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7 tips to consider when building with a project home builder

by: Caris Letchford, Vibe Design Studio


The key to getting your new home built to minimise costly changes is to get your layout spot on before final prestart. Below are 7 tips I have come across when assisting clients with selections.

1. Be mindful of the sun

Try and position your home so your main living space or back yard is facing north to optimise as much sun as possible. Do not under estimate the power of the afternoons sun, if you have main living spaces getting full sun, make sure your window treatments have a block out as well as a sheer/translucent system so you get as much light filtering through without damaging your furniture.

2. Existing furniture dimensions

If you have existing furniture you would like to move into your new home, plan well before pre-start to ensure openings are wide enough. For example, the fridge cavity for an 800mm fridge should be is 900 wide. Doors and corners around walls should have enough width to move large furniture in and out of rooms.

3. Plan your layout

Planning each room and its use is important so you can plan your electrical layout. At pre-start make sure your power points are located in a position close to where the bed will be. A great example, my friend and I were putting together a bed in her guest room. We both agree the best spot for the bed is against a particular wall, however the power point was on the opposite wall which becomes a nuisance for a lamp and phone charging. If possible, add an extra point in the minor rooms in before pre-start.

4. Lighting

Ensure there is significant over your task area. This is particularly important for the kitchen and bathrooms as older homes position lights which cast a shadow over the task area. Place the switches in an accessible and logical position.

5. Dream home, rental or flip?

If you’re planning to sell your home within 1-3 years, keep in mind the next buyer and what will appeal to them. This also goes for materials; you can achieve a really great look by using cost effective materials. A great way to change a look without breaking the bank is to use contrasting cabinetry colours and choosing flooring at a lower sq/m rate. However, if you're creating your dream home I'm not a massive advocate for safe design, inject as much of your personality as possible.

6. Be mindful of overcapitalisation

Be aware of the location you live in. Understand the market around that area and pouring money into a property which cannot guarantee your return on investment.

7. Most things should be organised by builder

Of course there are areas that can be contracted or completed at a lower cost, however assuming you can source certain items cheaper can lead to some costly mistakes. Builders have processes and procedures in place and a lot of DIY projects can alter time schedules and end up costing a lot of money in hidden expenses.

So what can I actually get away with doing myself to lower costs and have my home looking unique? You can go custom and unique to your taste on your own terms with paint, wallpaper, flooring, window treatments, feature shelves, garden and extra cabinetry. I do no recommend overhead cabinets added into builder’s variations as it is always at a ridiculous cost. Hire a local cabinet maker once the house is built.

Happy building!

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