budget”. If they were to get what they wanted and not break the bank, Beth and Kory needed to plan well. Their prevailing logic being, every minute spent in preparation would reduce costly mistakes and oversights down the track.

The pair compiled a list of needs, created spread sheets and shared hundreds of inspiration ideas with each other via Pinterest. Discussions became debates and debates became decisions.

Be open to advice from the professionals

Being clear on your needs and wants is important and doing the leg work is critical but at some point, you need to let the professionals guide you. Starting broad, getting lots of inspiration Beth and Kory worked through a lengthy process of research and then started to engage with architects and designers to test the practicality of their ideas, the cost implications and alternatives and from this they established a plan. At that point, with their dream design in hand, costed to the dollar, it was just a matter of finding a builder.

Be prepared for things to change

They say that life is what happens while you are busy making plans. With a new bub appearing on the scene, Beth and Kory’s house plans were put on hold and it was a year before the original plans were picked back up. In that time the market had moved and quoted prices were now considerably higher. Their budget had blown out putting the dream in jeopardy and not for the first time, the couple started questioning the whole project. After pushing through the disappointment, Kory and Beth readjusted their expectations and went back out to the market for new quotes from builders. This was a testing time and it was clear they needed someone special to step in and help them get the result they needed.

Be willing to go with your gut

Every builder is different; how they work, how they communicate, their inclusions and even the language they use in quotes. After forensically scrutinizing many quotes and weeding out a short list, how do you find the right builder for you? A builder who understands you. A builder you can trust and, in whose hands, you are prepared to place your dreams.

At some point you need to trust your intuition.

Beth and Kory knew after their first meeting with Brad Roberson they had found a design-centered builder who not only had the skills and team to build their home, but he was the right man to trust with their dream.

Beth recalls the build-stage as a blur of activity and rapid-fire decisions that otherwise would have tested the usually well considered pair. At this stage communication was the most valued service provided to them. It was either Brad as builder or the project manager Danielle maintaining dialogue and including them in the decision-making process. “It was really important to have a clear and comprehensive contract but more important was the ability to work together within the contract, and sometimes agreeing to vary the contract and the work plan” recalls Beth.

With a steady hand Brad and the team at Roberson Construction helped guide Kory and Beth to their destination. How they got there is their own, unique story and one they proudly share to this day with their family and friends, in their dream home.

If you’d like to speak to us about building your dream in Wagga CLICK HERE and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter for regular updates like this.


Beth and Kory were not paid to share their story. We thank them for willingly giving their time to share their experiences of working with Roberson Construction.

4 reasons a design-centred builder should build your dream home

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When building your new home there are many choices to make, not least of which is selecting a builder to partner with. For many new home builders, pre-formed solutions are a fine option but for those who want a custom-designed and custom-built home that is uniquely their own, a “cookie cutter” approach simply won’t cut it. They need a builder who can translate their vision into reality and be a partner in the process. 

Whether it is helping to draw up your plan or fitting out your home, a design-centred builder uses every ounce of their expertise and experience to make sure your ideas are understood, your plans are carefully prepared and followed and you are communicated with all the way; for peace of mind and to achieve the best results for you: to deliver your dream on time and on budget.

Here are four reasons why your new custom home build will benefit from a design-centred builder.

  1. You’ll save time and money

Building codes, building materials, new technologies and building techniques are just a few of the many variables a skilled building team will efficiently and economically incorporate into your custom design and build. 

A design-centred builder will have a team to assist you in preparing for success and happiness, by simplifying the complex and providing reliable information and advice. They’ll know the tricks and traps of the industry and how to use them to your advantage. They’ll help you make good decisions by guiding you through the planning and procurement process, recommending trusted suppliers and tradespeople and integrating these efficiencies through the construction phase of the project. Time is money when building a house so take the time pre-construction to ensure you have a well-designed home and a well-planned project.

