Saturday, 16 June 2012

Back to the drawing board

When we realised that we weren't as settled on the Addison as we thought we should be, we continued to look at other designs and builders. We did learn a few things about what the process after sitting in the buidler's sales office is like though.

Our wish list for the house had expanded beyond the original double storey, 4 bedrooms criteria. We were now more clued up on the other things that come along with home building.

One thing that we really started to notice was the inclusions and promotions that different builders were offering. In particular, we were looking at what the standard inclusions were across the builders, versus what was an upgrade. And the brands and quality of products that various builders were putting in to their homes was different as well.

Of course, there were pros and cons amongst them all. For example, some builders are willing to build double storeys with Colorbond roofs, while some others just won't do it. Some provide flooring throughout, others don't. The list goes on.

The biggest challenge in finding all of this out is finding out without actually having to sign up for anything. A lot of this information is only given to you once you've signed an initial contract, paid a deposit, and attended a preliminary colour selections appointment. But if you're anything like us, you want to have a better idea of what you're getting yourself into before you sign up so that you can really compare the packages that different builders offer.

There is a lot of competition out there amongst the volume builders and this may be something that provides us buyers with a great advantage. If you've got a few different builders in mind, let them know that you're also considering other options. Make them fight for your business! If you narrow it down to say three builders with three houses to choose from, you might be able to get to a position where you can view their colour selections centres without having to commit to anything.

The selection centres really open you up to a world of choices for everything in your house. The inclusions in the standard range will definitely do the job and can generally fit in with most colour palettes. There are some upgrades that are ridiculously overpriced, and others that are surprisingly reasonable. There are also some upgrades that are purely cosmetic, but somehow work their way into the 'must haves' list. A classic example is bricks. The standard range of bricks amongst the selection centres we visited was actually really workable. The price you are paying for any bricks in a non-standard category is purely for the colour and look - there is apparently no structural advantage in upgrading bricks.

Also, it is well documented that the volume builders are partnered with some big brand suppliers - such as CSR Monier, Colorbond, Boral, Austral, Beaumont Tiles, Laminex, and Caesarstone.

While the selection centres have samples of the range of products that the builder provides under each of these brands, it is also a good idea to visit the showrooms of these product suppliers.

Austral and Boral display a good selection of their bricks in built-up walls. And Beaumont Tiles is definitely worth a visit prior to making any tiling selections as you can play around with their virtual rooms and check out different colour schemes. The same goes for the Caesarstone showroom. And of course, the more display homes you visit, the more ideas you get.

All of these things, and more, were running through our minds when we decided not to proceed with the Addison.

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