There are few projects as personal or as large as building your own home. It’s a big investment, too, and for most of us, one that takes decades to pay off. So it pays to get it right, and a fundamental part of getting it right is by choosing the right home builder.
To make the process easier for you, we’ve compiled a checklist of all the essentials you’ll be glad to know. And remember – don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Choose a licensed builder
You should only deal with a builder that is licensed. Residential builders in W.A. are required by law to be registered. And, it’s mandatory to have Home Warranty insurance for building works over $20,000. To find out if your prospective Perth homebuilder is licensed, go to this page and download the list of Western Australia’s registered builders. If they are not on the list, scratch them immediately.
What about insurance?
As long as your builder is licensed, your home should be covered by Public Indemnity insurance and Public Liability insurance.
Check out their work
Have a look at previous works your house builder has completed. Any decent builder should have a portfolio of work to view online. Additionally, they should be happy to arrange a viewing of past work. If you’d like to find out more about previous JFK Custom Homes projects, contact us here.
Home Builder awards
If a builder is good at what they do, they should have good reviews and awards. For example, JFK Custom Homes is an HIA award winner (2010 HIA-NAB Housing Award winner – townhouse/villa development $325,001 & over) and has reams of positive reviews from happy customers.
Communication is a key ingredient in successfully building your custom home. There will be a lot of discussions and queries, some surprises, and sometimes, compromises required in the building process, so the ability to communicate well with your builder is essential. Make sure that you feel comfortable with your building company and that you understand each other well. You shouldn’t feel intimidated, rushed, confused or overwhelmed. Conversely, you should feel that you are listened to and supported and that the builder is good at explaining the process clearly and simply.
Above all, you should choose a building company you feel you can trust. For example, are they full of empty promises? Or do they deliver? (And on that note, ask others about their experience with the building company. Ask for actual phone numbers and talk to them.)
How large is the company?
For some, bigger equals better. However, many savvy individuals are aware that in recent years, large building companies have been left vulnerable, with many going into receivership. Smaller, more boutique Perth home building companies, however, are flexible enough to change with the times, have smaller overheads and consequently can survive the test of time. They also have loads of other benefits, like having a family-type feel, being more personal and communicative, and producing more original work – with a smaller, tighter group of tradespeople.
Don’t compare apples with oranges
Once you get your quotes from different building companies, read through the inclusions carefully, and make sure you compare like with like. For example, one builder may choose expensive materials – which may be the only reason why their quote is higher. Other companies may offer a lower price, but you may find they have a “cookie cutter” approach where very little will be unique about your home, or it will be built in a rushed, careless manner.
Talk to your prospective builder about the ability to chat with them during construction. If an unexpected issue arises, can you contact them at short notice? Is there room for flexibility? And what about updates? How often will the project manager/supervisor be in touch with you to keep you up-to-date during the process? These are all valid questions. Don’t be afraid to ask them.
How long will it take?
Speak to your prospective builder candidly about the time required to build your dream home. At JFK Custom Homes, the build time is often around five months, but time limits vary, depending on the project. Keep in mind though, JFK pride ourselves in finishing the job on time – and on budget, so if we name a finish date, you can rely on it!
Check in with your local council
Every suburb has rules and regulations regarding zoning, setbacks, building requirements and approvals. So head over to your local council website and find out as much as you can about your Council before you choose a builder and start your building process.