Choosing Your Builder
When you start your building journey, you want to find the best value builder … but what does “best value” really mean? We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘value for money’. However, value can be measured in a number of ways. When it comes to building your new home, it’s a combination of the product you get, the service you receive and the amount you pay.
Many people value their builder on price alone. So how do you measure value when you are looking solely at the $$$? The quick answer is … you can’t! You need to dig deeper into what you are getting for your money; and this comes down to the quality of product as well as the customer service you receive.
Firstly, you need to compare specifications. This is the list of everything that will be included in your building contract. And we mean everything! Comparing specifications between builders is a line by line process. It’s easy to see the things you expect to be there, such as stone benchtops and main floor tiling, but what about the items that you’re probably not even aware of? If you’re not in the industry yourself, or even if this is your first build, you may not be aware of items such as stormwater, energy assessments and bushfire management plans. These are things that, if not included in your contract up front, can become costly additional items if they need to be added in down the track. The best way to know what is and isn’t included in your contract is to ask questions! Talk to people you know who have built before and then check the information with your builder. A builder of value will always let you know up front of any foreseen items that are likely to impact on your budget.
Secondly, you need to compare quality. With project builders, you can do this by visiting display homes (keeping in mind that these are built as ‘show homes’). With custom home builders, you can request an inspection of a home under construction or at completion stage. This will give you a real life look at the finishes that you can expect in your new home. This is also where you get the connection between product and price. Your home should be built to the best quality for your budget. You can’t expect champagne finishes for craft beer prices but you can expect that your builder will guide you in coming to a balance between size and specification that will give your new home value both now and into the future.
Thirdly, you need to compare value of service … and this is where it becomes a bit trickier. When you haven’t dealt with a builder before, how do you know what to expect? The best way to measure value of service is by word of mouth referral. Talk to someone you know who has already built with that builder. What experience did they have? Did they feel like they were listened to? Were their concerns understood and acted upon? Were they, as the client, also valued? If you don’t know anyone, look for reviews online and even contact the builder directly and ask for references.