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The number of first-time homeowners opting to build their first home over buying pre-existing properties has grown to a record high for a few notable reasons.
Alongside the high-value deals on house and land packages being offered by property development agencies in Melbourne, opting for a build over a buy ensures that first-time homeowners who are looking to make the switch from being renters to owner-occupiers can find themselves in a property that's perfectly tailored to their lifestyle needs.
With all of Melbourne's new developments, however, there is a myriad of building agencies and contractors to choose from.
For first-time homeowners, in particular, it can be tricky to know just what to look for when searching for a quality homebuilder.
There are, however, clearcut elements that all quality builders share. We'll be outlining all these qualities that are quintessential to reputable builders below, just so all first home buyers know precisely what to look for when selecting their ideal property development agency.
First and foremost, all reputable builders should be presentation-ready for any prospective clients. This means that they should have their own website equipped with a strong portfolio.
Their portfolio should be able to demonstrate an ability to deliver on all the different build options that the development agency states they can offer.
For instance, if a builder is offering custom builds, allowing clients to make amendments to existing floor plans and facades, then their portfolio should ideally boast examples of amendments that they've facilitated in the past.
Similarly, if your builder advertises partnerships with luxury build materials manufacturers, then these materials should be represented in their company gallery as well as in their portfolio.
Alongside this, you can use a builder's portfolio to ascertain whether or not their design style is in alignment with your own vision.
Be sure to look for variety alongside aesthetics, however. A strong and diverse portfolio can reassure you that your builder will be adaptable enough to help you build your dream home.
Building agencies are tasked with communicating their practices to laymen on a daily basis, so naturally, the onus of clear communication is not on you to understand, but for them to explain clearly enough for you as the client to understand.
You should feel confident asking your property development team any and all questions that you may have about the build, pre-construction procedures, or fees associated with their services.
If you feel like any building agency you meet with may not be practising total transparency in your initial consultation, then chances are you'll retain that feeling throughout your build with them.
It's always best to go with a builder that won't just address your concerns, but also ensure that you leave your meetings with them feeling well-informed, confident, and excited for the process that lay ahead for both you as the anticipatory homeowner, and themselves as the agency that will be credited.
Once you've signed all the paperwork and have officially purchased your ideal house and land package, it's finally time to start on the build! Or so you may think.
If you're building your home for the first time, you may find yourself surprised by just how much preliminary surveying and testing goes into simply preparing for the foundation of your future house to be laid out on your plot of land.
Your build site will be surveyed and assessed for environmental factors such as orientation and local climate considerations that may impact construction as well as the completed property and will thus need to be factored into your build plan.
Prior to your foundation even being laid, the soil of your plot should also be tested to ensure that it can adequately support a good drainage system. If it can't for any reason, an engineering team should be consulted to provide a solution that will be certain to support your finished property from the ground up.
On top of all of this physical preparation, a good building agency will also ensure that both your site and all of the workers that will be participating in the build are insured to do so.
Building insurance is non-negotiable, and all quality builders will be sure to communicate this to their clients well before your site is even surveyed.
Property development can be an extensive process, and it doesn't necessarily have to be linear either. Environmental factors like extreme weather or even obstacles like council work in the area can push your build plan back substantially at the worst of times.
Despite these external factors, however, a quality builder should always be able to provide their clients with clear timeframes for the completion of all procedures that make up your wider build.
Whilst pre-construction may feel longer than it should, once your foundation is laid, you should find that the property starts to come together fairly quickly. If you feel like any delays have been particularly lengthy, communications with your builder should ideally provide you with clear explanations for these delays.
Peace of mind in the event that delays do come about is another benefit that comes with enlisting the services of a quality builder.
The last thing that you'd want to see when visiting your site during construction, are signs of a stereotypically macho construction crew.
Your site should always be clean and orderly, meaning any potentially dangerous tools or materials are well-placed and only ever handled by construction workers who possess the necessary licensing to work with those resources.
Your site supervisor should be on-site during every build to oversee construction and ensure that your build plan is being followed to the tee.
All workers on-site should also be wearing high-vis and protective gear as well as carrying valid white cards.
If at any point you feel that your construction site may be being mishandled, you should feel confident approaching representatives from your building agency to address your concerns.
You have the right to feel confident in your build crew and in the manner in which your build is being handled.
Finally, any builder who's confident in the product that they're able to deliver will naturally offer their clients a substantial extended warranty, simply because they know that it won't be necessary.
Your builder should offer a standard 10-year structural warranty that will guarantee that your property stays free from structural defects during this time period as a minimum.
As the majority of structural defects are caused less by shoddy workmanship and more by a lack of detail during pre-construction procedures like foundation drainage and soil testing or a failure to adequately assess and accommodate other potentially negative environmental impacts, quality builders will be able to provide assurance over these ten years as well.
Don't hesitate to ask what steps you should take as the homeowner if any structural defects do start to show, even past the warranty period.
Your builder should be able to communicate that the build will be completed in a way that will neutralise all the environmental factors that are most likely to diminish your build quality within your initial ten year warranty period and beyond.
A quality builder will work with you throughout every stage of your build project, from signing your preliminary paperwork straight through to the fit-off of your light switches and doorknobs.
So long as you can account for the six elements that we've outlined above during your first meetings with your shortlisted property development agencies, chances are high that you'll be able to find a builder that's perfectly equipped to build you your dream abode.