  1. You’ll shift from confusion to clarity

We all love to dream and compile wish-lists but there are traps for beginners when building homes, such as hidden costs, technical and practical limitations. These can quickly turn nice design ideas into a clutter of confusion and disappointment.

Regardless of whether the vision for your new home is grand or humble, there is great complexity in turning dreams into reality. A design-centred building team is expert at de-cluttering! Having a design-centred builder who listens to your needs and understands your dreams is the best approach to realising your vision. They will help you work through all your ideas and inspiration to find the perfect fit for your style, lifestyle and budget.

  1. You’ll get what you planned

Once your dream is documented on paper or CAD it is then re-interpreted by a group of tradespeople and other specialists who turn them into real world constructions. Any misinterpretation of these designs can result in costly errors and uncertainty about how elements come together. A hands-on and ever-present design-centred builder is critical when solutions aren’t found simply ‘off the shelf’.

Your design-centred builder thinks in these terms and their team will be highly skilled in making sure your design needs are translated into clear directions for all the people contributing to your project. Together they ensure that any issues or problems are solved in real time, with your input and approval; smoothing the bumps by identifying and engaging the responsible person to create solutions and resolve challenges quickly.

  1. You’ll be on trend

Any true design-centred builder will have a specialist designer or stylist on the team whose core value is to offer their eye for detail and design.

Great stylists and designers are up to date with global trends in layout, colours and materials and are able to pull all of this together to make sure your inspiration is translated into brilliant reality. Their input places your house at the front of design trends which not only helps protect the value of your home into the future but ensures your house stands out on the street.

All that remains is for you to proudly enjoy a home that is a beautiful expression of you.

For more information on Roberson’s approach to design-centred building, you can click here to book a no cost, no obligation Inspiration Meeting with in-house stylist, Rebecca and start to turn your ideas and dreams into design.



Four BIG reasons why the housing market is looking up

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At a time of economic uncertainty, we are witnessing the unique convergence of four major factors that may just signal the recovery of the housing market.

1. A surprise coalition government
In a recent post we considered What the Federal Election result means for Wagga but more specifically, what does the result mean for home buyers and new home builders?
A Shorten government, true to its electioneering promises would have reformed negative gearing and capital gains tax arrangements. Specifically, negative gearing would have been limited to new housing from 1 January 2020 while the capital gains tax discount on all assets purchased after that date would have been halved.
Unexpected victory to the Morrison government has prevented this and has coincided with a few other economic factors that we are optimistic can collectively stimulate the housing market.

2. The RBA keeps cutting the official cash rate
The housing boom has cooled, and unemployment is on the rise so we can expect the RBA, true to the minutes of this month’s monetary policy meeting, to keep throwing everything at reinvigorating our economy through rate cuts. This response is unashamedly intended to improve housing affordability and keep our dollar at an export-optimised low.
The majority of Australian economists believe the official cash rate will be cut to 1 per cent by the end of this year. The common belief is that we can expect two cuts by the end of 2019, today’s (June 4) and the next in August. Some analysts are predicting as many as four cuts in the next 12 months.
We have witnessed that rate cuts alone won’t turn the housing market around, but the Reserve Bank’s actions gain greater effect when coupled with Morrison’s victory and a surprise outcome for borrowers.

3. APRA says you can borrow more
After a brief period of tightened lending following the banking royal commission, APRA the prudential regulator, recently made it easier for Australians to borrow money.
In May, APRA announced plans to revise its mortgage lending guidance which previously were set specifically to constrain the flexibility of banks to set interest rates.
As a result, borrowers may be able to obtain larger loans, and this will drive a resurgence in residential property demand. We note this as a significant positive but acknowledge that lending should only be entered into only under quality financial advice.

