The ‘Why’ and ‘How’ of building a custom home
July 22, 2019, 9:57 am
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.
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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.