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So, buying off the plan and deciding to go down the volume builder path has been one big learning curve. From the initial exciting decision to the expectations and mental nesting (my new favourite term and pastime!) and then…the unfortunate reality.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about our future home but I’ve definitely learnt (am learning!) to manage my expections almost to the point of being distrusting which isn’t my norm. I won’t be fully convinced of what we are receiving until I turn the key in our very own door. What this door actually looks like? Well even that’s an issue!

Think Lachie would approve of this?

Building or buying a house is such a big decision, exciting and daunting at the same time. The daunting part is unfortunately enhanced by a veil of mystery that surrounds both the actual end price of the house AND the actual inclusions. These two important items aren’t clear until you’re fully immersed in the volume building process and the reality can be disappointing. I think they aim to tire you out so you concede and just go with the flow! It costs a lot more than you thought and the standard inclusions are well….bog standard, emphasis on bog.

Here is the big lesson learnt: WHAT YOU SEE IS NOT WHAT YOU GET!

So you arrive at a display home and get excited about the ‘bang for your buck.’ Well, don’t rush out to buy that Eames

replica chair just yet! (just me?)

In our experience, what you see at a typical display home will actually cost you on average 100k more than the advertised base price. If you’re willing to have a lovely home without the bells and whistles, then I’d add around 60k to the base price to get yourself a more realistic figure. This advice is for the futre owner occupier, not the investor. Investors can probably be a little more conservative.

The advertised price rarely includes items such as:

  • site costs – these vary depending on your soil conditions and site slope
  • upgrades required to meet BAL requirements (Bushfire Attack Level) if needed
  • driveways! No kidding – your car is expected to levitate from the kerb to your new double garage. –which may or may not have a door
  • TV antenna – solves the football season issue
  • Phone points
  • fly screens
  • flooring ie. carpet, tiles, timber
  • trenching for phone lines
  • toilet roll holders and towel rails – ummmmmm
  • landscaping
  • cooling
  • wall insulation – a lot of builders include what they call sisilation to external walls, but in many cases it’s just a reflective foil or building wrap, not insulation. Insulation batts are relatively inexpensive to include but will do wonders for the thermal performance of your building!

It goes without saying but READ THE FINE PRINT!

Some people will be incredibly overwhelmed by the world of electrical plans, joinery drawings, slab types and endless acronyms – BALS, NBN, GPO…..OMG! Given this, it’s easy to miss a few items. I suggest you walk around a display home and write down all the creature comforts you want (however obvious) and then get your sales consultant to either confirm their inclusion or provide you with a price. Upon receipt……breathe and regroup or RUN!

One feature we missed was fly screens to sliding doors. There was a very small fine print in the fly screen upgrade text (can you believe there is such a thing?) which excluded these. Down in Ocean Grove at summer, these are a must otherwise the whole family are getting cork hats for the housewarming gift! Thankfully we won’t force our neighbours to endure this Australian fashion faux pas and we caught this at the last minute but I wonder what else we’ve missed! Time will tell….and don’t worry, so will I! You may as well learn from us!