4. First Home Buyers get a boost
A number of our customers are first home buyers and we were so pleased before the election when the Prime Minister announced a new housing affordability initiative for first home buyers. The Morrison government is seeking to make the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme available to first home buyers earning up to $125,000 annually or $200,000 for couples who have been able to save a deposit of at least 5 per cent, compared with a standard 20 per cent. “I want more Australians to be able to realise the dream of owning their own home,” Mr Morrison said. “This will make a big difference, cutting the time to save for a deposit by at least half, and more.”

Now that negative gearing is here to stay, two rate cuts have been predicted, banks can set their own interest rate buffers and first home buyers can expect guaranteed deposits; we are optimistic that this unique confluence of circumstances will positively impact the market.
It’s highly unlikely these four factors will propel us towards another property market boom in the short term, but collectively they’ll provide cushioning for our economy and opportunity for new home buyers.

For more articles like these please join our mail list.

The information in this blog is purely observational and in no way intended to be considered financial advice.

What the Federal Election result means for Wagga

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The dust is settling on the Federal Election and like it or not, Australia’s political landscape is set for the foreseeable future. We aren’t political commentators but as people who live and work in Wagga we have to ask, what does the result mean for Wagga’s social and economic prospects?
The good news is that Wagga is a regional hub on a trajectory of social and economic growth and through good leadership our region is well placed to prosper into the future.

In case you missed it, Michael McCormack has retained the seat of Riverina and Central.
Mr McCormack is a Wagga boy, born and raised, so we are watching expectantly for strong policy to drive social, economic and cultural growth in the region. In a previous blog we talked about Wagga’s capacity for social and economic prosperity and the bottom line is we need good people, good businesses and a strong advocate in Canberra to help drive our region’s potential.
Mr McCormack was elected Federal Leader of The Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister in February 2018 and is also Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development, placing him, in his words, “in a unique position to ensure the Riverina and Central West, and indeed all of regional and rural Australia, receives its fair share”.

Mr McCormack does have form in securing funding for local infrastructure projects and drought relief that has boosted local job opportunities, stimulated local spending and begun to address social and community needs.

Mr McCormack also appears to understand small business; in his former role as Minister for Small Business he oversaw business taxes falling to their lowest levels in more than half a century and an extension of the instant asset write-off, which was increased in the Budget from $25,000 to $30,000.
“More than 18,000 businesses in the Riverina will pay a tax rate of just 25 per cent in 2021-22,” Mr McCormack said. “That compares to a tax rate of 28.5 per cent in 2016.”

Mr McCormack has said that in a re-elected Liberal and Nationals’ Government he would continue to deliver for the region and ensure it received its fair share of record spending on education, hospitals and the $100 billion 10-year infrastructure plan, which includes $9.3 billion for the Inland Rail.

“Inland Rail is a transformational project which is already delivering jobs in the electorate and will slash freight costs by up to $94 a tonne,” Mr McCormack said. This has to be a good thing for businesses wanting to establish themselves in Wagga.

He continued, “Our plan builds better and safer infrastructure, provides more quality healthcare in regions and ensures our communities have the essential services they need and deserve to grow and prosper”.

There is a tone of scepticism in Australia when it comes to political promises and we aren’t here to enter that debate; we are more interested in getting on with business. We know Wagga has immense capacity currently for people who want to live and work here and the more quality people we attract and quality businesses that set up shop, the better.
For now, Michal McCormack is our man in Canberra and we need to work with him, and together, to ensure Wagga’s positive trajectory is maintained.

If you want to learn more about living and working in Wagga then sign up to our newsletter.


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Wagga Wagga is the regional capital of New South Wales and should be on your radar if you are thinking about your future.
Wagga is a great alternative if you are tired of the big smoke and want to rediscover community and lifestyle, get bang-for buck housing, get a job or establish a business and provide a future for your family.
Being a regional centre of scale means you’ll find enough opportunity, diversity and community in Wagga to achieve success and  satisfaction.
Wagga is growing and now is the time to take the opportunity to move to a city with a future.

Here’s five reasons to consider Wagga for your next move:

1. A growing economy with exceptional employment and business opportunities
If you are looking for a vibrant and growing economic hub then join the five and a half thousand registered businesses who drive Wagga’s gross regional product to a whopping $3.7 billion annually. The main sectors driving value in Wagga are Defence, Health, Education, Construction and Manufacturing on the back of sustained population growth, established infrastructure and institutions, plus very high historic (and future) levels of state and federal government investment.
Thirty two thousand people are employed in Wagga (employment levels are higher than state and national averages), providing goods and services to a local catchment of over 185,000 people. If your horizons are broader, then consider this; 75% of Australia’s population is within a 5 hour drive and Wagga’s exceptional connectivity via road, rail and air to Australia’s major cities and ports, makes it a strategic transport centre for new and expanding businesses.
Wagga receives over 1.3million visitors each year who are drawn by the area’s natural attributes, established and emerging tourism product and more than 650 sporting, cultural and business events every year.
With population forecast to continue growing rapidly, the future looks bright for people seeking work or a place to start or to grow their business. For more information about Wagga’s economic capacity read this Economic Snapshot

2. A dream lifestyle where you can be a part of a vibrant community
Wagga is a great place to work but when it’s time to relax, we find that we don’t even have to leave town to feel like we are on holiday. Everyone dreams about work/life balance and the truth is that no matter where you live life is as busy as you make it. That shouldn’t mean ‘out-of-your-control’ busy though, so why not choose to live the life you want to, not the life you have to?
Wagga offers a huge range of lifestyle activities and opportunities and it is bought together by a connected and progressive community. Wagga is big enough to discover new things every day and small enough to feel a part of a warm and welcoming community where you can set your own pace.
Wagga is best known for its sporting culture and its natural assets including the beautiful Murrumbidgee river and our stunning parks and gardens with so many great land and water based recreational activities to enjoy. What is less know is our emerging food & wine, arts & culture and wellness scene. We are seeing world class wineries, microbrewers, cafes and fine dining alongside beautiful galleries, museums and pop up activations.
If you don’t know Wagga, then why not come for a weekend and check it out? At the very least, you’ll have a great weekend discovering a few gems and who knows, maybe you’ll even discover your future home.

3. A comprehensive range of education and training resources
Whether you are raising a family or extending your own skills and learning potential, Wagga can service your education and training needs.
Wagga has a comprehensive mix of public and private primary schools (twenty four in total) and secondary schools (eight in all) along with ten Preschools and twenty seven Early Childhood Centres.
Charles Sturt University, the University of New South Wales, Univeristy of Notre Dame and TAFE NSW all have campuses in Wagga along with RAAF, Kapooka Army Recruit Training Centre and Australian Airline Pilot Training Academy offering career training and skills development opportunities.

4. A property market that offers genuine value
The previous three reasons combined with a Median House price of $347,728 means Wagga can offer you incomparable bang for your housing buck. Where else can you have the dream home and the dream lifestyle all for under $400K?
From heritage CBD and riverfront homes, to land, estate and acreage options, Wagga Wagga has something for all tastes and budgets.

If you are looking to build your new custom home then check out our tips for choosing a new home builder.

5. A great future for Wagga and for you
Wagga Wagga boasts an established community and economy that is growing rapidly and not many metro or regional centres can truly say that. With growth comes opportunity and while today Wagga can offer you a great lifestyle, establishing yourself in Wagga can set you and your family up for a successful future full of potential.
Moving to a regional area holds a layer of uncertainty for many people, particularly those living city lifestyles. The unknowns around employment and business opportunities, the quality of education, social life and the cost of housing are the right questions to ask.
We love Wagga and if you are considering your options for a secure and happy future then come visit us to answer those questions and discover the wealth of opportunities that await in Wagga.

Contact Us or sign up to our newsletter (below) for more useful information about building a new home and a new life in Wagga.